NC Literary Hall of Fame



Why Mama by Erika Hoffman

Library Partners Press
$15.00, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-61846-070-7
February, 2019
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

Why Mama emits a gothic Southern, nostalgic aura.

The story revolves around Fancy, a fifteen-year-old figuring out who killed her parents in 1974. Three narrators tell the mystery. One is Fancy, an upper -class teen who becomes orphaned on a summer day with gusting hurricane winds. Forced to live with her 19 -year- old sister Eve and sis’s lecherous husband in a duplex way off the wrong side of the tracks, Fancy begins her quest. The mission is clear: to discover the identity of her parents’ killers despite the sheriff’s ruling it was a murder/suicide and despite doubts expressed by many townsfolks regarding her sanity.

People, Fancy assumes, are allies betray her. Others, viewed as enemies, help. Another narrator is her sister Eve, whose judgment isn’t sound and who’s subject to panic attacks. Fancy’s best friend Judy is the most objective reporter of the murder and ensuing action.

During it all, Fancy follows leads provided by an albino doe whose soulful eyes remind her of her mother and make the teen question the idea of reincarnation. Because of her mother’s strong Christian faith, Fancy believes her mother could never have committed the crimes she’s accused of. Fancy has many questions she’d like to ask her deceased mama, but the main question is: “Why? Why did this happen to us?”

Erika Hoffman pens inspirational, nonfiction essays that have appeared in anthologies. Her stories can be found in 15 Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and her true tales are featured regularly in Sasee of Myrtle Beach. Hoffman’s advice on writing humor has appeared in The Writer, and her essays on the craft have been published in the online Funds for Writers magazine. She produces a monthly column on the subject of writing for The Writers’ Table section of the Page & Spine ezine. Additionally, Hoffman teaches a course for the Olli Institute at Duke University on composing the personal essay. Last spring at the Durham Rescue Mission, she helped the homeless, the addicted, and inmates on work release record their stories. Hoffman has also produced more than 300 published works. She lives in Chapel Hill.

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