The story of Adunni, the beloved protagonist of The Girl with the Louding Voice, is a familiar story for many Nigerians! If you are not an Adunni, you know one.
Her story is set in Nigeria, West Africa. It starts out in the village of Ikati and ends in the bustling city of Lagos.
Abi Dare, the author, gives us a glimpse into the lived experiences and inner world of young Nigerian girls married off as teenagers or trafficked into a life of servitude.
Girls, who regardless of the realities they exist in, have dreams, and Adunni is no exception. She has a dream! A dream she held onto and shared with anyone who gave her audience.
She wants an education and hopes to become a teacher.
But after her mother, her biggest supporter, died, war broke out in the shape of teen marriage, human trafficking, and child abuse. Her good-for-nothing father married her off to an older man with two wives in exchange for rent money, among other things. Despite this detour, Adunni’s desire to go to school did not wane and neither did her voice. She amplified it with the cards patriarchy and misogyny dealt her. In the midst of her darkness, she found a friend and a beacon of light in her husband’s pregnant second wife, Khadija.
But when tragedy struck in the most unexpected way, the story took us several hours out of Ikati to the city of Lagos where she was trafficked to work as a house-girl (maid).
While in Lagos and in the midst of being physically abused, Adunni used the shards from the broken pieces of her journey to build her life back up. She attracted Ms. Tia and Kofi as advocates. Both championed her dreams and supported her quest to groom not just any kind of voice, but a louding voice.
The storyis told from Adunni’s point of view and addresses issues like domestic violence, patriarchy, misogyny, rape, teen marriage, etc. Dare paints a vivid picture of a cultural norm that we, as Africans and Nigerians (including myself), have benefitted from and still allow to thrive. The Girl with the Louding Voice is a quest to thrive. It is a remarkable story of what it takes to find friendships and communities in unexpected places. Each person Aduuni met threw a match into her fire and either set it ablaze or burnt…