cover image SAHM I Am


Meredith Efken, . . Steeple Hill Caf, $12.95 (325pp) ISBN 978-0-373-78551-3

Can a novel consisting entirely of e-mails be enjoyable faith fiction? Efken's charming, light debut offers a resounding and surprising "yes." Several stay-at-home moms (the "SAHM" of the title) from across the country become friends and confidantes through an e-mail chat group. Rosalyn Ebberly is the self-righteous moderator (her prov31woman@ e-mail address is a tip-off) who, although exaggerated, will be recognizable to anyone who has ever regularly attended church. Some mothers rebel against her judgmental and self-glorifying e-mails by starting a subversive alternative e-mail loop, humorously dubbed "Green Eggs and Ham." The problems they chat about are familiar: the unfortunately named Dulcie Huckleberry is frustrated by her husband's long absences on business; Zelia Muzuwa is an artist whose creative home-schooling isn't going over well with her more structured husband; Phyllis Lorimer is a pastor's wife dealing with a demanding congregation. The flow between e-mails is surprisingly smooth, and the characters well developed through their correspondence. Efken keeps the mood light, although she's not afraid to tackle serious topics such as infertility, marital difficulties and chronic illness. Christian readers will savor this fresh entrée and likely want to start e-mail loops of their own. (Oct.)