A Very Fine House is an intimate memoir of a Christian mother's Norman Rockwell family turned upside down by her daughter's descent into meth addiction and crime. Bright and beautiful, Annie is an unlikely candidate for meth. Living fast and hard on the streets of Bend, Oregon, she commits crimes against herself, the community, and her own family. This is also the story of a mother's revelation and journey where both love and faith are tested—and ultimately redefined.
The author chronicles her child's addiction in a way that other writers have not. What begins as an obsession to save her daughter, and a rage against God for allowing drugs to devour her college-age girl, transforms into release and submission to God's will. Barbara Cofer Stoefen tells not only the story of what happened, but she also weaves throughout the pages the many God-given gifts that are presented on her journey—the insights, epiphanies, lessons, and truths that show her the way to health and restoration.
The book is organized into three parts. Part I introduces the reader to the Stoefen family and Barbara's dream for its idyllic future. Kinks in the perfect life appear. When Annie's alcoholism, drugs, and criminality ensue, Barbara fights to save her. The first section ends with a snapshot of Barbara's all-consuming grief and the devastating loss of not just her daughter, but her dream for her own life as well. In Part II, Barbara turns inward. She finds support and a new way of thinking. She surrenders to God. While Barbara continues the battle to save her daughter, she ultimately finds the courage to save herself. Part III deals with Annie's recovery—and Barbara's. Both experience a spiritual awakening and are transformed. Annie's treatment and recovery teach Barbara much about love and forgiveness, and acceptance over judgment. Her eyes and her heart are opened to a greater humanity. A new and better dream for her life is born.
A Very Fine House is ultimately a celebration. Readers will find hope and inspiration for their own journeys. But the practical advice in this book doesn't lead to the kind of conclusions that are simplistic or idealistic. A Norman Rockwell picture of life gives way to something more substantial and real. While hard truths are faced, freedom is ultimately won.
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