Maria Jett, February 15, 2007
(view all comments by Maria Jett)
Infinite sensitivity and patience pervade this slim volume, giving the impression of an author pregnant with protagonist — nurturing, knowing, overflowing. Abani's apparent desire to shelter Abigail is surpassed only by the need to make her story known. Spare and powerful, this masterfully crafted novella takes only a few hours to read, but delivers a coming-of-age story like none you've encountered before.
Abigail's mother (also Abigail) dies in childbirth, leaving behind a hole that's far too large for a child to fill. Out of her circumstances, Abani crafts a stunning portrait of strength and innocence, using exploitation as a starting point for meditations on loss, memory, empathy, endurance and transcendence. Though Abigail is surrounded by evil, Abani ensures that the horrors remain secondary to her spiritual self, never allowing evil to take over the pages. The girl is a victim, yet the spirit of the collective "Abigail," and finally the strength the girl finds within herself as an adolescent, dominate the text and leave readers filled with an uncertain, yet undeniable belief in the power of the female being. (Originally published by World Pulse Media)