Hannah Bartlett is every woman who has ever tried to live up to the Proverbs 31 ideal. "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value" --- and that's just for starters. Today she also runs a taxi service for her son's soccer team, balances volunteer work with her duties at home, tries never to put her own needs ahead of anyone else's, cares for a new baby, and constantly fights self-doubt that tells her she's not doing enough. No matter how high her plate is piled, Hannah manages to smile and accommodate.
To relieve some of the pressure that builds up from her daily juggling and balancing acts, Hannah writes funny, candid emails to her family. This not only helps her stay connected but also satisfies a creative need in Hannah as well. Her sister, Sadie, enjoys them so much that she submits the letters to the Wileyville Guardian News where they are immediately published, much to the delight of women all over Wileyville. They are so well-received that the editor would like Hannah to write a regular column. A dream come true for any budding writer, right? Wrong. Hannah sees it as a betrayal by her sister, one who has revealed to the world the insecure woman behind the perfectionist image she has worked so hard to create.
There is plenty of meat in this little book, but there is also lots of love and humor. As the "Snack Mom" for the soccer team, Hannah is regularly tricked by the eight-year-olds into saying, "It's not your Mama's house," which, with her Kentucky accent, sounds like "It's nacho Mama's house." And when she writes to her family, that's what she puts in the subject line and it eventually becomes the title for her column. Hannah's meddling but loveable Aunt Phiz flies in to help her favorite niece and makes us wish we had one just like her. She and many other colorful characters round out the cast and help move the story along.
Hannah draws on her faith in God and the love of those around her to give her the courage to confront her fears and insecurities. Nacho Mama goes to Miami alone after her husband is forced to back out of their planned getaway trip. Alone with God, Hannah is finally able to come to terms with the issues stemming from her mother's abandonment of her at 3 weeks of age. Annie Jones aptly illustrates that all things do work together for good for those who love the Lord.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on July 1, 2005