Lucinda's Reviews > The Secrets Come Out

The Secrets Come Out by Marguerite Abouet
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's review
Mar 13, 2012

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bookshelves: graphic-novels
Read in March, 2012

This last volume in the Aya series deals with the heavier issues that were percolating underneath the drama in the first two volumes, namely the position of women in Ivorian society. Not only do Aya's two friends have to deal with the outcomes of the relationships they have pursued, but their mothers are also faced with their own situations. Plural marriage is a practice that is allowed but is not common, according to Abouet's depiction of Ivorian society in the 1970s. This does not mean, of course, that everyone approves of this practice. I found it interesting how Abouet has her characters negotiate the various issues that women can find themselves in in their relationships with men, as well as the different understandings that women have of their agency in these situations.
At the same time, though, the book deals with these issues in a fairly light-hearted manner, with a gentle humour and a generous empathy. I really appreciate this in an independent graphic novel, as I find them to often be pretty bleak. This is a series that would be interesting and informative for younger women in the western world about the kinds of life choices that women in the Ivory Coast (dare I generalise to 'Africa'?... no, I can't say I am comfortable with that) face without exoticising them as 'other'.

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