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The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

Contemporary fiction

The Girl with the Louding Voice

BOTY FINALIST

Each year thousands of members vote for our Book of the Year award—congrats to The Girl with the Louding Voice!

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Abi Daré, on your first book!

by Abi Daré

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Quick take

A hopeful coming-of-age, where a young Nigerian woman strives to finish her education and live the life she wants.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Feminist

    Feminist

  • Illustrated icon, Social_Issues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, International

    International

Synopsis

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.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Girl with the Louding Voice.

The Girl with the Louding Voice

Prologue

Chapter 1

This morning, Papa call me inside the parlor.

He was sitting inside the sofa with no cushion and looking me. Papa have this way of looking me one kind. As if he wants to be flogging me for no reason, as if I am carrying shit inside my cheeks and when I open mouth to talk, the whole place be smelling of it.

“Sah?” I say, kneeling down and putting my hand in my back. “You call me?”

“Come close,” Papa say.

I know he want to tell me something bad. I can see it inside his eyes; his eyesballs have the dull of a brown stone that been sitting inside hot sun for too long. He have the same eyes when he was telling me, three years ago, that I must stop my educations. That time, I was the most old of all in my class and all the childrens was always calling me “Aunty.” I tell you true, the day I stop school and the day my mama was dead is the worst day of my life.

When Papa ask me to move closer, I am not answering him because our parlor is the small of a Mazda car. Did he want me to move closer and be kneeling inside his mouth? So, I kneel in the same place and wait for him to be talking his mind.

Papa make a noise with his throat and lean on the wood back of the sofa with no cushion. The cushion have spoil because our last born, Kayus, he have done too many piss inside it. Since the boy was a baby, he been pissing as if it is a curse. The piss mess the cushion, so Mama make Kayus to be sleeping on it for pillow.

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Why I love it

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.

Member ratings (17,308)

  • Heather E.

    Albion , NY

    Brave. Hopeful. Strong. Tragic. Triumphant. This story gave me a front row seat to a ride through an existence I can’t imagine living, yet countless girls do every day. Beautifully written. 💔❤️‍🩹

  • Autumn G.

    Timonium, MD

    What a tear jerking novel! The way the story is told thru Adunni’s vernacular English makes the story so authentic and it really pushed the boundaries of understanding other people’s “normals”.

  • Michael Z.

    Teaneck, NJ

    I can’t even put into words how much I loved this book. It’s an absolutely beautiful. The writing, the characters… I loved everything about it. I laughed, I cried, I was mad. This book is everything!

  • Marie S.

    Anchorage, AK

    I found this book hard to read because so many awful things happened to Adunni. That being said, her story is compelling and worth taking the time with— just don’t start it if you’re having a bad day

  • Heidi L.

    Union, NH

    I loved this story. It's about a Nigerian girl named Adunni who is 14 yrs old who desires to get an education and become a teacher. She rises from poverty, abuse, to attain her goals and reach her goals

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Contemporary fiction
View all
The Last Love Note
Anita de Monte Laughs Last
Honey
The Leftover Woman
Interesting Facts about Space
Bye, Baby
Swan Song
The Connellys of County Down
Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life
Jackpot Summer
Adelaide
The Collected Regrets of Clover
Again and Again
Evil Eye
Black Cake
Maame
Romantic Comedy
Someone Else’s Shoes
Once There Were Wolves
We Are the Brennans
The Bad Muslim Discount
What Comes After
Olga Dies Dreaming
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel
Monster in the Middle
My Dark Vanessa
Nine Perfect Strangers
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes
Honey Girl
In Every Mirror She's Black
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?
Sankofa
The Unsinkable Greta James
The Love of My Life
The Five-Star Weekend
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
The Wishing Game
Behold the Dreamers
The Mothers
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
Little Fires Everywhere
The Music Shop
Queenie
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
The Reckless Oath We Made
Dear Edward
When We Were Vikings
The Girl with the Louding Voice
Anxious People
A Good Neighborhood
Big Summer
All Adults Here
Happy & You Know It
Friends and Strangers
The Comeback
True Story
The Last Story of Mina Lee
Troubles in Paradise
White Ivy
This Close to Okay
The Chicken Sisters
The Prophets
The Kindest Lie
In a Book Club Far Away
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Apples Never Fall
A Quiet Life
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The Most Likely Club
The Fortunes of Jaded Women
When We Were Bright and Beautiful
The Hotel Nantucket