Friday, July 23, 2010

#BookReview: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives - Lola Shoneyin

Let me start by saying I loved this book.  I wasn't sure what to expect even though I had read author interviews and reviews by others.  I was worried that though Lola Shoneyin is a respected poet, the transition to author might be a difficult one.  I was pleasantly surprised that she made a seamless transition.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives is set in present day Nigeria and centers on wealthy businessman, Baba Segi, and his four wives.  Each wife is unique and brings something different to the Segi household.  There's the oldest wife, Iya Segi, who's the mother of two, as well as a shrewd business woman.  She entered the household with wealth and plans to leave the same way.  There's the quiet Iya Tope, who just wants to get along with everyone while raising her three daughters.  The conniving Iya Femi is content to be the youngest and prettiest of Baba Segi's wife.  She has a schemer's heart and stops at nothing to make sure her two sons receive the best of everything.

The three wives have grown comfortable with each other and their roles over the years., but the house is thrown into a world wind of turmoil when Baba Segi brings the college educated Bolanle into their household.  Like the other wives, Bolanle has come to the marriage to escape her former life.  Each of the wives has secrets, but it's through Bolanle's struggles that they're all brought to light.

What did you like about this book?
The author does a great job of describing her characters, so much so that I was able to envision what not only major characters, but minor characters looked like, as well as their mannerisms.  I found myself really liking, and cheering for some characters, while despising others and that can be credited to great writing.

What didn't you like about this book?
Not a thing. Every character had a story to be told and the author did a good job of telling them.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Write a sequel, even better would be a series.

Published June 2010

See what others are saying about it:
Brown Girl Speaks
Color Online
Lotus Reads

Theme: Anotherloverholenyohead by Prince


  1. Sounds interesting, like the African version of the show "Big Love"... how long is the book?

  2. I received a Gift Card at work yesterday for Borders, so I'll pick this one up today! Did you read The Seasons of the Beento Blackbird? This book sort of reminds me of it.


  3. It's 288 pages, but sizewise it's smaller than most books. Very quick read.

  4. I know I read it because I remember being surprised that Nettie from The Color Purple wrote it, but I honestly can't remember if I liked it or not. I may have to revisit it.

  5. I was surprised by that as well. I don't think she published anything else. Beento Blackbird was good.

  6. Oh, so the author is a poet? I think you just sold me. I love the cover of the book. Reminds me of 32 Candles because of the shadows.