The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Agbe Davies || Book Club

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Agbe Davies || Book Club

By Aga Guest

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Agbe Davies || Book Club

A lazy afternoon. A good book.

Sipping on a warm beverage. A good book.

Conversations with friends. A good book.

Table for one at your favorite Lagos watering hole. A good book.

There really isn’t anywhere a good book doesn’t belong. As we look for ways to step away from the daily grind—far from the maddening crowd—a good book is one of the best companions. In fact, in those moments when we reach for the “jeje” life meaning slow life, a good book offers the opportunity to be still and wander at the same time.

A good book is Lola Shoneyin’s award winning fictional debut, The Secret lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. It’s so good that, 10 years on, it is still thrilling readers. 


Set in Ibadan, Nigeria, we meet Baba Segi, a rich, middle-aged patriarch and his polygamous family. With 4 wives and 12 children, one would assume Baba Segi is content yet, to his dismay, after two years of marriage, his fourth and youngest wife Bolanle is still without child.

Bolanle has disturbed the fragile peace the other wives maintained before her arrival. Being the only educated wife, and a university graduate to boot, business as usual grinds to a halt in the household and the other wives do everything they can to oust her before all is lost.

Baba Segi, in a last-ditch effort to find out what's wrong with Bolanle, drags her to the hospital after multiple failed attempts to take her to his preferred traditional doctor. He believes that in the hospital Bolanle’s barrenness will be cured; instead, there opens a web of deception and lies, including the secret that threatens the security of all his other wives.

With a story told seamlessly from multiple perspectives, and through witty, hilariously written twists and turns, Lola Shoneyin takes the reader on a journey that delves into important themes of patriarchal prejudice, infertility, polygamy, rape, and relationships in Nigerian society.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it to anyone seeking to read a good book.

May 2020 marked the 10th year anniversary of this brilliant book which is still relevant today. So, kick back and enjoy a book that’s short enough to read in one jeje afternoon!

This Book Review was written by Omolola Agbe-Davies. Omolola Agbe-Davies is a fierce Lagosian in self-imposed exile. She is currently pursuing a career in Data Analytics and she shares her musings on Instagram @litlagosian

Portrait photograph by Omolola Agbe-Davies.

ll other images courtesy of Temitope Babaoye.

1 comment

  • I love this book so much! Thank you for reminding me why I did!

    Moyo on

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