The Girl with the Louding Voice

Hi Reader!

Happy Weekend to you, I hope you’re safe and well. This week has been pretty positive, with the government announcing the plan to get us out of lockdown for the final time (hurray), daffodils are in bloom, birds are chirping and the sun has been shining. It was even 17c one day. I mean, awesome.

This week I’ve been spending quite a bit of time getting the house ready for sale, with the UK slowly reopening I’m planning on getting my house up for sale shortly so that we can leave the inner city suburbs and live somewhere a little quieter. If lockdown has taught me anything, it’s that I no longer need to be near somewhere with cafes, boutiques, bars and restaurants on my doorstep. That is convenient and fun in the summer, but what we’ve come to appreciate is the importance of peace, quiet, nature and relaxing country walks. So right now our search is pretty focused on location location location!

I’ve also been reading (of course) and I realised that I have so many reviews to share with you! So below is one of my most recent book club picks which I felt drawn to share with you because of it’s bright happy colours which matches the bright happy week we’ve had!

THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE, BY ABI DARÉ

The Girl with the Louding Voice, by Abi Daré

“Inside every girl is a Louding Voice.

A voice to speak up for herself,

for the girls who came before her

and for all those that will follow.”

What a statement.

The story follows 14 year old Adunni, a girl with a heart of gold, bundles of wit, curiosity and and a yearn to learn. Whilst Adunni is expected to marry off and be grateful for it, she is determined to be educated, and to have a better outcome for her life than the societal expectations of those of a poor village girl.

Adunni is forced to become the third wife of a horrible older man by her father in order to supply money for her poor family, but Adunni is not about to settle for that. Oh no. As Adunni describes it, she will find her Louding Voice.

The story is written in the first person and I am so glad that it is. Adunni is an amazing character, her spirit lifts off the page. The whole story is written in dialect, which at first I was concerned I wouldn’t click with, thoughts of ‘am I reading this right in my head?’ occurred to me, but within a few pages I realised actually this was a brilliant way for the reader to instantly connect with Adunni. I became absorbed in it and really came to enjoy it. Adunni has no airs and graces, she talks about ‘shit and piss’ and her away of speaking and describing every day circumstances and objects had me laughing out loud. She describes other people using terms such as ‘thin woman’, ‘green eyes’ and ‘football head’. Here’s one of my favourite Adunni misunderstandings, when Adunni overhears some rich women talking about going to Harvey Nichols to purchase some red bottom Loubuitons:

“Honest, honest, these rich people have a sickness of the head. Because why anybody will wear red buttocks on their feets? Who own the red buttocks?”

The Girl with the Louding Voice, Abi Daré

In some ways, I fell in love with the fight, fearlessness and humour in Adunni so much, that it wouldn’t matter where the plot would have taken me, I would have enjoyed it regardless. She’s probably one of my most favourite characters in a book, and my only other favourite characters are all in the Harry Potter series.

But thankfully, the plot was just as strong as Adunni herself. She is is in dire circumstances, no circumstances for a young teenage girl to be involved in, yet she is so determined not to be just be another girl in her village and accept the silent life.

As we develop through the story, Adunni encounters so many disturbing scenarios that are alien to many of us but sadly so normal for so many girls in the world; being married off to old men, being expected to sleep with them, to bear their child whilst still one yourself, death of family members, modern day slavery, corruption and the physical and sexual abuse of maids.

This book gives those girls a voice. A Louding voice.

“‘Not his-story’ I say, ‘My own will be called her-story. Adunni story’.”

The Girl with the Louding Voice, Abi Daré

CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 5/5

This book is truly outstanding and it’s easy to forget that it’s a debut novel. It will live a long and happy life on my book shelf – I devoured it in 24 hours and would happily re-read.

Abi Daré has done a truly phenomenal job as an author. I have never visited Nigeria in my life, yet with snippets of facts at the start of certain chapters that were relevant to the following content, such as statistics on child marriages and gender inequality, with the descriptions Adunni shows us and the dialect that the author has used, I could see, smell, hear and feel everything. It was no chore to use my imagination as a reader.

The author’s choice and writing of characters were also incredible. For every horrid person Adunni encountered, there seemed to be a kind soul to help her on her journey, which did bring a peace and balance.

Although this is a difficult and graphic read, and I felt such sadness and emotion with such a young beautiful sunny girl going through such hardship, abuse and pain for simply being poor and a female, Adunni with her fierceness, sense of self and potential, her humour and her multiple misunderstandings of language made this potentially very heavy book, truly rather joyful to read.

Completely recommend to teenagers and adults of all ages. This is a serious book but it’s still suitable for lockdown reading.

Before I leave this review behind, I have to share with you one quote that truly had me giggling because although Adunni is in Nigeria, she could have been talking about citizens of my city in this snippet. Where I’m from in Hull, we have an accent that is rather unique. We are Yorkshire folk, but the accent here isn’t heard elsewhere. We flatten and elongate our vowels and drop our ‘h’, so we don’t say we’re from Hull, we say we’re from ‘Ull, where we woark by the rerrd and we draarv the kaa to werk.

Talking about the edges of hedges can be very confusing if you’re not a local.

“I am Kofi” he say, pointing one short finger to the writing on his cloth. “The chef’. The highly educated chef. If you are here to werk, follow me.”

Why is he talking as if his tongue have a problem? Saying ‘werk’ instead of ‘work?’

The girl with the Louding Voice, Abi Daré

Adunni would have a field day talking to me. She’d think my tongue had a very major problem indeed.

WASHED DOWN WITH:

My lovely friend Charlotte on Instagram @charlotte_may_runs kindly sent me a gift package of teas when I was having a rough week which was honestly so sweet and thoughtful! One of the teas she sent me was a Bird & Blend tea. I’d never tried Bird & Blend before, but Charlotte and I had discussed our favourite tea manufacturers and she’d mentioned how great theirs was.

So in true me style, I actually opened and drank this one without taking a picture, but I really wished I had afterwards so that I had something to show you. The one I drunk was ‘Carrot Cake’ Roobois tea and oh.my.word.

It was absolutely incredible, I literally was tasting all the beautiful flavours of carrot cake, without the calories! Since then I’ve gone online to see what other things I can find on their site. THERE IS A WHOLE TEA RANGE DEDICATED TO CAKE.

I also found that they do a tea subscription box. So I’m thinking once I move house, fill the new kitchen with tea? Yeah. I mean, that’s reasonable right? We can just support local eateries instead of doing a food shop, no? 😉 (No, no we cannot!) http://www.birdandblendtea.com

Well lovelies! Time for me to get on with cooking my tea. By that I mean dinner. We call our evening meal tea, and we also drink tea. Told you we’re confusing up here.

Whatever you’re doing or reading, enjoy. Will this one added to your TBR? Who is your favourite book character? Comments below!

Until the Next Chapter,

Emma, XO

Socials @papyrusandpeppermint

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