One of the best reading experiences I’ve had all year! A unique and powerful new voice on the fiction scene. The Girl with the Louding Voice is the debut and award-winning novel of Abi Daré, whose protagonist, Adunni, and her story were raring to come to light for years. Set in Nigeria, the novel follows the girl’s gripping coming-of-age journey from the village of Ikati to bustling Lagos. Explore my review for the many reasons why this must-read fiction book deserves your attention and the world’s praise.
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Engaging Heroine and Narration
The narration comes from Adunni’s perspective and shines an innocent, funny, and often heartbreaking light on her impoverished life. Her love and hunger for education keep her sharp and increasingly unafraid to express herself. As a 14-year-old girl in an fiercely patriarchal society, these are admirable but dangerous qualities to have. Despite the grim circumstances Adunni finds herself in, the narration is so bittersweet and compelling that I couldn’t stop reading and praying that she’d be alright.
Emotional and Very Timely Plot
When Adunni’s mother dies, her impoverished father takes her out of school and sells her as a third wife to an old man. Things go from bad to worse from there and The Girl with the Louding Voice ends up on the run and trying to survive. But there’s more to the book than Adunni’s tale. Truths about Nigeria’s struggle with horrible practices – child marriages, slave trade, brutal justice systems and religious ceremonies – come up throughout the narrative. As a girl, Adunni also deals with a lot of gender and class discrimination. This great debut work of fiction bursts with clever social criticism through the eyes and voice of a brave little girl.
Intriguing Use of Language
With Adunni as the narrator, the story is in broken English. It takes a few pages to get into her rhythm and speech patterns. But, once immersed, the rest of the novel is a breeze. What makes this feature super interesting is how Adunni – or Daré – juggles with this language and creates new, often mindblowing, shapes. And they are just as easy to understand as if they were in “proper” English. The flexibility of language and expression is an idea that weaves wonderfully through the narrative and enriches the reading experience even more.
Without giving too much away, this book review should contain enough exciting incentives for The Girl with the Louding Voice to earn a few more fans. The main character, plot and ingenious, stirring features are three key areas where the debut novel thrives. But there’s so much more to discover within its pages. Abi Daré is definitely an author to look out for.
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