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

The Secret Wives of Babi Segi's Wives by Lola ShoneyinThe Secret Lives of Baba Sagi’s Wives
By Lola Shoneyin
Completed July 29, 2011

Bolanle is the youngest and newest wife to enter Baba Sagi’s household. The only one of the wives that is educated, Bonanle presents a threat to the other wives – in more ways than one. They are intimidated by her education and concerned that a secret shared by all three wives will be revealed. So begins the plight of the women who are the cornerstone to The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.

Told from alternating viewpoints, Lola Shoneyin gives her readers just enough to keep the story moving, uncovering small angles of the story with each chapter. We learn about each wife: Iya Segi, Iya Tope and Iya Femi as well as Bolanle and Babi Segi. Individually, their stories are a fascinating look at polygamous marriage and how they came to marry Babi Segi.

While the entire story was engaging, I found the first three wives to be horrible, conniving and distrustful. I didn’t like them, even as I learned their “backstories.” Baba Segi was even less likeable. Bonanle was the saving grace, and I was usually relieved when I learned the next chapter would be told from her point of view. The ending was sad – unnecessarily tragic – and I let out a big sigh when I finished this book. All in all, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives was just an average read for me. Be sure to check out others’ reviews, though, before deciding to read this book. (  )

FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mikhaila
    Jul 30, 2011 @ 21:18:34

    Revealing review. I just finished this novel too and immediately went in search of information around and about polygamous practices in Africa. It appears that what you describe as an ‘unecessarily tragic’ ending is common place. 😦
    Secondly, describing the second wife- Iya Tope- in the terms you’ve used is odd because she came across as someone who wouldn’t say boo to a goose!
    I loved the novel; I thought it had much, much more depth than ‘average’.


  2. Athira
    Jul 31, 2011 @ 02:11:02

    I enjoyed this read a little better but agree with you that the ending was unnecessarily tragic. I actually began to like Baba Segi towards the end.


  3. BermudaOnion
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 09:32:48

    I’m interested in this book because I’m fascinated with polygamy for some odd reason.


  4. nomadreader
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 23:41:18

    I’m sorry this one didn’t work out too well for you. I liked it at the time I read it, but it hasn’t really stuck with me much.


  5. Halima
    Aug 03, 2011 @ 18:39:19

    The book is great and i had a great time reading it!!. Baba segi does evoke sympathy because in away he is cheated,there are times when he is actually annoying but at the end you only realise that he is as much a victim as Bolanle!
    Bolanle did emerge a victor and the other wives are victims of their own making. The book actually sheds more light on the saying “you reap what you sow”


  6. Trackback: My Orange July 2011 Reading Wrap-Up « The Magic Lasso

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