Angela'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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's review
Jan 03, 2012

liked it

The content of this book was very interesting and the plot was a great one. The overall story told was of great interest to me and I found it a very good novel. There were some things I did not care for in the writing however. One of which was the way the author seemed to jump from one characters perspective/view to another without really saying who was talking. In one chapter it was clearly a “narrator” view of things happening in the book, but then the next chapter was using “I” and “me” views without really telling who was telling the information. Due to this I found it a bit confusing at times to have to figure out by the content who it was that the view was coming from. Also, things seemed to jump around from past to present to past to present a lot in some chapters. I found myself having to re-read some parts just to figure out who’s point of view I was reading or if the content was meant to be the present or of a flash back.

This book tells of a polygamists household that has just added a new wife, wife number four. The first three wives are less than excited about this new change and do everything in their powers to make the new bride leave or be banished by the husband. They also refuse to let the new wife have anything to do with any of their children (all seven of them).

I will say that a LOT happens in the 280 pages of this book. You also learn a lot about the characters and their past and present lives. Two of the wives think that they will get rid of the fourth wife, even if it means going to extremes. They plot to kill her using snake poison in her food, which she always eats alone in her room. This plan may seem like a great one, but it severely backfires on them. They hate the new wife for many reasons, some of which are having to share Baba’s attention more, having to share the house/money more, and that Bolanle is an educated woman (whereas they are not).

A big part of the book is how the fourth wife, Bolanle, is unable to get pregnant by her new husband. He decides to take the problem to an educated source, a hospital, to find out why she will not bare his child after years of trying. The doctor does many tests on Bolanle and asks many questions. Some of the answers she gives are quite disturbing to Baba. Once concluding the issues with Bolanle the doctors want to look into Baba’s “seed” to see if he is also still in good condition to make a child grow. Baba is outraged by this, being that he has seven other children already, but does it just to show Bolanle that it is her that is the issue.

This book is full of twists and turns and unexpected issues. I really did enjoy the plot itself. It shows just how strong a family can be no matter what the size of it its. All in all I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

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