The girl with the louding voice by Abi Dare is a one of a kind novel in itself. It is heartbreaking, inspiring, and at the same time, points out several cultural nuances of Nigeria. Once you read this book, you cannot stop yourself from spreading the word about it.
What is it book all about?
This is Adunni’s story. Adunni is a 14-year-old girl whose only dream is to get an education and become a teacher. Unfortunately, she lives in a society where girls aren’t sent to school, instead married off at a very young age. As young as 14-15 years in exchange for bride price.
Adunni’s mother tries her best to educate Adunni. She worked hard to pay for Adunni’s school fees. But sadly, she passes away at a very young age due to cancer. Adunni was just 10 years old when her mother passed away.
Soon after her mother’s death, Adunni’s father stops her education. When Adunni turns 14, he fixes her marriage with Moruffu, a man who was almost of Adunni’s father’s age. Moreover, he already had 2 wives and 4 daughters. This old man was willing to pay the bride price and that was all Adunni’s father cared for.
This is how the story begins. Rest is a roller-coaster ride of Adunni’s struggles to find a way to get an education. Adunni didn’t know the world outside her village. She didn’t know how to stop things that were happening to her. She didn’t know whom to ask for help.
The only thing she knew, whatever happening to her was wrong and she didn’t deserve it. She knew her mother was always right when she said, only an education can give her a voice, or rather, a voice to have a choice. Adunni didn’t want to settle with just a voice, she wished to have a ‘louding voice’.
What makes this book stand different
The most appealing thing about this book is that, it is written in broken English. An English that doesn’t sound grammatically right, but more than enough for us to understand.
Adunni herself is the narrator here. She tells us her story with her limited grasp of the English language. As the story progresses, Adunni’s English also improves in the book. It gives us a different, yet satisfying reading experience.
The girl with the louding voice is one of the best books I read in 2021. I had no pre-notions about this book when I picked it randomly from my library shelf. It had a unique charm, whether it be the book cover or the blurb, it just caught my attention at the first glance.
Initially, I thought the book wasn’t edited properly or maybe it is a variation of Nigerian English. Later, I fell in love with this unique writing style. It was the voice of 14-year-old Adunni who had to discontinue her education at the age of 10.
The book was nevertheless a gripping read with some major twists and turns. The first half of the story is set in a rural Nigerian Village and the second half in the city of Lagos. And so comes different characters in the story with different cultural backgrounds.
We get to see the difference between rural and urban life, both being miserable for Adunni until a door of hope opens up. The silent sufferings of women characters in this book don’t go unnoticed. Those who showed up strong were the most broken souls.
I would love to see a second part to this story where Adunni returns to her village after she achieves her dream. I am extremely curious to know what happened to certain characters who were left behind in the village.
Really appreciate the editor who made sure to keep the English broken throughout the book. It adds to the originality and the innocence in Adunni’s voice. I highly recommend this beautiful piece of literature to every reader.
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About the author : Abi Dare
Abi Dare is a Nigerian author born and brought up in Lagos. Currently, she lives in Essex, England. In 2018, she won the Bath Novel Award for The girl with the louding voice. This is her debut novel. Daré was included in the Guardian‘s list of 10 Best Debut Novelists of 2020. Click here to know more about this author.
Hope you will enjoy this read as much as I did. Happy reading.
Before you go, have a look at the JCB Prize for literature 2021 LONGLIST which was announced recently :