Book Review of The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

371 pages

Published: 2/4/2020 by Dutton Books

ISBN: 9781524746025

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams.

Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself – and help other girls like her do the same.

Her spirited determination to find joy and hope in even the most difficult circumstances imaginable will “break your heart and then put it back together again” (Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show) even as Adunni shows us how one courageous young girl can inspire us all to reach for our dreams…and maybe even change the world.



Triggers: Forced marriage at a very young age and everything that goes along with it (sex, pregnancy, etc.), sexism, death, grieving the loss of a loved one, physical abuse, and the mention of rape.

I’m really sad this wasn’t a five-star read. I went in with the highest of expectations, I promise. I know that everyone views a book differently, but I almost felt like I had to enjoy this. However, this book is still important. I recommend you read this because it is well-loved and I recognize that it’s a good book as far as purpose and content.

I’ll start with what I did enjoy: Adunni, the main character, and the writing. These two aspects of the novel kept me in the story (as much as I could be). Adunni is a strong narrator / protagonist, and there’s no doubt she’ll be a great influence to many women, even though she’s a teenage girl. She pushes through many, many obstacles that most will never be able to imagine. She’s incredible, and if you don’t want to read it for anything else, read it to experience Adunni’s determination.

The writing style was hard to get into. I almost couldn’t understand what the characters were saying, but it obviously makes sense considering it takes place in Nigeria. It’s about a teenage girl who has never been to school. She’s extremely smart, though. I was just so impressed with how well Daré executed the writing. I would read more from this author because of that.

The reason for the three-star rating was the plateau in plot and the bland side characters. I think I expected a different story than what the book offered. I shouldn’t blame the book for that, but regardless of what happened, the plot plateaued for pretty much half the book. I thought we would experience Adunni going through school, but we don’t. The ending sets up for that, which is great in its own way, but it didn’t work for me.

The characters had no personality. They were very dry and unmemorable. They just fit in molds for this kind of story, as bad as that sounds. I just didn’t think they added anything to the story. I never wanted to pick it up and read about how these boring characters made Adunni’s life hell. I just wanted to DNF so badly.

I understand why people love this. Please do not take offense to my overall opinion! I respect this book for the lessons it shares. I’m sure it’ll be great for the majority of people. Please go pick it up if you’re interested!


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Book Review of The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi – New All-Time Favorite!

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

248 pages

Published: 8/4/2020 by Riverhead Books

ISBN: 9780525541608

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

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“What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom. 

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.” 



Triggers: Cheating, mention of rape, sacrifice of an animal, homophobia, physical abuse, bullying, sexism, rioting, miscarriage, death.

When I started this book I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as everyone else. It took me a minute to really get into the story. However, that ending made tears fall from my eyes, so I knew it was either going to be four or five stars. Upon further thinking, it was definitely a five-star read! If you’re looking for black authors to read for Black History Month, this would be a fantastic place to start.

The amount of heartbreak that happens while reading this novel is extreme. The control and oppression that Vivek is shown makes me so upset. His family / community never give him a break. He could never truly be who he wanted to be. You only get glimpses into Vivek’s brain, understandably, but you’ll want more as the story progresses. It’s hard only seeing through the lens of his family. You mainly get Osita’s point of view, and you’ll understand why if / when you read it.

It’s mind blowing to me that men with longer hair are even seen in a different light. It’s just hair, but different cultures assign it different meanings. This one gives men with long hair a bad connotation, but I’m so proud of Vivek for standing up for himself. I’m also happy that his mother, Kavita, sticks up for him as well. She struggles to understand what’s going on with Vivek, but she tries to see where he’s coming from. She just wants her baby to be okay. Sadly, he’s taken from the Earth far too early.

He was hiding in everyone else’s house as if he didn’t have a home. We didn’t know anything about our own child’s life.

There are parts in here that involve the two cousins, Vivek and Osita, that made me uncomfortable. I just didn’t expect it to happen. It’s a very intimate relationship, but you have to understand that Osita is one of the few people who allow Vivek to be Vivek. Osita obviously wants to protect his cousin, but he knows he’ll end up doing what he wants to in the end. Emezi definitely explores this relationship and turns it up a notch.

Can we talk about Mary and Ekene? I hated them with every fiber of my being. After reading about what happened when Mary took Vivek to church, I could have thrown the book (my iPad) across the room. I wanted to rage through my town. I just wanted to give Vivek a big hug.

I’m so happy I gave this book a chance. It explores so many kinds of relationships (familial and romantic). There’s so much sadness and heartbreak, but there’s a light at the end of the very dark tunnel. Some characters even experience growth—Kavita mostly. I just want everyone to experience this book, but I know it’s probably extremely triggering for so many people. I just think it’s so important to read. I haven’t read anything quite like it. If you think you can handle all of the triggers, then I recommend you read it with an open mind and open heart.

Akwaeke Emezi (b. 1987) is an artist and writer based in liminal spaces. Their art practice is located in the metaphysics of Black spirit and uses video, performance, writing, and sculpture to create rituals processing their embodiment as a nonhuman entity/an ogbanje/a deity’s child. 


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