AN ACRE OF FOOLS
by Aden James
The Stewart family finds its heart and soul in a broken-down vacation home amid the Southern Atlantic lowlands. As they welcome their second daughter, Austin, into the world, they soon discover a rare cancer that will riddle her little body for more than a decade, the battle against which becomes a defining component of their family. As the years pass, Austin’s usual good temper gives way to weariness and frustration, and she begins showing signs of cynicism and contempt. Peter’s overprotection initially creates some resentment in the home, but when Austin turns to drug use in her late teens, it becomes a blinding force that drives a wedge between him and the less forgiving, perhaps more realistic, family members. He wants to see her as God sees her – as an imperfect person deserving of love, forgiveness and help – but she begins to see him as her malleable financier. Peter sees through her manipulation, but his hope for her recovery, both physical and spiritual, prevails.
The story turns when Austin’s brazen selfishness crosses its final line and strains the already thinning threads that tie her to her father’s steadfast heart. When Peter’s unbending faith and hope are infected by bitterness, his life is thrown upside down, and he is forced to choose between a daughter who wallows in a self-inflicted hell, and a family too broken to hope anymore.
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