Aiwanose Odafen

Books Cathryn Summerhayes, +44 (0)207 393 4281 Email Cathryn Summerhayes

Tomorrow I Become a Woman

book | Fiction | 2022
UK & Comm excluding Canada → Scribner (Ed. Kaiya Shang)

Mama always said I was punishment for her mixing ancestral worship with her Christian faith. She’d sought the counsel of native medicine men, worn amulets, and prayed to Ala and other deities to give her a daughter, even though she’d been an active member of her church. Her father still had a shrine in his compound although he had sent all his children to the missionary school in their village. And so in anger, the gods had connived and sent her a daughter identical to her in looks but nothing like what she wanted.

When Gozie and Obianuju meet in August 1978, it is nothing short of fate. He is the perfect man: charismatic, handsome, Christian, and—most importantly—Igbo. He reminds her of her beloved Uncle Ikenna, her mother’s brother who disappeared fighting in the Civil War that devastated Nigeria less than a decade before. It is why, when Gozie asks her to marry him within months of meeting, she says yes, despite her lingering and uncertain feelings for Akin — a man her mother would never accept, as his tribe fought on the other side of the war. Akin makes Uju feel heard, understood, intelligent; Gozie makes her heart flutter.

For Uju, the daughter her mother never wanted, marriage would mean the attainment of that long elusive state of womanhood, and something else she has desired all her life — her mother’s approval. All will be well; he’s the perfect match, the country will soon be democratic again and the economy is growing, or so she thinks.

Loosely based on the real stories of real women known to the author, Tomorrow I Become A Woman follows the complex relationship between mother and daughter as they grapple to come to terms with tremendous loss, a woman’s struggle to meet societal and cultural expectations within the confines of a difficult marriage, female friendship, and a love story that spans two decades and two continents in the midst of political turmoil and a fast changing world.

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Cathryn Summerhayes
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Katie McGowan
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