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