Monday, December 7, 2015
Book Review: A Very FIne House by Barbara Cofer Stoefen
I've just finished reading a Very Fine House by Barbara Cofer Stoefen, reliving the years I spent in such a house with my daughter. If you've loved and anguished over a beloved child's struggle with abuse and addiction, you've lived in such a house. This house was built with love, then rocked to its foundation and shaken so mightily it's a wonder a foundation was left on which to rebuild. This is Stoefen's gift to readers, the reality that what seems lost can be recovered. Stoefen enjoyed an unusually close relationship with her daughter Annie, who shared everything with her mother until the day she stopped sharing. The signs were subtle at first, small emotional and psychological issues that gradually transformed a beautiful child into an insecure and uncertain young woman. While many of us saw this happen to our own children at a much younger age, Annie's descent into full-blown meth addiction until she'd reached college age. Like most of us, we struggled mightily to rescue our children from the darkness we saw engulfing them -- desperate fight we are bound to lose if we think it is up to us to save them. Beaten down by the rapid disintegration of her daughter's life, Stoefen was forced to let go until Annie turned to her for help. While I'm filled with admiration for Stoefen's wonderful narrative, for the expensive treatment program she managed to obtain for Annie in lieu of jail time, and for her supportive love of Annie as she fought to pull her life back together, it's Annie who made it happen. This young woman's struggle to emerge ached through my heart and fills me with joy.