How the story unfolds is in chapters that reveal back story on each wife before and after she married Baba Segi. Each of these women were filled with various desires like learning to read and being educated, the affections of a young man, and even wealth. The wives are the important characters here and that's fine because a tale involving polygamy does bear more implications on the status of women. It's pleasing that the female characters are fully realized and even the two most vindictive are shown to have some humanity. Baba Segi was probably the type of characterization you'd expect of a wealthy polygamist-- demanding and unattractive. Shoneyin has written this novel with great honesty and realism and it was a joy to read. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives is a fabulous piece of literature from a fantastic writer poised to have a brilliant career.
disclosure: I received this book from the publisher.