I listened to this as an audiobook but I’m still counting it as my 6th book of the 10BooksofSummerChallenge.
Mama say: “Your schooling is your voice, child.
It will be speaking for you even if you didn’t open your mouth to talk.
It will be speaking till the day God is calling you come.”
That day, I tell myself that even if I am not getting anything in this life,
I will go to school and become Teacher.
Because I don’t just want to be having any kind voice….
I want a louding voice.
14-year-old Adunni has a dream: to be educated. But her father needs her bride-price, so sells his daughter to an older man, who demands she give him the fine boy-children his first two wives have failed to produce.
When things go tragically wrong, Adunni flees to Lagos. It’s what she has always wanted, to leave Ikati and see the world, and though her heart is full of sorrow for her lost family and the shame she has left behind, still Adunni will not be quiet and do as she’s told.
Sold again as a housemaid to a successful businesswoman, she continues to question all she sees: why Big Madam, in her big house, has a cage of sadness round her soul; what happened to Rebecca, the girl who worked in her place before; and whether it is possible, when you are born into a life of no money and plenty suffering, to become a somebody of value.
Read by Adjoa Andoh
This book is written so beautifully. I haven’t listened to an audiobook for so long and this one was so perfect for me to get back into audiobooks.
The book starts and ends with a Nigerian song and Adjoa Andoh sings it so beautifully, it was really a lovely little surprise.
I absolutely loved the way it is written in Adunni’s voice and in the way she speaks. I think it gives the book a bit more authenticity. I really enjoy Adunni, she is smart and funny and earnest. I feel like I know her and felt all of her feelings with her. I wanted to take her and keep her safe.
What she has to go through, no one should ever have to experience it. She should be allowed to get an education instead of being married off to an old man. She is scared and upset that her father broke her mother’s dying promise. You can immediately tell how close Adunni and Khadija are, and when Adunni leaves you can tell that she misses Khadija.
She gets taken to Lagos and starts working as a housemaid to Big Mama and Bid Daddy (or Commander). This is difficult work because Big Mama has a huge house and Adunni spends 14-17 hours a day cleaning and massaging Big Mama’s head and feet.
Adunni’s saving grace comes in the form of Tia, Big Mamas young neighbour, and in secret Tia starts to teach Adunni better English. Kofi is also one of her saving graces. Kofi is Big Mama and Big Daddy’s chef, he is from Ghana and takes Adunni under his wing and warns her to be careful around both Big Mama and Big Daddy.
One of my favourite things in this book is the character development of Big Mama, it’s so interesting as you get to know her and why she is so mean. I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I wont say anything else except wow.
I loved that subtly Adunni’s English gets better throughout the book. All of the way through I just wanted to hug Adunni and tell her everything will be ok. There were some difficult parts to listen to in this book and I thought at one point I was going to be sick, but that made the ending all the more sweet.
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