The Girl with the Louding Voice
Sceptre, Jonathan Ball
Review: Karen Watkins
The often male-dominated society of Nigeria, and other African countries, makes it difficult for young women to escape into a new life.
This is the case for the adorable heroine Adunni who is one of many 14-year-old girls who are often married off.
The story begins in a small rural village in northern Nigeria around 2014.
Adunni has recently lost her mother who had instilled in her the idea of getting an education.
Her father only wants to find a way to make money to pay the rent on their miserable house. She has an older brother who finds work occasionally and a younger brother whom she cares for and loves.
Her father, against her will, sells her into marriage as the third wife to a much older man. He wants a young wife who can produce the son that his first two wives have not given him.
Adunni has to flee her village and ends up in Lagos working under an abusive, wealthy employer whose husband has a wondering eye.
Despite her many hardships, including physical and sexual abuse, Adunni is determined to better herself.
She wants to get an education, find her voice and speak for herself and for all the girls who came before her, and one day become a teacher.
The story is peppered with information from the Book of Nigerian Facts: from past to present, 5th edition, 2014.
It is written in colloquial style which helps to shape the story and its authenticity.
This brilliantly told story has memorable characters making it heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time.
It will have you rooting for Adunni’s spunky spirit and naivety because she is unaware of the ways of the world and how things work, which adds much humour.
I highly recommend this gripping debut novel. It’s not to be missed.