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Norma Jean's Sun, Memoir by [Courtney, Kris]
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Norma Jean's Sun, Memoir Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Length: 292 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


Insights that will touch your core!

All of us have our challenges in life but I was in awe not only by his conquest but also the depths to which he sunk and survived.


 "Touching story, full of hope" - Publishers Weekly, PW Select: Fall 2011

From the Author

Sound travels far inside a home at night for every child who hears the whispers and tears through the upstairs banister. Just as this ripple in one family's history grew to a wave of fear, so did the stature of the individuals who had witnessed it. The future carries the scars from the harm done before. One hopes that the past will allow us to shape and control the next step, to avoid the dangers, the foolish errors and mistakes that echo the last generation, and the one before that. But instead, the path, though inviting with its colors of gold and silver and the sounds of laughter and joy, is also shrouded in mystery, obscured in grays. Never in our silent moments of illusion do we sense the dark parallel that lives beside us. Nor do we suspect the carrier.
(Excerpt, Chapter 1)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1136 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Kris Courtney; Editor's Edition edition (December 15, 2009)
  • Publication Date: December 15, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00272MARU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,885 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
NORMA JEAN'S SUN is a first novel in the form of a memoir for artist/writer Kris Courtney and as a first attempt the flaws of style and experience are to be expected: once on paper, in the public's hands, the compositional decisions can not be painted over as they can in the author/artist's paintings. The story is a bizarre one and had Courtney not elected to start from history and escort us to the present it would seem just another dysfunctional family epic.

But Courtney overcomes the bumps in the road of writing by providing the reader with an actual account of the development of a problem and how that problem has resolved. His family history includes incest that resulted in the bearing of a child with double the indemnity of passing on a flawed gene pool magnified in subsequent generations. And so Norma Jean gives birth to Kris, a child with multiple profound skeletal deformities and webbing of digits that required full body cast at birth (separating him from the succor of a mother's hands and causing a sense of shame to the father), a condition so severe that it took in excess of twenty surgeries in an attempt to correct the deformities. The story takes us through the family problems partially initiated by the presence of the 'burdensome' Kris, Kris' maturation and antisocial behavior, his attempt to escape his plight in alcoholism and drugs, his failed marriage and feared production of a child, to the eventual and gradual demise of those in his family who succumbed to cancer and the diseases of the aging brain. The story ends with the post-incarceration changes developed through AA that have led the author to a successful life as an artist.
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Format: Paperback
Kris Courtney's grandparents made a decision that would have terrible ramifications. As first cousins, their relationship was forbidden, but even though they were aware of the consequences of their actions, they chose to marry anyway.

Because of the choice they made, Courtney and his cousins were affected, though none as much as Kris himself. Birth defects too numerous to list here have plagued him his whole life, and surgery after surgery couldn't correct what nature had done to his body.

As a result of his physical deformities, Courtney had to develop a coping mechanism, and his choice turned out to be his undoing. In Norma Jean's Sun Kris Courtney details his struggles with his disabilities as well as his uncontrollable alcoholism and drug addiction.

Although it would be tempting for the author to blame those directly responsible for his misfortunes, Courtney shows refreshing forgiveness to those family members who had no idea what they would ultimately do to him. He is gracious in praising those who assisted him in his lowest times, acknowledging the sacrifices they made for him. And he also gives credit to his Higher Power, whom he calls God, in saving him from himself and his addictions.

Ultimately, Courtney is still dealing with his disabilities, but through God's grace, he has been sober and functioning for many years now. He thrives as an artist in Ohio, and he is attempting to give back to those organizations who are working on cures for the ailments his family has suffered from.

Norma Jean's Sun is no light reading. In fact, you'd probably hear a story like Courtney's if you walked into an open twelve-step meeting. But there's always hope, even for the most hopeless case, and Courtney proves that no matter how far down a man goes, he can still turn it around and have a good life.

Reviewer: Alice Berger
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author has a very interesting story to tell as he recounts his family life beginning with his grandparents and on through his own adult life. However, I think he focuses a bit too much outwardly. Based on the first maybe 50% of the book, it seems that the author is intrigued with his family history for one small reason: his grandparents were also cousins. It was/is taboo and caused some friction within the family and in their small town. The author spends a good deal of time detailing their love story, as if in an effort to convince the reader that they're not bad people - they were just in love and happened to be related. I don't think it was really necessary to justify it that much to an outside audience (because, let's face it, cousins marrying each other isn't really that big of a deal in this modern world). The need to justify that to the reader, I believe, has to do with the fact that some of the family members had health conditions (both minor and major) that they believed were "caused" by being part of an incestuous bloodline. There was a lot of resentment and guilt all around. It's really too bad that no one ever had a better understanding of genetics. The afflictions, at least as outlined in this book, are NOT "caused" by their lineage and I think any geneticist could have told them that.

Unfortunately, the family did not have that level of information which set the tone for a lot of secret resentments and hurt feelings even before the author is born. And when he is born, with significant malformations of his limbs, it seems to send the family into another shame spiral. He is, by all accounts, handled to the best of their abilities. He has numerous surgeries and corrective braces, etc.
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