Deb Carpenter's Reviews > The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin
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Jul 04, 2011

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What secret could Iya Segi, Baba Segi’s first wife, possibly have? What about his second wife, Iya Tope? What is she hiding? Could Iya Femi, wife number three, also have a secret? If so, what is it?

Why is the childlessness of wife number four a threat to the others? Does the fact that she’s a college graduate have anything to do with the threat? What lengths will the first three wives go to, to rid Baba Segi’s household of her?

Lola Shoneyin’s novel, “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives,” which takes place in Nigeria, is an intricate tale told through narrative accounts of the characters. Unfortunately, the reader must pay careful attention to the names of the wives, so as not to get them confused, and must study the characters to recognize the various voices as they take turns narrating.

As each wife peels away a layer of the onion that is Baba Segi’s life, the truth stings the senses even as the confessions cause tears and cleanse souls.
Will the large household survive the secret lives of the four wives?

Review by Deb Carpenter-Nolting
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