Becoming Abigail by Chris Abani Akashic Books, April 2006 $11.95, ISBN 1-888-45194-7
Chris Abani follows up his 2004 award-winning novel GraceLand with this novella about a flustered teenage girl, Abigail, whose mother died giving birth to her. (GraceLand, which told the story of a teenage boy, Elvis, determined to make his way out of the slums of Lagos, Nigeria, by impersonating Elvis Presley, won the PEN/Hemingway Prize, the California Book Award (Silver Medal) and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction.)
Young Abigail is in a continuous state of grief and guilt over her mother's death and her father's subsequent depression. She also craves her own identity. ("The desire to be noticed for herself didn't go away though") She believes that if she can be her own person, her father will see her for who she is, his daughter, rather than as the person he would like her to be, his late wife, her deceased mother.