Efken, Meredith

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Efken, Meredith

PERSONAL: Married; husband's name Jason; children: Jessamyn, Catrin. Education: Graduated from Vineyard Leadership Institute, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Home—Omaha, NE. Agent—The Steve Laube Agency, 5501 N. 7th Ave., Unit 502, Phoenix, AZ 85013. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer.

MEMBER:American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, Word Sowers Christian Writers.

WRITINGS:

SAHM I Am (novel), Steeple Hill, 2005.

WORK IN PROGRESS: At Home for the Holidays, a sequel to SAHM I Am.

SIDELIGHTS: Meredith Efken's first novel, SAHM I Am, attracted critical attention for its humorous portrayal of the life of a stay-at-home mother—SAHM—and the relationships she forms through e-mail with women like herself. The book "is a comedy about stay-at-home mothers from around the U.S.," Efken stated in an online interview with Anne McDonald for Dancing Word. "They all know each other through an email discussion loop. So the whole story is told in their emails to each other." Efken continued, "There is some fun material with them and their children, but the focus is more on their relationships with each other and their struggles as women trying to meet the demands of motherhood and still keeping their own sense of personhood."

SAHM I Am centers on Rosalyn, the leader of the e-mail group, who pretends her life is much more settled than is actually the case. A small, subversive subgroup has in fact formed within the e-mail loop to complain about Rosalyn's holier-than-thou attitude and to share their own personal imperfections with one another. But Rosalyn is not upset until her sister Veronica asks to join the discussion group. Veronica knows the true state of Rosalyn's life, and Rosalyn panics at the thought that her ruse might be revealed to her correspondents.

Critics celebrated both SAHM I Am's humor and its inventive approach to the subject of stay-at-home mothering. Although the book "is more a series of interactive vignettes rather than a prime plotted novel," according to Harriet Klausner on Reviewcentre.com, it is also a "fine look at [modern] motherhood." "Efken keeps the mood light," explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "although she's not afraid to tackle serious topics." "Written in the tradition of Erma Bombeck," Tamara Butler concluded in her Library Journal review, "this [is a] fine first novel."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, November 1, 2005, Tamara Butler, review of SAHM I Am, p. 58.

Publishers Weekly, September 12, 2005, review of SAHM I Am, p. 42.

ONLINE

Dancing Word, http://www.dancingword.net/ (January 18, 2006), Anne McDonald, interview with Meredith Efken.

Meredith Efken Home Page, http://www.meredithefken.com (January 18, 2006).

Review Centre, http://www.reviewcentre.com/ (January 18, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of SAHM I Am.