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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Review: The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare @duttonbooks @abidare_author

The Girl with the Louding Voice 
by Abi Dare

Big thanks to Dutton Books for this copy.

Publisher: Dutton Books
Publish Date: February 4, 2020
384 Pages
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction

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.

My Review:

A beautifully written debut novel about Adunni, who has lost her mother and just wants to make her proud while finding her voice in this world.  However, her dreams are stunted when her father sells her to an older man at the age of 14 to become his third wife.  WHAT.  Now Adunni goes through a variety of struggles on her way to still finding her louding voice, and her voice can't be silenced. 

While this is a work of fiction, there are a few chapters where at the beginning are facts re Nigeria. One being that it is true marriages have been, and still are, being arranged where "women" of such a young age are being married off and bearing children.  What Adunni goes through is all to real. Adunni's character, however, manages to somehow maintain a happy spirit for the most part and luckily finds people who realize how smart she is and she finds solace where she can.

While I do think this is a powerful book and appreciate I was able to learn about a different culture, I didn't feel as emotional or connected as I hoped that I would.  Don't get me wrong, I still felt very strongly for Adunni's plight and was riveted with her story.  I think some of the writing style may be difficult for some readers as it's written in a lot of broken English through Adunni's mouth.  I, personally, found this gave an authenticity to her character and watching her grow and learn was a pleasure.

I'm left with questions on what happened to her family.  I need to know.  This is a good sign of the investment I had within the story, right? Either way, as a debut, brilliantly done.


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