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

November 17, 2010


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.

  • 288 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : William Morrow
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0061946370

To participate in the Gratitude Giveaway to win a free copy at the bottom of the page.

Book Review: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola ShoneyinMy rating for The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – 4
Think one wife is enough? Buy the book and find out*
More Books by Lola Shoneyin*


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, naive 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*
More Books by Lola Shoneyin*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on

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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Wrap Up

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin


  • Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Mom) November 17, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I was hooked by the cover!
    I’m also a Gratitude Giveaway participant — check out my offering here:

    • zohar November 17, 2010 at 10:24 am

      I pre-judge a book by its cover also, I’m not ashamed to admit it 🙂
      Great offering Melissa – “True Grit” by Charles Portis – I’m in

  • Jaidis November 17, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I have put many books back on the shelf just because of the cover..hehe

    Thanks for allowing me the chance to win your Gratitude Giveaway!

  • Stephanie November 17, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Entered through Gratitude Giveaways 🙂


  • BJ November 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog.
    This book looks interesting. the cover does it nothing from the sounds of it.

  • D.S.White November 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Zohar,

    Thanks for stopping by Divine Perspective and leaving a comment. I love your blog.

  • Coffee and a Book Chick November 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous book, have entered the giveaway — many thanks for hosting.

  • Judy Cox November 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I entered through the Gratitude Giveaway

  • Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting November 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful read, and like some of the others I’m also quite taken by the cover.

    I’ve read very little Nigerian fiction myself, but I have a copy of Things Fall Apart that I hope to get to within the next week or so. 🙂

  • lgm52 November 21, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Got here via Gratitude Giveaway! Thank you!

  • Ruthi aka abitosunshine November 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks for the gratitude giveaway book! And also, thanks for submitting this giveaway to my B-Y-G-B November linky list!

    I’d enJOY the reading and reviewing of this book title for sure!

  • Hayley November 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Found you through the GG. Thanks!

  • Stacy November 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I found your blog through the Gratitude Giveaway and am a new GFW follower and Twitter follower. Looks like a great blog. Feel free to stop by my giveaway, #86. Best wishes.

  • MelanieL November 28, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I found your blog through the Gratitude Giveaway hop. Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂 I am a new follower.

  • Amy April 11, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Great review! So glad to see that you liked this book.

  • Amused May 2, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    You were right, I do think I will totally enjoy this book. What an interesting plot!

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