the secret lives of baba segi's wives

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives: A Novel

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by Lola Shoneyin

Blind acceptance splinters a polygamous marriage in Shoneyin’s gripping debut set in modern-day Nigeria. Bolanle Alao, the newest and youngest of Baba Segi’s wives, threatens to upset the balance of power–she is educated and beautiful, though naïve about the relationship dynamics among the other three wives in the house. Raped at 15, Bolanle considers herself disgraced and unwanted until Baba Segi, an overweight, malodorous businessman welcomes her into his family, no questions asked, until it seems she cannot conceive. Like the other wives, she feels she has been saved by Baba Segi, who accepts all of them politely, but beyond brief mentions of his sexual encounters and visits to the toilet, Baba Segi is a peripheral character.

When greedy Iya Segi and Iya Femi plot to run young, sweet Bolanle out of the family, the result is disaster. It is Bolanle’s unexpected submissiveness that leads her and her husband to uncover a secret that forces him to assert his control over the family. Shoneyin masterfully disentangles four distinct stories, only to subtly expose what is common among them. [book link]

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

It starts with Bolanle, a university graduate who in her attempt to leave her past behind becomes Baba Segi’s fourth wife.

She enters a polygamous home filled with expensive clothes, monthly allowance and three other wives (**Iya Femi, **Iya Tope and **Iya Segi) who disapprove of her.

She soon becomes Baba Segi’s favourite  and most prized possession until her presence unlocks a secret that the other wives have long hidden and unleashing it could change their lives forever.

It’s a very intriguing book and i found myself screaming and running around while reading it. I look forward to more of her novels.

Fun Fact : Lola Shoneyin is married to Olaokun Soyinka, son of Noble Prize Laureate Wole Soyinka.

**Iya- “Mother of”