Dare, Abi. “The Girl with the Louding Voice”, Dutton/Plume, 2020.
Girls Who Dare to Dream
Abi Daré’s powerful debut novel, “The Girl With the Louding Voice” celebrates girls who dare to dream “and those who help unfurl their wings so that they might soar.” The story is narrated by a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to get an education so that she can leave it and choose her own future.
Adunni is a fourteen-years-old and she wants: an education. Her mother has told her that education is the only way to get a “louding voice” (the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future). However, Adunni’s father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to produce a son and heir for him.
Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to find a better life but sees that the only other option she has 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.” Even though she faces misfortunes, she does not lose the ability to speak up. She realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls as well and especially for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will follow; she finds that she has the resolve to speak, however she can until she is heard.
Adunni narrates her own suffering with depth and texture and beauty and she cultivates her own humanity even while everything around her seeks to hinder it. She becomes an ambassador for girls everywhere. We get a beautifully real portrait of Adunni as she forms her destiny in modern day Nigeria. Her voice is on every page. Her journey is transformative and through her we see “the full scope of the young woman’s widening world.”