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The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

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The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives By Lola ShoneyinBolanle, a graduate, disappoints her ambitious mother when she announces her intention to marry. Not only is Bolanle rejecting the path her mother hoped for her, she’s going to become the fourth of a polygamous man. The other wives, illiterate all of them, treat Bolanle with suspicion; they don’t like the way that Bolanle is regarded as some kind of trophy because of her academic achievements and they make no secret of their dislike. However, things take a sinister turn when Bolanle unwittingly threatens to expose a terrible secret in the household.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” is narrated in turns by the adult members of the household. While this has some advantages in revealing the story bit by bit, building up the tension and gradually exposing the web of deceit on which the household precariously hangs, I did find it difficult to distinguish between the voices of the first three wives for at least the first half of the book. While this didn’t really act as a barrier to my understanding of the story, or my enjoyment generally, it does highlight a weakness in characterisation.

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