I haven’t felt any string pulling at my heart to review a book in a long time but after reading the first page of this book, I knew that not sharing my thoughts about it will be a grave sin.
The Girl With The Louding Voice written by Abi Dare is 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. (Synopsis got from Goodreads)
I stumbled across this book while browsing through Goodreads, click this link to follow me on Goodreads. The synopsis immediately caught my attention. The fact that it was written by a Nigerian author and it is set in Nigeria and it talks about a Nigerian teenager, simply bought me over.
My emotions jumped off the roof the moment I read the first sentence, it was a given that I was going to really love this book. Abi Dare’s use of language in this book solidified its authenticity. This wasn’t like one of those pretentious Nigerian books that you can’t relate to, books that are literally falling over themselves trying to please a western audience.
This book was written from the perspective of a fifteen-year-old poor village girl with very little education and the language reflects exactly that. I wanted to do this review without posting any spoilers, so I’m going to be very minimal with details but I’m definitely going to do an in-depth analysis of this book, watch out for that. My favourite character is Adunni (the heroine), her sorrow, her loss, her pain, everything was like a bundle that I carried along with her on this journey. Deciding on my least favourite character is a bit of a struggle, I can’t decide between Big Daddy and Big Madam. I am going to do a detailed characterization during my analysis of the book, so you are going to help me decide which of the characters should take the prize. This book treats so many important themes like the effects of poverty, the importance of education for the girl child, child marriage, domestic violence, child trafficking and abuse etc. This book is rich with too many lessons which is one of the reasons why I definitely recommend it to everyone. It’s an ideal read for teenagers although there are some scenes of sexual abuse, but nothing explicitly graphic. My favourite quote from this book was a statement by Idowu(Adunni”s mother):
“Your schooling is your voice, child. It will be speaking for you even if you didn’t open your mouth to talk. It will be speaking till the day God is calling you come.”That day, I tell myself that even if I am not getting anything in this life, I will go to school. I will finish my primary and secondary and university schooling and become teacher because I don’t just want to be having any kind voice . . .I want a louding voice.”
This quote encapsulates the drive behind Adunni’s ambition for education. Throughout the novel, we see her resilience and fight to keep her dreams alive.
Adunni might be from a poor family and even if she was wronged by her father, her love for them shines throughout the book. The bond she shares, especially with Kayus, is something that warms the heart and reminds us about the importance of looking out for one another as family.
This story comes with so many intriguing twists, the plot developed seamlessly, It was really difficult to predict what could happen next, every turn was unexpected but completely natural. This is an amazing read and I give it a five-star rating.
If you’ve read this book, I will love to hear your opinion, please drop your comment below and let me know if this a book you are willing to try if you haven’t read it yet?