A hopeful coming-of-age, where a young Nigerian woman strives to finish her education and live the life she wants.
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Jenna Bush Hager
Co-host, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna
The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré is a book of hope and grace. The fictional story of a Nigerian girl named Adunni, who dreams of getting an education despite challenging circumstances, reflects the experience of many young women around the world. On the heels of my recent trip to Vietnam, where I had the opportunity to meet brave young women who are overcoming extraordinary odds just to stay in school, I couldn’t think of a more important novel for my book club to read this February.
We first meet Adunni living in a small Nigerian village shortly after the death of her mother. Without her supportive mom, Adunni is forced into a loveless marriage by her father in exchange for money. So she runs away — and from there, her misfortunes only multiply. Throughout the story, though Adunni continually faces one heartbreaking obstacle after another, she refuses to let her voice be silenced.
Daré, a debut novelist, draws readers in with Adunni’s fresh and unique voice. While reading, there were times when I felt like Adunni was whispering, singing and in parts, crying to me. This is truly a love story about one young girl whose resilience and grit drive her, until her voice is loud and clear. I hope you’ll read with me this month and join in the conversation on our Read with Jenna Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads pages.
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.
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