I am not going to be able to give justice to this book in this review, but I’ll try.
Abi Dare’s debut novel, The Girl with the Louding Voice, was one of the February Book of the Month selections and the cover alone reeled me in. It is positively stunning! It follows the story of Adunni, a young girl in a small village in Nigeria, who wants to get an education. She knows that an education will be what allows her to use her ‘louding voice’ and her ability to decide her own future — this is what her mother taught her before she died
Her story is heartbreaking — she is married off at 14 to an older man with two other wives. She finds a small bit of kindness with the second wife, Khadija, but this quickly turns to tragedy for her. When Adunni runs away from her husband, she has to leave everything she knew behind and takes a job as a housemaid in Lagos, Nigeria’s capital city.
Everything Adunni goes through is heartbreaking. She experiences so much loss & cruelty throughout the course of the novel, but the whole time she stays strong and focused on becoming educated and independent. Despite the fact that the majority of the people around her are terrible, she does seem to find little pockets of kindness and help, which allow her to thrive.
This book was absolutely phenomenal. The author is also from Nigeria, making it an #ownvoices novel. The author does an amazing job of thoroughly bringing the reader to Nigeria through her writing. Adunni is the narrator, and has a very different way of speaking — she uses grammar and vocabulary that is not “perfect English” and some readers & reviewers have been turned off by it. I really loved how much it enhanced her as a character, and how her grammar “improved” throughout the novel.
This was a 5 star read for me. It reminded me of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. While the plot was simple and straightforward, it was beautifully written and perfect.