The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

Thu, 04/22/2021 - 10:54am -- BHanley

The Girl with the Louding Voice centers on Adunni, a 14-year-old girl born into poverty in rural Nigeria, who finds solace in one day being able to use her “louding voice” and speak up for herself and others. After her mother passes away, Adunni’s father sells her bride price to an older man with two wives. Adunni befriends Khadija, the second wife, who is currently pregnant. After Khadija’s untimely and unfortunate death, Adunni flees and finds a sickly woman who was a dear friend of Adunni’s mother. She helps Adunni escape by way of Kola, an agent who finds young girls and boys to do housework and other chores in richer households mostly in Lagos (Nigeria’s largest city). Adunni arrives at the mansion of Big Madam, a rich socialite and businesswoman, who lives there with her husband, Big Daddy. Adunni is to be the new housemaid. She’s poorly treated by Big Madam on a daily basis, but, with her rudimentary school education, Adunni is able to read and write and she routinely reads passages from a couple of books in the mansion library. Adunni learns of a scholarship scheme in Nigeria which is specifically for housemaids who are the same age as Adunni. At one of Big Madam’s social gatherings, Adunni meets Ms. Tia, a lonely housewife and entrepreneur who has only recently decided to have children. Ms. Tia sees a special spark in Adunni and chooses to help her in her quest to apply for the scholarship and find a way out. The Girl with the Louding Voice is so exquisitely written with lively characters, colorful dialogue, and an authentic understanding of Nigerian culture. It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. And, although the events that happen to Adunni are shocking and cruel, there’s a single thread of hope that weaves throughout the story. By turns captivating and heartbreaking, this story will stick with you.

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