All But Normal: Life on Victory Road

Growing up, Shawn Thornton's life was anything but normal--but then, so was his mother. Upon waking from a coma following a car crash, Beverly Thornton's once gentle, loving disposition inexplicably dissolved into violent mood swings, profanity-laced tirades, and almost animal-like fits of rage. Inside the Thornton house, floors and countertops were piled high with garbage because Bev couldn't move well enough to clean, and dinners were a Russian roulette of half-cooked meat, spoiled milk, and foods well past their expiration dates. A moment of frustration might prompt Bev to hurl a knife at the family, or to vehemently cuss them out, only to shower them with affection moments later as though nothing had happened. On several occasions, Bev even tried to jump out of the family car at highway speeds while Shawn struggled to keep her inside.

Yet this same woman was also a devoted Sunday school teacher and friend to the poor, elderly, and marginalized wherever she went. A saint one minute and a hellion the next, Bev alternately inspired and embarrassed Shawn for years, until one day, a shocking discovery about Bev's condition rocked the Thornton family and changed the course of Shawn's life forever. A heartwarming 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.

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