Adunni is a fourteen-year-old girl in rural Nigeria. Her mother’s death basically robs Adunni of her education and her independence, as her alcoholic father sees her brideprice as a way to pay the bills. Thus Adunni become the unwilling third wife of a man who is determined that she will bear him a son. Adunni’s only objective in life, however, is to finish her schooling so that she will have a “louding” voice and can enable other girls in her country to do the same. Her friendship with her husband’s second wife leads to a disastrous and tragic event that results in her becoming a housemaid in the capital city of Lagos. Adunni is basically a slave there, as the man who secured her employment now pockets her entire salary. Adding insult to injury, the woman of the house beats Adunni regularly, and the patriarch, such as he is, repeatedly tries to rape her. The mysterious disappearance of her predecessor makes Adunni wary and even more resolute in her goal of completing her education. Unaccustomed to having to observe class distinctions, Adunni’s speaks her mind and does so in English that is vivid and distinctive but not grammatically correct. At first I thought her odd language would make the book slow-going and annoying, but that was not the case. In fact, I soon found that her dialog had a sort of lyrical rhythm that seemed appropriate for her compassionate and spunky personality. Some chapters open with a surprising fact about Nigeria, and some of these facts seem paradoxical. For example, despite crushing poverty and political corruption, most of the people are unfailingly optimistic. I certainly cannot explain why that is, but it did seem that for most of Adunni’s fourteen years, she experiences a close sense of community with her family and the people in her village, until circumstances propel her into a sort of premature adulthood, dominated by worry and fear, but never completely obliterating her hope for the future.