Yay, I'm done with my first book of the new year. It's going to be kind of a slow start for me as I get some gifts finished for my sister. Luckily this book was a fairly quick and enjoyable read for recuperating from a cold. I tend to measure a book by how often my mind gets distracted by other thoughts. If I'm thinking a lot about my life, which isn't the most interesting, then the book is not worth the effort. But Shoneyin's novel kept me interested.
The story centers around a wealthy Nigerian family. The patriarch, Baba Segi, has four wives and seven children, but is kept miserable because his fourth wife, Bolanle, has not yet conceived. His first and third wives, Iya Segi and Iya Femi, are hateful women, jealous of Bolanle's education and worried about theirs and their children's place in the family with the addition of another wife. They do everything in their power to make her life miserable enough so that she will leave. The second wife, Iya Tope, is a sweet but slow woman that looks on powerlessly at the harm done to Bolanle. The first three wives share a secret that you will probably guess early on, but it doesn't affect the enjoyment of the book.
Shoneyin uses multiple narrators, which isn't something that I usually like, but it works with this story because there is very little spoken between the core characters. Most of the novel is frustrating and sad, just like real life, so if you want a happy read you should look elsewhere. A big part of the reason that I enjoyed this book is because I'm nosy and the story picks apart people's lives and tells us what they would never want made public. I don't think that I will read this again but I would recommend it to those who want a quick read and are as nosy as I am.