Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE – ABI DARÈ
This story of 14 year old Nigerian girl Adunni is written in a unique style – neither exactly pidgin English, nor entirely incomprehensible; and it took me a while to get used to it. Later in the book, as Adunni’s command over the English language improves, so does her expression in the book.
Adunni’s mother wished for her to go to school, to find her own voice. After her mother’s death, her father marries her off to an old man, in exchange for money. She suffers every day of her married life, but retains her desire to learn, and to make something for herself.
Circumstances take her to Lagos, as a maid (for all practical purposes, a slave) at the home of the tyrannical “Big Madam”. When it seems like her miseries will never end, two kind souls – Kofi, a cook at the house, and Tia, a privileged, educated young woman- take an interest in her well being and help her.
I loved the fact that the theme of a voice resonates throughout the book through this young girl who is absolutely unafraid to speak her mind. Daré’s use of metaphors creates interesting images, and the bond between Adunni and Tia is particularly well written. “I collect Khadija’s hands as if I am collecting sorrows” and “I swim deep inside the river of my soul, and…. pour the memory out of me” are my favourite lines. I wouldn’t say I loved the book. I wonder if at some level, having read about so many such instances of women’s subjugation in my own country, I have become a bit desensitized or cynical. In parts it felt like the story is geared towards a western audience. The fact that this is the third such story of a struggle against odds I have read in recent months contributed to the “no more of this theme for a while ” feeling. “My tomorrow will be better than today”, says Adunni. Words of hope for all of us.
This book definitely deserves to be read – as for me, my cynicism and I need a palate cleanser book, to lighten my mind.
“I am a lawyer by training and a full on book lover from as far back as I can remember. I live in Gurgaon, India with my husband and twin boys. Every year, I resolve to finish reading the books I have before buying new ones, and every single year my resolution fails”….Sapna Khajuria