The Girl with the Louding Voice

Image Credit: Alessandra Montalto/The New York Times

Adunni is the main character. She’s a girl from a small village in rural Nigeria. She really wants to escape poverty, go to school to get an education, and find her voice. Sadly a huge curveball is thrown into her plans when her dad makes the decision to marry her off to a man named Morufu to pay his debts. At the age of 14 Adunni has to grapple with what it means to become a wife. If you are wondering what her mother has to say about all of this. Good for you! Well the mother was the primary breadwinner and recently passed away. Here’s the gag! On her death bed Adunni’s mother made her hubby promise her that he wouldn’t sell her off in marriage. The father’s response when he was reminded of this, “promises don’t pay rent”. Ugh! Sometimes I feel as though women can’t catch a break, not even in death. I digress, back to the story.

Adunni has a close friend named Enitan, For that I am grateful. She needs someone because clearly her father is NOT it . Enitan seems to find the joy in everything and does her best to encourage Adunni. Adunni needs it because the man she is marrying already has not one, but TWO wives. Now, it’s clear how this is about to go down. The 1st wife, Abake is nasty to her, but the 2nd Khadija is more kind and understanding…she even gives Adunni a tour. It’s here that she learns the real reason of the marriage. Morufu wants sons. So far he only has girls and he believes Adunni can give them to him. It’s the 1st night of their marriage and Morufu doesn’t waste time. I won’t get into the details, but you can use your imagination. She wakes up the next morning in pain and distraught. Khadija comforts her as best as she can. However, compared to everyone else in the house, that comfort is overshadowed. Adunni is constantly harassed and/or beaten by Abake, the children, and her husband.

It later comes out that maybe Khadija’s kindness isn’t without some expectation. She desperately wants to please her husband, but things aren’t what they seem. There is a plot twist I for sure didn’t see coming. All the turns in her story line, practically need their own blog post. I’ll leave it for you to read. No spoilers over here!

After all the drama with Khadija, something enters Adunni and she decides to seek out Iya. Iya was always kind to he. She’s a woman Adunni’s mother used to help her out and look after. Adunni hides there thinking she has found her escape. Before she can even exhale her dad comes looking for her with her brother. He sends her brother in to search for her. He finds her, but doesn’t say anything. It was the most bittersweet goodbye. The brother is a real one. If you have a little brother, you know the vibes. Iya elicits the help of her brother Kola to take Adunni away to the big city of Lagos and help her find a job. Kola agrees and takes Adunni to Big Madam’s house, a mansion. Here she meets Kofi the cook. He gives her a tour. She meets Big Daddy the husband to Big Madam and learns about Rebecca. Rebecca was the previous maid. No one will discuss what happened to her. Another mystery wrapped in drama that is revealed later. I will also leave that for you to read. Just like Khadija’s story mentioned earlier, there are unexpected twists and turns for sure.

Adunni settles in and just like her husband’s house she is met with all manner of abuse. It’s not just from Big Madam either, Big Daddy comes with his own drama. In the midst, she comes across another kind soul whose name is Tia. Tia takes a liking to Adunni and they become friends. When an opportunity for a scholarship presents itself, Tia agrees to tutor Adunni to help her. Now, Tia has her own things that she’s dealing with and encounters in the book. However, that never interferes with her focus and help toward Adunni. After a while of tutoring, Adunni applies to the scholarship and we all wait for the results. Again I’ll leave that to you the reader to find out what happens. No spoilers over here!

This novel deserves 2 snaps and a twirl. Please read it. You won’t regret it. From the characters, to the plot, to how every chapter begins with a fun fact about Nigeria. I loved Loved LOVED everything about this book. I couldn’t think of a better way to end this post then with my favorite quote taken directly from the pages below:

God has given you all you need to be great, and it sits right there inside of you. […] Right inside your mind, in your heart. You believe, I know you do. You just need to hold on to that belief and never let go.

Let Your Louding Voice Light Shine!

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