A super debut novel from UK author Abi Daré. The Girl With The Louding Voice is a hugely enjoyable read and I am sure you’ll fall in love with immediately with the lead character, Adunni as much as I did. The character is engaging, entertaining, determined and I wanted her so much to succeed in her dream to become a teacher. She is a strong, bold character who is determined to become a teacher and find her “louding voice”.
For Adunni growing up at home was good, enjoyable, and fun. She loves reading and learning and wants to share that love of knowledge with others. She takes on the role of teaching the other children in her village English and has visions of herself educating girls so they can break out of the circle of bearing children and being servants to the men.
Her life changes dramatically when the breadwinner of the family, her Mother, dies. Unable to pay rent and put food on the table, her father sells Adunni into marriage at fourteen. She is heartbroken as not only does she has to forego any chance of improving her English she also leaves her brother, Kaysus.
Now married to Morufu her life takes on a very different path. As one of three wives who have born him only girls so far, she is expected to produce at least one boy. Tragedy strikes and she runs away to a Lagos.
Taken by an agent and she is put into household slavery with a Madam who beats her and under the treat of rape from “Big Daddy”. She is working as a housemaid for a year when she is taken under the wing of a mentor. If I had one small comment it would be that this section of the story seems too good to be true.
I loved the sense of place that Daré creates, the voice of Adunni is great, the bustling scenes in Lagos are well drawn and easy to visualise. Daré was born in Lagos and the story is very much alive in this enormous city.
One of the interesting elements of the book is that some of the chapters begin with fact about Nigeria. Suffice to say that some of these are shocking such as “as at 2012, Nigeria was estimated to have lost over $400 billion of oil revenue to corruption”. Daré also uses the novel to raise the issues of issues of sexism, marriage, and women’s inequality in Nigerian society today.
I will be recommending this as a great read, definitely worth reading.