Friday, January 13, 2006

SAHM I AM ~ reviewed

Meredith Efken
ISBN: 0-373-78551-8
Publisher: Steeple Hill

Reviewed by Vennessa Ng:

Are you a stay-at-home mum? Do you often feel lonely, discouraged, driven crazy?

Then pick up a copy of Meredith Efken’s debut novel and lose yourself in the lives of the women who belong to the SAHM I AM e-mail loop.

Scattered across America, these women share their joys and tears through e-mail, drawing support and encouragement from one another.

Through a sub-loop called Green Eggs and Ham, we learn of five women and their struggles. There’s Dulcie, whose husband who is constantly on out-of-town job assignments and a mother-in-law whose wedding is turning into a stage show. Artistic Zelia’s desire for her children to express themselves is threatened by her husband’s decision for them to attend school. Jocelyn is heartbroken when her son can’t seem to shake normal childhood pains. Brenna must come to grips with farm life and her husband’s desire for children. Completing the group is Phyllis, the pastor’s wife whose youthful mistakes resurface to threaten her family’s security.

Let’s not forget loop moderator Rosalyn and her sister, Veronica. Their insufferable relationship prompts many of Rosalyn’s weekly topics for the e-mail loop. Will Veronica's latest bid for attention destroy the last fragments of their relationship?

SAHM I AM is a laugh a minute. But don’t get too comfortable; just as you settle into the fun pace of the story, Meredith turns things around and touches sensitive subjects.

I found Meredith’s e-mail message format refreshing. It effectively pulled me into the lives of the characters, cutting away use of description and narrative. The clever dialogue gives the story a more intimate feel. The lack of chapter breaks also makes the book very hard to put down.

As a stay-at-home mom myself, I would recommend this book to any woman who chooses to remain home with her young children. The issues these women face ring true for any stay-at-home mom. Their stories will touch your heart to reveal the power of friendship via cyberspace, and this book may leave you longing for your own SAHM I AM e-mail loop.

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