Book Review: All But Normal

All But Normal
Life on Victory Road, a Memoir
By Shawn Thornton with Joel Kilpatrick

Growing up, Shawn Thornton's life was anything but NORMAL - but then so was his mother.

After walking from a comma following a car crash, Beverly Thornton's once-gentle disposition had been replaced by violent mood swings, profanity laced tirades, and uncontrollable fits of rage. A moment of frustration might prompt her to hurl a knife at Shawn, his brother, Troy or their days, or to vehemently cuss them out, only to shower them with love and affection moments later as though nothing had happened. On several occasions, Bev even tried to jump out of the car on the highway while Shawn and his brother struggled to keep her inside.

Yet this same woman was also a devoted Bible reader, Sunday school teacher, and friend to the elderly, the poor, and the marginalized wherever she went. How the same woman could be a saint one minute and a nightmare the next was a constant  source of frustration for the family. Then one day a surprise discovery finally helps the Thornton family come to grips with Bev's mysterious condition and brings Shawn to a startling realization that changes the course of his life forever. A heart-warming coming of age story, All But Normal is a powerful reminder that sometimes the broken people in our lives are the ones who need fixing the least.

Shawn Thornton serves as senior pastor of Calvary Community Chirch in Westlake Village, California. He is also the Bible-teaching voice heard daily across America on the half-hour radio program All Things New. Shawn has the honor of serving on the board of directors of Awana Clubs International and on the board of directors of the Joni and Friends Foundation. He blogs regularly at Shawn and his wife Lesli have three young adult children - Jonathan, Katie, and Megan.

Joel Kilpatrick is an award-winning journalist and author who's work has been featured in Time magazine, the Washington Post, USA Today, CBS Radio, the Dallas Morning News, and many other newspapers and magazines. He lives in Southern California with his wife and children. 

I'll admit I'm not always the biggest fan of coming of age novels, but when I was offered All But Normal to review by the publisher, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did because it's a great book. This is an honest look into Thornton's life and can be inspiring to read, as his family is uplifted by their faith. 

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