Advance reader reviews of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

A Novel

By Lola Shoneyin

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jun 2010,
    256 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book


Page 1 of 4
There are currently 24 member reviews
for The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
Order Reviews by:
  • Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)


    Another kind of Big Love
    We learn about others through reading their stories. Not only are the women we meet here of a different culture, they also share their secrets and reveal their individuality in the context of polygamous marriage via first person narratives. Engaging, unusual yet recognizably like ourselves, they give this book its hold over the reader.
  • Beverly J. (Huntersville, NC)


    Nothing Is What It Seems
    I was interested in reading this book as the author has written several books of poetry and it has been my experience that authors who write poetry write fiction very succinctly. But, I did expect the storyline to be predictable, with a polygamous husband who three wives do not like when he picks a young educated woman to be his fourth wife.

    What I got was a beautifully written story that was anything but predictable. There are many unexpected events that will keep you reading to the last page. The husband and each wife take turns narrating their story which takes place in the present and goes back in time to add context, but the reader is never confused about who is narrating or if it is the present or past. This story will have you looking at polygamous relationships in a new light and have you wondering about the benefits and how this arrangement changes as society changes. This is a wonderful debut book and I look forward to reading more by Lola Shoneyin.
  • Heather C. (Tallahassee, Florida)


    Eye Opener
    This book captured my imagination and allowed me to view an unseen culture. I found it extremely easy to look past the shock of polygamy from a western perspective, and see the universal struggles of women. The situations and actions of the characters seem cruel and desperate, yet carefully conceived and carried out.

    This book was an intriguing read and impossible to put down until I finished. It seemed slow for the first few chapters, but developed into a complex and interesting story. All of the wives were intelligent in their own ways, and Baba Segi maintained antiquated beliefs involving family. The contrast between members of the entire family made this book entertaining and thought-provoking.

    I would highly recommend this book to open-minded readers who enjoy new experiences!
  • Katharine K. (Alpine, CA)


    Engaging Read!
    I had no trouble being engaged by this book. I was sometimes appalled by the meanness and outright cruelty of some of the characters, but as the individual stories unfolded insight was provided into why they behaved the way they did. I had some trouble at the beginning of the chapters trying to figure out who was narrating, but it all becomes clear as you move forward in the story. I enjoyed this book and would definitely encourage others to read it.
  • Kimberly H. (Stamford, CT)


    A modern day tale of polygamy in Nigeria
    I loved this book. Beautifully written - I felt like I was in the house with all of these fiercely protective women and their children. Love, loss, independence, servitude - its all here in a wonderfully written, "couldn't put it down" book.
  • Carol J. (Isle, MN)


    Lives and Secrets
    Lola Shoneyin's The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives provided a realistic peek into the lives of 4 Nigerian women and the husband they share. I enjoyed getting to know the 4 women and their stories; how they each ended up married to Baba Segi and why. I also felt I received a small insight into the everyday Nigerian's life. Although, I found the use of local terms and language a little difficult to follow.
    I felt myself loosing interest in the middle of the book. But I was glad that I finished the book in order to discern the secrets of each woman.

    Overall, I would recommend the book. It did make me want to read some more books about Nigeria and the lives of the people there.
  • Pamela B. (Monona, WI, WI)


    The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
    The story surrounds the impact the addition of a fourth wife, Bolanle, has on Baba Segi's household. Bolanle is university educated, something the other wives are not. Not all is as it seems as jealousy and a family secret threaten them all. The book was a little difficult to read, as the chapters are written in first person from the view of each of the wives, and it is not always easy to determine which wife is "speaking".
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.