BOOK REVIEW: The secret lives of baba segi’s wives
AUTHOR: LOLA SHONEYIN
NUMBER OF PAGES: 245
‘The secret lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’ bring to mind ‘Fuji house of Commotion’ a popular Nigerian sit com that portrays the daily lives of a polygamous family. It’s amazing how the author Lola Shoneyi captured the very essence of a typical Yoruba traditional polygamous family.
The story is set in the 1980’s in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State. It tells the story of Baba Segi, an uneducated Yoruba man who after having three illiterate wives decides to increase and elevate his household by marrying a sophisticated university graduate Bolanle.
Unknown to Baba Segi, his other wives Iya Segi, Iya Tolu and Iya Femi were hiding a grievous secret from him; a secret that guaranteed their continuous stay in his home. This same secret they refuse to let Bolanle their adversary into because of the level of competition she posed to them. By keeping this secret from Bolanle they intend to frustrate her out of the house but when all efforts failed, they resort to diabolical means. Unfortunately, karma came to Bolanle’s aid and instead took Segi’s life much to the dismay of Iya Segi.
Although it’s no news for a man to marry more than one wife, women who have subjected to being a man’s second, third and even fourth wife have been frowned upon. “The secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives” bring to fore the circumstances some women face which eventually pushes them into marrying a married man with children and still be content as one of his wives.
Baba Segi’s over emphasized ego was totally unprepared for the saga that unfolded after he learnt of his impotence and realized that his “6 children weren’t his”. Bolanle didn’t stick around though to apply balm to his bruised ego.
Shoneyin was able to capture and incite multiple emotions of love infused with comic relief with the first person point of view technique; some tears were shed as I leafed through the pages of the novel. The novel is so intriguing, I couldn’t put it down till I finished and was certain the story had ended. The book is a must-read.