Book Reviews

Out of My Comfort Zone Book Review: The Girl With The Louding Voice

A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to fight for her dreams and choose her own future.

Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a “louding voice”—the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni’s father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir.

When Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to make a better life, she finds that the only other option before her 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.

But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will inevitably follow; she finds the resolve to speak, however she can—in a whisper, in song, in broken English—until she is heard.

Title: The Girl With The Louding Voice
Author: Abi Daré
Genre: Contemporary/Literary Fiction
Format: BOTM Hardcover
Publisher: Dutton Books
Date Published: February 4th 2020
Trigger Warnings: sexual abuse/assault, violence
Rating: 4.7//5 Owls

I have a confession that may make me seem like a bad person, but oh well. I don’t really like reading realistic fiction about other cultures.

It’s not so much that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just I can’t relate to it. With fantasy novels or mystery, I can lose myself in the fiction of the story. With contemporary and literary fiction, when I know that even though the story itself is fiction, there’s real people out there that dealt with a similar circumstance in their own life, I struggle.

It’s hard for me to put myself in their shoes, to understand the depths of pain and struggle within the story that is based on real life. (Part of this may be because I am completely incapable of visualizing things in my head, but that’s another story)

When you get up every day, I want you to remind yourself that tomorrow will be better than today. That you are a person of value. That you are important.

I’m also always a little hesitant to read these types of stories, because I feel like as someone outside looking in, I need to be more careful about how I rate the story, how the story makes me feel, how I view the world after. I put too much pressure on making sure I feel the right way, that I don’t truly immerse myself in the story.

Which is why for May’s Outside My Comfort Zone I decided to read The Girl With The Louding Voice, because stories like this are why I started this challenge. Stories like this are I love to read it, and I’m excited to dive into it with you.

The first thing to notice about this book is the way it’s written. Adunni is a 14 year old Nigerian girl, who never finished school. Since this book is written in first person, that means it’s told from the perspective of a 14 year old Nigerian girl who never finished school.

It means we have words like “baff” and “tee-vee” and phrases like “he builded it with mud”. I have a love hate relationship with writing like this; sometimes it can be difficult to read or have to take extra time to figure out what a word might mean, but it also is a refreshing experience because it really puts you in the mind of the narrator. You get to watch as Adunni’s English gets better, as the writing style slowly evolves from page to page.

I truly admire the amount of work and dedication it must have took to write the story this way. After I finished reading I compared the writing at the beginning and end of the book and was shocked to see how different it was; the changes in her english were so subtle and slow that it wasn’t super noticeable every time Adunni learned a proper tense, or proper spelling. It was just so masterfully written.

I cry …. for myself, for the loss of everything good and happy, for the pain of the past and the promise of the future

This is a really difficult book. Adunni deals with so many hardships that are more than anyone should have to handle in a lifetime, but especially a 14 year old girl. So many times I wanted to start crying and reach inside the book and just hold her.

The story is a little predictable in the sense that you know how its going to end – but the journey getting there was unpredictable and completely worth it.

I know I say this a lot, but its hard to get into too many of the details about why this book is great without experiencing it yourself. While there is a plot, this is much more so a character driven novel and Adunni’s journey into finding her voice.

If you haven’t read this book or are hesitant to start it, I completely recommend picking it up. Its beautiful and heartbreaking and 100% worth the journey.

Side note: This is the first of Out of My Comfort Zone books that I have loved this month. In April I started the CC books and while I loved some of them, I didn’t love every single one. This book is by far winning the challenge for the year. Check out all my OoMCZ reviews below:

January – Fangirl
March- The Kingdom of Back
April –Cassandra Clare Part 1

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