I had seen SAHM I Am by Meredith Efken mentioned on several blogs and wanted to check it out, so when I saw it on our local Christian bookstore’s inventory sell-out table, I grabbed it right up (along with enough other books to keep me occupied for a long time!)
I think most people know this, but just in case, SAHM is an Internet acronym for “Stay at Home Mom.” This book is about a number of SAHMs who are are on an e-mail chat loop to encourage each other. Anyone who has been on such a subscriber list or forum or chat group will chuckle at some of the changes typical of those groups, such as a warning from a moderator about not posting short two-word responses that clutter up the exchange, followed by one message saying “I’m sorry” and another saying, “Me, too!”
The book is written in the style of these e-mail exchanges between members. When I started, I wasn’t sure the style would work without narration or chapter divisions, but once I got into it, it wasn’t a problem.
There are many women on the loop but the book concentrates on a handful: Rosalyn, the “perfect” over-achieving moderator; Dulcie, whose husband’s work takes him out of town the majority of the time; free-spirited artsy-mom Zelia; farmer’s wife who had been a teen mom Brenna, who is having trouble conceiving another child; pastor’s wife Phyllis whose past comes back to haunt her; and soccer mom Jocelyn who is concerned that her son’s aches and pains may be something serious.
The characters are well-drawn and the exchanges believable. I did think Rosalyn was a bit over-the-top, but it’s interesting to discern what drives her. There’s a sub group of some of these moms who I thought were a bit on the gossipy side when talking about Rosalyn. When asked why they stayed with the group if her attitude bothered them, Dulcie says, “Because when her perfect world comes crashing down she will need us to help her pick up the pieces.” That was a rebuke to me: often I tend to just stay away from people I don’t readily mesh with, but it’s better to realize they have their own problems and need support and encouragement, too.
The book is frank about the struggles and temptations and SAHMs with humor sprinkled throughout. I think it would be an encouragement to other SAHMs.
Another book I picked up from that clearance table was a sequel to this one, @ Home For the Holidays. I can’t decide if I want to read it now while the charcters are still fresh in my mind or save it for next December.