Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, and stories from long-erased places. With an eye towards decolonizing tropes inherent in our favorite tales of love, Babalola's stories traverse across perspectives, continents, and genres.
A sharp sense of purpose sheathed in humor glints through every story, which are delightfully varied in subgenre, voice and time period ... As with most fairy tales, there is a warning aspect to Babalola’s stories. Some examine the less vibrant shades of love, like partners who seek to possess and dim their lovers rather than amplify their brightness. There is a subtle emphasis on how romantic relationships, which should be a safe haven, can instead reduce women to objects and caretakers whose work is unreciprocated ... The golden thread woven through the stories is the power—the necessity—of being seen ... In telling these stories, Babalola herself becomes the seer and the seen, subversively providing a corrective to both the Western idea of who gets to indulge in love for love’s sake and whose myths are worthy of retelling ... One of the pleasures, and occasional pitfalls, of such a collection is that each story can differ vastly from the one that preceded it. A few of the stories don’t quite hit their marks, but Babalola’s writing shines whether she’s writing parry-riposte banter or fresh, evocative interiority ... Love in Color, as a whole, is a strong and necessary reset of who is the seer, who is the seen, and who gets to do both.
The edgy pain of loss, the anxiety of connection, and the challenges of alignment that are integral parts of all true relationships are richly explored and the resulting happy endings feel all the more vital for Babalola’s having acknowledged those difficult realities ... Babalola presents fairy tales for our times with women’s agency and ambition built into the narrative arc. By situating her magical dramas in contemporary offices, dorms, and clubs, the author builds new contexts for Scheherazade, Psyche, and Thisbe. This is a joyous read for those interested in literary reworkings and for those looking to explore the complications of loving relationships from fresh perspectives.
Babalola revives the romance of folktales and myths in her lovely debut collection ... Though none of these tales is quite a standout, there aren’t any duds, either. The result is effortlessly readable, and the chemistry between characters and the focus on Black female empowerment will surely win over many romance fans.