An Acre of Fools by Aden James ~ #FridayReads @Acre_of_Fools #Contemporary #DrugAddiction @Audiobook

  • Author: Aden James
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Released: February 2017 by Elevate Publishing
  • Category: Contemporary, Drama, Saga

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.

An Acre of Fools is Aden James’ powerful and haunting portrayal of a father’s unwavering love and hope in the face of his daughter’s descent into drug addition – until it becomes too much to bear, causing him to renounce everything he thought he believed in. A character driven story which unfolds with much drama and unpredictability as the wedge between family members is driven ever deeper.

Peter Stewart had promised Mimi a house in the South, knowing how much she hated Chicago, the cold, the snow and the rain. The house they bought was just off the Okatie highway on the banks of the river and Mimi loved it on sight, regardless of its run down appearance. As the years passed and Peter fixed up the house during each week long vacation, their daughters arrived. Gracie first, then Austin. 

The next morning the rain had passed and so had Austin’s nausea. The second day after the chemo was the worst for stomach problems. Other problems came after that, but at least this part of the problem was gone for now. She would need to get one more round of chemo at the Savannah Children’s Hospital during their week in Okatie. It was a compromise Mimi made with Austin’s pediatricians who were dead set against this trip.

It’s been a while since a book moved me as much as this one did. It’s heartfelt, challenging and beautifully written, told in the third person from a number of viewpoints. In this way the characters’ thoughts and feelings are laid bare. They grow, develop and change in ways they could never have imagined. The motivating forces and workings of an addict’s mind, the struggles of those closest to the manipulation and deceit, who try to help and understand, are shown to great effect.

An accomplished voice actor, MacLeod Andrews brings the emotions, raw intensity and pain into his performance, emphasizing the narrative. It pulled me in from the start and it’s a story that will stay with me for some time to come.

The fluctuating emotions were felt deeply – from hope and joy to the depths of despair. I could understand Mimi and Gracie’s disappointment with, and withdrawal from Austin as she becomes ever more calculating, abusive and uncaring of the hurt and anguish she’s causing. They never stop loving her but their emotions are conflicted, unable to accept or comprehend the life she has chosen, they feel helpless, unable to bring her back. Austin doesn’t want and won’t accept practical help, only money.

The horrors and devastation of drug addiction are represented so realistically, and how that addiction impacts on, not only the users who sink to shameless depths, but those around them. It’s heartbreaking, as are the resulting tragedies. Austin’s behaviour and the differing effect it has on each member of the family, particularly Peter, is completely believable. Mimi, Peter and Grace crave normality.  Since Austin’s arrival their lives have been a constant battle in one way or another.

The atmosphere of the area is beautifully captured. The descriptions of the house, named River Soul, as it was and what it became, the boat trips and explorations of the river, the wildlife, the sunrises and sunsets – I was immersed in it all. A truly moving and intimate novel that explores the reality of difficult, overwhelming, emotive subjects and situations with authenticity and truth. Probing the depths of human nature, it’s about working through, and recovering from, the pain, tragedy and grief and coming out the other side.

Book links ~ Amazon UK || Amazon US

About Aden James

Aden James is a corporate executive and father-of-two living in the Low Country of South Carolina. He enjoys the outdoors with his wife, daughters and grandson and serves on the Board of three non-profit organizations. He supports several charitable organizations dedicated to serving childhood illness, addiction and human trafficking.

NB: On his website it states the author will donate 90% of the profits of the book to causes dealing with addiction, human trafficking and family restoration.

Website || Facebook || Twitter

19 thoughts on “An Acre of Fools by Aden James ~ #FridayReads @Acre_of_Fools #Contemporary #DrugAddiction @Audiobook

  1. This sounds terrific, and I almost headed to Amazon to get it, but was put off by the cancer element. Seriously don’t want to read about people dying of cancer. The rest of it, though…..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Aha – yes, I understood that more when I read the review more closely. It was the mention of it in the blurb that put me off – made me think it was going to be a turgid cancer-fight story.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. ….but I did go and look on Amazon. It’s over £6. No, then. Shame. I probably would have got it, otherwise, as everything else you say appeals, massively!

      Why do people price their books so high??!! Don’t they do any research???!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, I see what you mean, sorry! But the Kindle version is not selling at all – I looked at the rankings on both sites. Better to have 50 x 90% of £2 than 0 x 90% of £6. I don’t think many people will buy just because of where the money is going, sadly. I’ll stick it on the TBR, anyway!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. For the donation, alone, I hope it sells very well. And I can handle ‘difficult’ if it adds to the story which this sounds very much like it does. I’m putting it on my TBR list.

        Liked by 1 person

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