Another good way to learn about a country is to read every sort of literature based on that country, especially for those who love to read. You get to see various points of views of the country, its people and lifestyles from different authors. We have a lot of Nigerian authors whose books based on Nigeria have been getting international love lately, so this speaks for itself.
So literature of the week is going to highlight and give a brief summary of literature that I have read, which embodies Nigeria in every way.
Today we are going to be looking at ‘The secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives‘ by ‘Lola Shoneyin.
The secret life of Baba Segi’s wives is pretty awesome. It is comical, ironic but serious all at the same time. It shows a modern day polygamous family and all the ups and downs that come with it. Of course, it should be noted that this isn’t the yard stick by which all polygamous marriages in Nigeria should be judged. Everyone is indeed different.
Baba Segi portrays the typical illiterate Nigerian man whose wives, cars, children, businesses and the likes show that he is prosperous. Bagging a wife who went to university is of course the icing on the cake for him, much to the annoyance of his first 3 wives. Additionally, most of the time he is oblivious to what is going on in his home.
So what do you get when you throw in a wife who is a graduate with 3 other semi- literate wives who have secrets that must be protected at all cost? DRAMA!!.
Lola pulls you into the book with her style of narration, and each character has a voice. No one is more important than the other. Another thing about it is, there is someone, somewhere who will be able to relate to at least one character, and understand their point of view or why they do some of the ridiculous things that happen. This could be because we are these people, or have met people like them.
Each chapter after the first is told by a different character, you read their back story and you get to understand how and why they see life the way they do. It also shows undertones of how sometimes in this part of the world, some women because they are uneducated or semi educated, are still told what they must do, or who they must be. This in no way shows them as weak, but further proves their strength as they still find ways to get around it.
A lot of topics are touched with regards to education, finance, ignorance, rape, modern medicine vs traditional medicine and much more, depending on how you see it of course.
Even the secondary characters have mini back stories so you are not left confused when they are thrown into the mix.
The plot is interesting and also engaging. No doubt about it, you will laugh with this family, connect with them and maybe even feel sorry for them sometimes.
For those who like light reading, this is also perfect. It isn’t bulky so it can be finished very quickly.
I would give it 8 out of 10. Yes I thought it was that good. For her first book, I think she did pretty well.
Where to buy it/Price
Konga (a Nigerian online shop)
$6.83/4.12GBP for the Kindle version
$9.60/5.76GBP for the hardback
$4.81/5.59 for the paper back
*GBP – Great British Pound
Please note prices may vary in actual book stores.
Anyone have a good Nigerian book they’ve read?