Sceptre | 5 March 2020 | 320 pgs
In a rural Nigerian village, there lives a 14-year-old girl named Adunni. Despite poor and being the oldest in school, Adunni remembers her late mother's words on the importance of having an education so that she can find her "louding voice" and be a teacher - a job she has always dreamed of. But life is tough and cruel and being the only girl in the family, her father decides that it's best for her to stop schooling and to marry off to an old man as his third wife.
As if being a third wife isn't bad enough, Adunni has to endure the abusive behaviours of the first wife as well as her demanding husband, Morufu. It is only through Khadija, the second wife, that Adunni manages to find some solace but Khadija's understanding and her limited assistance is not enough to ease Adunni's misery from the household until something bad had fallen onto Khadija, leading Adunni on the run.
Adunni thought she's found someone along the way who could help her in her dire situation, but it turns out that she's being secretly sold into a wealthy family as a domestic servant in Lagos. Once again, Adunni finds herself being bullied and abused by Big Madam and Big Daddy, the couple who's so preoccupied by their own issues (narcissism, greed, lust... you name it). As Adunni struggles to get by, she is also intrigued by the disappearance of her predecessor, Rebecca; and wonder why no one wants to mention about her. As Adunni tries to find out about Rebecca's disappearance, it is also at this time that she comes to know Tia Dada, a woman who would help her through the obstacles in her path as Adunni continues to find ways in pursuing her dreams. And this time around, she won't be silenced as she'll make sure her voice is loud and crystal clear.
This book wasn't an easy read. Through Adunni's narrative, the author depicts the harsh reality of life and how poverty, gender and class differences as well as superstitions in certain countries (in this case, Nigeria) often lead to discriminations and mistreatments. However, this story triumph over the despair of humanity and show the reader that that rugged course of path could be overcome through determination, courage and of course, having your (louding) voice heard!
As always, I want to thank Lark for all our fun buddy reading journeys and please check out Lark's blog for her review/Q&A of this book. Below are my answers to her questions:
1) Why do you think Big Madam, who started from nothing and had to work so hard for her own success, was so unsupportive of and mean to Adunni?
In short, Big Madam was simply a calculative woman and lacks of empathy towards her subordinates. Her narrow-mindedness as well as her relationship with her husband also play a part in her behaviorism, although this isn't an excuse for her unfair treatments towards Adunni.
2) And what does having a 'louding voice' mean to you?
To me, having a 'louding voice' means not afraid of being yourself and voicing your opinions despite knowing that judgemental minds are everywhere.
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