Book Review: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin

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Book Review: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin

My rat­ing for The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives — 4


"The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" by Lola Shon­eyin is a fic­tional story set in mod­ern day Nige­ria and cen­ters around the house of a polyg­a­mist.   The novel exam­ines the com­plex rela­tion­ships between the wives, their chil­dren and a new wife who is brought into the house.

Think one wife is enough? Buy the book and find out.

"The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" is a some­times sad, some­times funny book.  The novel exam­ines the com­pound rela­tion­ships of a polyg­a­mous fam­ily, the jeal­ousies, infight­ing, self decep­tion and con­niv­ing.

I know very lit­tle about Nige­ria; how­ever Ms. Shoney made the coun­try very famil­iar, as well as the peo­ple, so I felt at ease read­ing the book.  Since the story is told by mul­ti­ple peo­ple the reader is privy to their emo­tions, ambi­tions and world view which makes the char­ac­ters fully devel­oped and dimen­sional in a sur­pris­ingly short amount of pages.   Weav­ing through each sep­a­rate nar­ra­tive, the reader learns of the events which brought this fam­ily together as well as an eye for the present.

As the story unfolds, we are drawn into the world of Baba Segi and his fam­ily.  Lola Shoeyin’s writ­ing is clear and evokes emo­tions as well as believ­able reac­tions from the char­ac­ters.  Even though the book takes place in Nige­ria, it does have uni­ver­sal theme of actions and reac­tions within a close knit fief­dom of one man’s home.


Bolanle Alao is the young beau­ti­ful wife of Bab Segi; she is edu­cated, naïve and… his fourth wife. Upset­ting the del­i­cate bal­ance of power in the dynamic rela­tion­ship, Bloanle is notic­ing that she is being pushed out by the  wives, while at the same time being pushed by her hus­band to have a child.

Polygamy was never the first choice for any of the wives, and Bolanle is no dif­fer­ent.  How­ever, cir­cum­stances have a way to make your deci­sion for you.

When Bab Segi's two greedy wives devise a Machi­avel­lian plot to make sure Bolanle is out of the way, a dis­as­trous results awaits them which will not only upset the bal­ance of power, but might destroy the whole fam­ily.  In this polyg­a­mists house­hold secrets are the norm, each woman guards her secret against all oth­ers in the house­hold, how­ever shares them with the reader through out the story.

Did the schem­ing wives win? Buy the book and find out for yourself.

Zohar — Man of laBook

Enter As Many Grat­i­tude Give­aways As Pos­si­ble


  • Con­test is for one (1) slightly used copy of the book
  • Must be a US mail­ing Address
  • Ends Sun­day Novem­ber 28, 2010
  • Please leave a com­ment below let­ting me know that you got here through the Grat­i­tude

Con­grat­u­la­tions to @galvezbookgirl


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