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

Admittedly the only book I’ve ever read from an African author was “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – which I loved! (although I have a slight issue with the way the book ended). Thus of late I’ve been looking out for books that would push me deeper into the world of African literature…

With the tag line “Four women, one husband and a devastating secret; The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” this book had already pulled me in. Published in 2011 The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, tells a story of humour and compassion, of jealously and struggle through the testimony of Ishola Alao A.K.A. Baba Segi and his four wives: Iya Segi, Iya Tope, Iya Femi and the newest wife, Bolanle. Bolanie is a graduate and therefore a prize. She is smart, kind and in Baba Segi’s eyes – a pure woman. Thus Bolanie marries into a polygamous family, where she is challenged both emotionally and physically. Yet Baba Segi is not satisfied solely with Bolanie’s graduate status. What will satisfy Baba Segi is a graduate who produces children…

Lola Shoneyin humorously and thoughtfully intertwines the voices of Baba Segi and his four competing wives into a portrait of a vibrant, intriguing, traditional Nigerian household. For me, being a lover of Nigerian movies and growing up in an African household I could completely relate to all the funny little comments or thoughts expressed within the book. Yet I could also relate to the pain many women suffer through in silence, as well as the memories these women have to suppress in order to keep pressing forward. Without delving into the storyline too much, Shoneyin was truly able to convey that there is more to women, families, children than meets the eye!

Personally, Shoneyin was able to make me laugh, make me sad, make me angry and warm my heart all at once. It  was truly an enjoyable read… and for that  I would give this book 7/10 and recommend you read it too!

Happy reading guys!

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