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Longing to be heard

Cover of The Girl with the Louding
A review of The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who dreams of finishing her education and becoming a teacher. And as she narrates her story in the colloquial English of her small village, you can feel how she yearns. Her mother wanted an education for her as it would be the only way for her to get a "louding voice". That louding voice was meant to arm her so that she could control her own destiny. But the death of her mother has left Adunni at the mercy of a spendthrift father who only sees in her a way to get money to pay the rent. He sells her as the third wife of a local taxi driver, Morufu. Though Adunni is heartbroken and scared at the prospect of marrying a man so much older than herself and having to give up her dreams, she is an obedient daughter and does as her father asks. Once she joins Morufu's household her biggest challenge isn't her new husband, but his first wife who sees Adunni as another interloper and one who must be kept down at all costs. A tragic accident leaves Adunni adrift and on the run and what seems like an escape leads to an even worse situation in the household of a wealthy couple.

If all of this sounds to you like it's a never-ending stream of deprivation and darkness, you'd be half right. While Adunni's circumstances range from depressing to dire, they are not unrealistic for many young women in Nigeria. And Adunni's courage, resilience and perserverance rang like a clarion bell throughout. Yes she gets knocked down, in major, horrifying ways, but she always gets back up. And while the ending may have been just a smidge pat, it was a happier ending well-earned (by Adunni and the reader). If ever there was a root-worthy heroine, Adunni is it. 

Oct 27, 2020