Monday, August 6, 2012

the secret lives of baba segi's wives by LOLA SHONEYIN

I can not  imagine being one of four wives. I also can not imagine living in a household with three of the women who are mothers while I am barren. Altogether there are seven children in Baba Segi's household. LOLA SHONEYIN does not strive to sugarcoat the situation of this African lifestyle. The situation can become ugly with nasty name calling, revenge, jealousy. It becomes very important to establish the fact that you are the head of the pack or the most important wife. This is why Bolanle became my favorite of the wives. She is the last wife. She is new to anything that happens in the household. Many times she has to trust her gut instinct that the other wives are not leading her down a wrong path. This time are they telling her the truth or another lie. As the story moves forward, the behavior of the wives becomes more and more unreliable and hateful. Bolanle relies on personal strength and a woman's intuition to get her through each day. Finally, she will find a friend in whom she least expects to find one. However, the friendship will lead to more trouble for Bolanle.

Of course, I didn't like Baba Segi. He seems to portray a stereotype of the black male. In other words, the conquering of women means he is strong and manly, a powerful man whose word should never be questioned. Also, the othe stereotype is that the Black male thinks about sex all the time and never gets enough. For example, Baba Segi gives a night or nights to each woman for love making. His intimacy is less than kindly. Selfish is the word I would use. However, further in the story I became sympathetic toward Baba Segi. This part in "the secret lives of baba segi's wives" is proof that African men have feelings too and can think with their heads and not just the lower half of their bodies. In one chapter his body language shows his change in character."Baba Segi nodded in concurrence but he was silent. Arms that were earlier folded over his bosom dropped to his sides." This novel added to my knowledge of the African culture. I had the chance to explore the African male mind as well as the mind of the African woman. I also love the way LOLA SHONEYIN uses the title as the shocker of the whole book. I never would have guessed the secret.


  1. I can't imagine being one of four wives either. This book sounds great!

  2. Yep, I checked it out of the library.


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