by Abi Daré
read by Adjoa Andoh
Penguin Audio, 2020. 12 hours, 7 minutes.
Review written January 10, 2024, from a library eaudiobook.
Oh my goodness, this book was a treat to listen to. In this case, I highly recommend reading the book with the audiobook version, because the story is told by Adunni, a Nigerian girl with a thick accent and some quirky ways of using English. I think it might have been a little hard to follow in print, but Adjoa Andoh read it for me delightfully. She was easy to understand via listening, and I quickly got used to those quirks. For example, a “louding” voice is a voice getting louder and more influential so that other people can hear her.
Adunni has always wanted to be a teacher. She wants to help girls and women find their voices and get a louding voice herself.
But life is not kind to Adunni. As the book opens, at fourteen years old she has had to stop going to school, because her family can’t afford it after the death of her mother. And then her father finds a way to pay the rent — by selling Adunni to be the third wife of a rich old man.
Adunni had heard her father promise her mother that Adunni could stay in school, but he’s breaking that promise. And that’s only the beginning of the troubles Adunni goes through. Something terrible happens in her new household, and she knows she will be blamed, so she has to flee her village. And that doesn’t end her troubles, either.
There were times when the book was almost too sad, but the resilient character of Adunni kept me going, as she kept going. I think it’s fair to tell you as readers not to give up, that it does have a happy ending. (And it would just be unbearable if it didn’t. As it is: Hooray for Adunni!)
Some of the parts I love are when Adunni discovers a dictionary and starts reading the “Collins.” Also, after she finds a book of facts about Nigeria, each chapter opens with one of those facts. It’s that way that Adunni learns about human trafficking and that much of what has been done to her is against the law.
I haven’t been reading many adult books lately because I was on the Morris committee last year, and I’m not sure where I got the recommendation to read this one, but what a delight it is!
Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/girl_with_the_louding_voice.html
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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.
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