This book tells the story of Baba Segi and his four wives, when you start reading it you think (atleast I thought) the only person who had a secret is Baba Segi’s fourth wife who is educated,is pretty,modern and yet she decided to be a fourth wife to a polygamous, old,uneducated rich man but I figured money talks.As you read on you will realize all the wives have their own individual secrets as to how they got to be his wives and one shared big secret(the mother of all secrets) of how they each got their children.
|The family tree of Baba Segi's family.|
She is the first wife and fondly called the mother of the home by Baba Segi.
How she became his wife: Their mothers were neighbours J J, good friends,had raised them as single parents and were both old and feared that they would die before seeing their grand children and therefore decided that their two kids will marry and so they did.
But there is a back story to it and it's that Iya Segi was this go-getter as a girl and she did businesses and wasn’t too keen on men because of the messages about men and how they are good for nothing that her mother had taught her over the years.
‘Men are nothing they are fools.The p**** between their legs is all they are useful for. And even then,if not that women needed their seed for children,it would be better to seat on a finger of green plantain. Listen to my words .Only a foolish woman leans heavily on a man’s promises.’
After a long while the same mother realizes that Iya Segi needs to get married and so she talks to her neighbour about her son and how it will be good if he could marry her daughter. Baba Segi is rich right? but only because the mother of Iya Segi gave all of her (Iya Segi's) money to him but secretly through his mother so that he will never know the true source of his wealth because he thinks it's from his mother.
'When I got home that evening,I opened the bedroom door and immediately the shadows cleared from my eyes.My room had been ransacked and all my money was gone.My heart beat so loud that the sound filled my head.I couldn’t scream lest demons rush out of the forests so I opened my bedroom door to report the tragedy.Mama was standing there filling my door way. ‘’It’s all gone’’,She said,I have given it to the man who will be your husband.He will need it to look after you.''
She is Baba Segi's second wife and the kindest one who is not involved in the scheming of the other wives(Iya Segi and Iya Femi) to do bad things to wife number 4.Also is she very timid and doesn't talk much.
How She became his wife: Her father was a cassava farmer and sold his harvest to Baba Segi and I think maybe he gave him money for farm inputs.One year the harvest is so bad that to appease Baba Segi,Iya Tope's father gives her to Baba Segi as a gift to say sorry for the poor harvest.
''She is not a great beauty'', I had my father saying,as I closed the door, But she is as strong as three donkeys and thorough too.What she loses in wit,she gains in meticulousness.Even a child could have worked out why my father was extolling qualities that had previously vexed him; I was compensation for the failed crops. I was like the tubers of cassava in the basket.Maybe something less,something strange-a tuber with eyes,a nose,arms and two legs.
She is the third wife and one who is the most selfish but she has her reasons which are; her parents died when she was really young and left her under the custody(implied custody) of her uncle,who instead of taking care of her took all her inherited assets and sent her to be a househelp for some rich people in town who treated her so badly, so she made it her life's mission to take revenge on all the people who have wronged her and she is using Baba Segi as a means to an end.
''Don't get me wrong.I don't hate Baba Segi; On the contrary,I have several reasons to be thankful to him.He gave me a place of refuge when the wicked of the world were ready to swallow me whole.You see,when the world owes you as much as it owes me,you need a base from which you can call in your debts,In return for his kindness,I have worked tirelessly to make him happy.I cook his favorite meals the way Grandma taught me.The people in this household are easy to please:cook them a hearty meal and they worship you.''
How she became his wife: She paid his driver- Taju to talk him into marrying her,which he somehow miraculously did.
She is the fourth wife and the only one amongst his wives that he choose for himself and wooed.His is very proud of the fact that she agreed to marry him and is constantly showing off to his friends.
How she became his wife:They met in his shop and he liked her(love at first sight for him),he wooed her and much to his surprise she said yes.She said yes not because she liked him but because she was running from her past and her secrets.
'Somehow, it all made perfect sense when I met Baba Segi. At last, I would be able to empty myself of my sorrow.I would be with a man who accepted me,one who didn't ask questions or find my quiteness unsettling.I knew Baba Segi wouldn't be like younger men who demanded explanations for the faraway look in my eye. Baba Segi was content when I said nothing.So,yes I choose this home,Not for the monthly allowance,not for the lace skirt suits and not for the coral bracelets.Those things mean nothing to me.I chose this family to regain my life,to heal in anonymity.
The big secret in the book is............................Baba Segi cannot have children and yet he has seven children.His first wife found out about this and decided to have babies with their driver and informed all the other wives except for Bolanle that if they wanted to make Baba Segi happy because the man valued children above anything else they would have to go out and bring those babies so each of them did exactly that except Bolanle.
I know almost everyone has read the book but if you haven't, you should definetly read it because it's fun(I laughed quite a bit),it's easy to read and a page turner and all the time I pictured Iya Segi as Gaby Sidibe :-D :-D.