Friday, July 29, 2011

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives: A Novel by Lola Shoneyin

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

Meet Baba Segi . . .
A plump, vain, and prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, Baba Segi is the patriarch of a large household that includes a quartet of wives and seven children. But his desire to possess more just might be his undoing.
And his wives . . .
Iya Segi—the bride of Baba Segi's youth, a powerful, vindictive woman who will stop at nothing to protect her favored position as ruler of her husband's home.
Iya Tope—Baba Segi's second wife, a shy, timid woman whose decency and lust for life are overshadowed by fear.
Iya Femi—the third wife, a scheming woman with crimson lips and expensive tastes who is determined to attain all that she desires, no matter what the cost.
Bolanle—Babi Segi's fourth and youngest wife, an educated woman wise to life's misfortunes who inspires jealousy in her fellow wives . . . and who harbors a secret that will expose shocking truths about them all.

This book has been in my" to read" pile for sometime.    I am not sure what  made me less than excited to read it.  Possibly the cover art and title implied that it would be a tedious folk story.  I did pull it out of the pile because it was smaller than the rest and would fit in my luggage as I packed for an out of town job.  I am glad I packed it!

This book is not a folk story.  

 If you can read this book without judging the polygamist life style and making any assumptions you will find it to be a very enlightening, brutally truthful  story.  

This is a  story of life in Nigeria.  A place most Americans know little about.  It is the story of four Nigerian wives and their polygamous  husband.  It brings some a very different view points to light. 

The characters are will written and three dimensional.  The writing style retains some of the African flavor  of the Nigerian language with many proverbs and colorful sayings throughout the book.  

Each chapter of the book is told by a different character.  At times, it was a bit confusing, because the character
 that was speaking was not immediately  identified.  As you read it became apparent who the chapter was about.  It kept me from becoming a lazy reader.

If you are looking for a change of pace, put this one on the top of your "to read" pile!
Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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