The Girl with the Louding Voice
By Abi Daré
Published by Sceptre 2020
What’s it about?
A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to fight for her dreams and choose her own future.
Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a “louding voice”—the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni’s father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir.
When Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to make a better life, she finds that the only other option before her is servitude to a wealthy family. As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless slave, Adunni is told, by words and deeds, that she is nothing.
But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will inevitably follow; she finds the resolve to speak, however she can—in a whisper, in song, in broken English—until she is heard.
What I think:
This is simply a wonderful book!
Adunni’s story is utterly compelling from beginning to end. And I want to know what happens next!
Adunni is an extraordinarily clear voice. She is witty and funny, sometimes unintentionally. She is hardworking and feisty, honest and thoughtful.
Married to a much older man at just 14, Adunni is determined to fight against the gate that seems to be hers – poverty, lack of education and child marriage. When she has the chance to escape she takes it only to find herself trafficked to Lagos, working as an unpaid maid to a rich but abusive employer.
Despite the challenges she faces, Adunni is determined to fulfill her mother’s greatest wish – that she is receives a education and has the chance to make something of her life. Adunni wants to become a teacher and help to make life better for a other girls in the future.
Adunni is battling against a culture where women are meant to be submissive and confined to the domestic sphere. Young girls are not valued, child marriage, despite being illegal, is still common and sexual violence is accepted.
The book is written in Adunni’s broken English – so it took a while to get into the narrative style but adds to the authenticity of her voice.
She is incredibly insightful. She understands that although there are no chains she is enslaved, she sees Big Madam’s unhappiness and that despite the wealth and privilege of Big Madam’s friends, the women are no different from the women from the village.
This is an extraordinary book. Heart-breaking and heart- warming. I will be recommending it to everyone!
Thanks Sceptre Books and Tandem Collective for gifting me a copy of this wonderful book by Abi Daré.
Read Adunni’s story for yourself and order The Girl with the Louding Voice from:
Waterstones: click here
Amazon.co.uk: click here