Book Review: The girl with the louding voice

Novel by Abi Daré

In this book, Adunni, the young main character, tells her story. She narrates in present tense, so the reader follows in real-time. In addition, the reader is allowed into the workings of Adunniʼs mind. Adunni narrates in broken English and sometimes, plain English when she’s recalling the words of someone who could speak that way. Adunniʼs mom had died a few years ago and she lives in a rural town with; her elder brother, her younger brother—whom she is closest to, and her weak-willed father.

Adunniʼs dream is to go to school, a goal that was fostered by her late mother who paid Adunniʼs school fees up to the primary level with the proceeds from selling puff puff, a well-known Nigerian snack. With Adunniʼs mother’s death, her dream to grow up an educated woman with a “louding voice” in a society where girls are consigned to domestic work or married off, is pushed far from her grip.
At 15 years old, Adunni becomes the third wife of Morufu, a man her father’s age. Something happens, although it is not her fault, Adunni is forced to run away to save her head. Because, in the society where she is raised, a suspect is always guilty. With that, Adunniʼs life spirals into more adventures that can blur a dream, except that of a strong-willed person like Adunni.

Hisself didn’t go to school. And if I am not going to school, then how will I be finding a job and having moneys? How will I have a louding voice?

It took quite a while for me to get the book and read it. I’d always seen it on online bookstores, Instagram posts and blogs on African novels to read. I’ve been really busy to. Also, I didn’t want the disappointment of hyped books. I have once bought a novel that had a catchy title, nice book design and was all over the Internet, but hated it😭. However, this one was a breath of fresh air.

The novel is a book of fiction by Abi Daré, and it’s actually her first novel. Impressive! One of the reoccurring themes I noticed in this book was the need to educate the girl-child. We see how girls have been taught to lack interest in school and jobs that require more technical skills compared with petty trading/business. That was seen in Enitan, Adunniʼs friend. Another theme is the problematic culture of her town that punishes a suspect for a crime even when not proven guilty in some sort of judicial setting. The inhumane and unusual punishment is also part. And Abi Daré highlights this. There are more themes packed into this novel and I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here LOL.

Overall, I’ll rate this novel a 9/10. Yes, it’s that good! It was a wonderful read.

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