A Very Fine House

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Author: Barbara Cofer Stoefen
ISBN: 9780310344414
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A Very Fine House: A Mother’s Story of Love, Faith and Crystal Meth is an intimate memoir of a mother’s all-American 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 her mother’s story of despairing loss and impossible choices. It is also the revelation of a journey where both love and faith are tested—and ultimately redefined.

Barbara Cofer Stoefen tells not only the story of what happened, but she also weaves throughout the pages the many gifts that are presented on her journey—the insights, epiphanies, lessons and truths that show her the way to health and restoration. Readers will find hope and inspiration for their own journeys, and glean practical advice for personal application.

A Very Fine House is ultimately a celebration—of a beloved daughter, an enduring family, and a loving God too big for the box many wish to put him in. A Norman Rockwell picture of life gives way to something more substantial and real. While hard truths are faced, freedom is ultimately won.

Zondervan/Harper Collins, 2014. 
Barbara is represented by Greg Johnson at WordServe Literary



Publisher’s Weekly review:

“Stoefen opens her memoir at the moment she learns that Annie, her troubled daughter, is addicted to methamphetamine. Annie was a bright, beautiful, happy child, and the family—“mom and dad, boy and girl, dog and cats, a bountiful table”—led a “Norman Rockwellesque existence” until Annie’s adolescence, when she struggled with depression. But Stoefen was totally unprepared for her daughter’s drug addiction. The author explores the nuances of her emotions with refreshing honesty, and records the chaos and destruction of dreams that go along with addiction. “I was furious with God,” she admits. Her despair, her anger at God, and the ways her faith did and did not help her will resonate with readers. She peppers the book with familiar 12-step slogans—“Let go and let God,” for example—but they are truly lived in her narrative. The book contains a list of resources to help other families, as well as detailed information about addiction. Meth addiction and alcoholism don’t prefer broken homes, it turns out. Today Annie is clean and sober, one day at a time. Agent: Alice Crider, WordServe Literary. (Sept.)


“Having read many memoirs about addiction, this is the possibly one of the finest. Ms. Stoefen beautifully writes her story of facing the stinging truth of a child’s addiction and, eventually, the sublime struggle to build a life in recovery. If I could, I’d put this book into the hands of every parent in need of hope.”

Debra Jay, Addiction Specialist and author of It Takes a Family: A Cooperative Approach to Lasting Sobriety (Hazelden, 2014), No More Letting Go (Hazelden, 2006), Love First (2000)


A Very Fine House truly captures the portrait of addiction. Barbara describes clearly, but movingly, the arc of the disease—how an otherwise affable, capable, lovable young person can become irrational and unrecognizable. I found it remarkable how closely her words fit what is known about the neuroscience of addiction. But what makes A Very Fine House so enjoyable and so important, is that Barbara doesn’t just describe how the brain shuts down and the dreadful behaviors that result. She describes something far more wondrous: how the brain comes back on, and how heartbreak and anger can turn into healing and joy. Hers is a voice that parents will not only recognize but need to hear so they too can begin the journey from common tragedy to shared triumph.”

Kevin McCauley, MDFounder, Institute for Addiction Study, and creator of the award-winning DVD, Pleasure Unwoven.


“Wow. A Very Fine House is a very fine book indeed—and long overdue in our marketplace. Stoefen’s heart-wrenching story about dealing with her daughter’s addiction will keep readers turning pages. Her hard-won wisdom will help parents of addicts feel less alone and more importantly, respond to their child’s addiction in ways that will save lives. Every person who loves an addict or parents teens should read this book.

Heather Kopp, author of Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk (Hachette/Jericho, 2013).


“Barbara Stoefen is a member of the club that none of us ever hoped to belong to, and I’m glad she turned her lessons into helping tools for the rest of us. As the mother of a recovering addict myself, I found myself relating strongly to Barbara Stoefen’s journey, but she also offered clear information on addiction that gave me new insights, as well as hope for the future. A mother’s prayers do make a difference.”

Terri Blackstock, author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle and Downfall


“Barbara Stoefen’s A Very Fine House is truly a gift: the story of a mother’s fierce love, a daughter’s descent into the darkness of addiction, and a life-changing journey of recovery. Barb’s book is a compelling read—written courageously and candidly, engaging the reader in every chapter with her unique and vulnerable style. I’m already recommending it to people I know.”

Cheri Fuller, speaker and author of Mother-Daughter Duet, When Mothers Pray, and others.