Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

Dad Said

Olestad, we can do i t all. . . .

Why do you make me do this?

Because it's beautiful when it all comes together.

I don't think it's ever beautiful.

One day.

Never.

We'll see, my father said. Vamanos.

From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. While his friends were riding bikes, playing ball, and going to birthday parties, young Norman was whisked away in pursuit of wild and demanding adventures. Yet it were these exhilarating tests of skill that prepared "Boy Wonder," as his father called him, to become a fearless champion—and ultimately saved his life.

Flying to a ski championship ceremony in February 1979, the chartered Cessna carrying Norman, his father, his father's girlfriend, and the pilot crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains and was suspended at 8,200 feet, engulfed in a blizzard. "Dad and I were a team, and he was Superman," Ollestad writes. But now Norman's father was dead, and the devastated eleven-year-old had to descend the treacherous, icy mountain alone.

Set amid the spontaneous, uninhibited surf culture of Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, this riveting memoir, written in crisp Hemingwayesque prose, recalls Ollestad's childhood and the magnetic man whose determination and love infuriated and inspired him—and also taught him to overcome the indomitable. As it illuminates the complicated bond between an extraordinary father and his son, Ollestad's powerful and unforgettable true story offers remarkable insight for us all.

Topics: Sports

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061886430
List price: $10.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Crazy For the Storm is a compelling memoir that reads just like a novel. The chapters alternate between his time on the mountain after the plane crash and his life leading up to that point. Norman Ollestad recounts his unusual upbringing and how he had to rely on his earlier experiences and lessons taught by his dad in order to survive on the mountain.

I was astounded by the activities that Norman's father made him participate in at such a young age. He was surfing and downhill skiing at a very young age, and it wasn't just that he was participating in these activities, but that his father pushed him to try things that were challenging to the point of being dangerous. In the first few pages of the book there is a photo of Norman strapped to the back of his dad while his dad was surfing - he was only one year old.

In one of my favorite sections, he recounts a road trip he took with his dad to Mexico. They have so many dangerous and exciting adventures on this trip that it made for great reading. (There were Federales with guns, a car chase and an idyllic time spent with some native Mexicans, just to give you a little preview.)

At times it was hard to put this book down. I was always wondering what was going to happen next. What crazy adventure was Norman's dad going to take them on next? Or what about his mom's boyfriend? Was he going to stay nice or start drinking again? And then of course there's the breathtaking story of how Norman got down the mountain.

I had read someone else's review of this book a while back and so I knew that there was a video on YouTube that showed footage from the news when Norman spoke to the media after he got off of the mountain. I made a point of not watching the video before I read the book because I didn't want to see any spoilers, but I can honestly say that I wish I would have watched it first because it really brings home just how young Norman was during the time period the book covers. I was shocked by how young and small he was because he had already had so many adventures and done so many crazy and dangerous things with his dad, and then survived the descent from the mountain. Because of his achievements and bravery on the mountain I had been picturing someone older in my head (even though his age was given in the book).

There were a lot of descriptions of surfing and skiing in the book that used the technical terminology of each sport. I did not understand many of them, but it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

If you like reading memoirs about survival situations then I'm sure you will love Crazy For the Storm.more
This book as been summarized well in other reviews. Although there was much that I admired about the story, including vivid descriptions and imagery, I mostly found it unpleasantly disturbing. I understand that he loved his father, and that his father taught him remarkable life skills. But his father was also hugely negligent and self-centered. Most of the problems for which his father prepared him were brought about by his father's own recklessness. I was also uncomfortable about his portrayal of his mother and his father's girlfriend. Did I really need to read descriptions of his mom having rough post-fight make-up sex?I know this is a book about fathers and sons (and father-figures), so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that his portrayal of his mother's troubled boyfriend is far more nuanced than anything he wrote about his mom. And while I was genuinely fascinated by his adventure with his own son, which was insightful and touching, I was put off that he made no mention of his son's mother. That is weird. It would have been far less weird if he had simply written, even parenthetically, that his son's mother has requested privacy, and that he is honoring that request. Or if that's not true, then just tell us whether she died, whether she abandoned them, or whether they have joint custody but she lives elsewhere. Instead, she simply doesn't exist, and that's a significant omission that bugs me.more
The author tells the true story of how he survived--as an 11 year old boy--a plane crash that left him stranded at the top of an ice covered mountain. To survive he had to make his way down an ice covered slope that threatened to send him tumbling down the treacherous chute at it's center. As he describes this remarkable feat, he explains how the lessons his father taught him were the real reason that he survived. In flashbacks he describes his childhood--a childhood filled with surfboards, skiing, the breakup of his parents, and an antagonistic new boyfriend of his mother's.I enjoyed the survival parts of this story...I kept listening to see just how he was going to make it off of that mountain. Some of the descriptions of his youth are pretty wild and pretty interesting as well, but some parts it drug a bit. Still, I would recommend it to anyone who likes true tales of survival.more
Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad is a autobiography. Norman lives with his mother and her abusive husband Nick. they live in the inland of California. Normans dad lives off the coast of California with his girlfriend Sandra. Normans dad is all about skiing. one trip with Norman and Sandra, the plane crashes into a mountian. "in less than 9 hours, 2 are dead." This book was really bad. the beginning was boring and i didnt want to read it at all. It had no action what so ever and was not very well written. its set up was weird. it would bounce back and forth to before and during the crash. I rate this a 1/2 a star.more
A well-paced father/son memoir, it contains engaging characters that defy the cliched categories of hero/villain that I find in childhood memoirs -- I'm no fan of annoyingly precocious kids waxing philosophical, but Ollestad is a very restrained writer with only a moment or two where I felt like the characters had some memoir-affectation that disrupted the "reality" of the story. Not that you have to believe every detail in any memoir, this one or others -- but usually I find memoirs to have a lot of those shifts from dead-on accurate storytelling that rings true (e.g. age-appropriate and believable like "Freaks and Geeks") to fanciful, ornate, and fairy-tale-false (e.g. 90210/Gossip Girl), and I prefer the former. Ollestad's book does a remarkable job of allowing us to believe, anyway, that his memoir is not discolored (too much) by the intervening years or the desire to manipulate what is supposed to be non-fiction.more
First-person survival story--pilot, father & father's girlfriend were killed in a plane crash. The author (at 11) was the only survivor. I liked the relationship between the father and son--the unconventional upbringing that probably contributed to his ability to reach civilization following the crash. I didn't like how the book jumped back and forth abruptly between past and present. I enjoy listening to an author read his own book as he can convey the drama in a way that only a person who was there can. Unfortunately, Norman Ollestad was a horrible reader with a monotone that was about enough to put you to sleep in a book that should keep you on your toes. Kudos for surviving, kudos for writing a book. Don't do any more narrations!more
This is a story of survival after a plane crash but more so a story of love and strength. It is the '70s, and "Little Norman" Ollestad is 11 years old and growing up on the ocean in California. His mom and dad are divorced, and he lives with his mom and her boyfriend Nick, but the story mostly revolves around the relationship between Little Norman and his dad, "Big Norman" Ollestad. Big Norman is a lawyer by day and a surfer/skier/all-around daredevil the rest of the time. He loves his sports and loves living on the edge and is trying to teach Little Norman the beauty of that way of life. At times, his "training" of Little Norm seems harsh, but in the end, it saves his life. This is an amazing book that I couldn't put down. Definitely one of the best memoirs I've ever read!more
Norman exposes his thoughts about his father and how they prepared him for the crash that he experienced. Through the alternating back story of his childhood right before the crash and the events of his survival, Norman makes you feel like you truly understand what he went through as a child and in the immediate aftermath of the crash. An engaging read that was difficult to put down.more
2 Words that describe the book: Survival memoir3 Settings where it took place or characters you met:1. Setting: late 1970s California and Mexico2. Norman Ollestad Jr.—The author had a unique upbringing in the uninhibited and freedom-loving surf culture of the 1970s. (He lived on Topanga Beach.) At age 1, his father strapped him to his back and took him surfing (see photo at right). This was the start of a childhood filled with extreme sports. Norman was continually pushed by his father to surf, play hockey and ski at levels that were both frightening and somewhat dangerous. Yet this background gave Norman a unique mindframe and skills that ended up helping him to survive a plane crash that killed his father, his father's girlfriend and the plane's pilot. Norman was only 11 at the time of the crash.3. Norman Ollestad Sr.—A fearless man with a taste for adventure, Norman Ollestad was many things: a former FBI agent who wrote a book exposing the weaknesses of the agency, a successful lawyer, and a devoted father who wanted to make sure his son (who he affectionately called "Boy Wonder") experienced the exhilaration and beauty of living life fully by pursuing extreme sports like powder skiing and surfing.4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:1 . I liked the trip to Mexico that father and son take shortly before the plane crash. In many ways, it acts as a "coming of age" journey for young Norman. This extended sequence is (in some ways) more the heart of the book than the actual plane crash.2. I disliked how Ollestad structured the book. The chapters alternate between his childhood and his struggle for survival on the mountain after the plane crash. This technique for telling the story didn't work for me. I felt like I kept losing the "momentum" of the survival aspect of the story. The book might have worked better if it had been told in chronological order.3. I disliked that I never got a real grip on the survival story. I'm not sure if it was Ollestad's writing or my unfamiliarity with some of the terms he used, but I never felt that sense of "I'm right there" you get with some survival stories (such as Jon Krakauer's excellent Into Thin Air.)4. I liked the ending where Ollestad writes about his grown-up assessment of his father and his own struggle to find the right amount to push his own son. In many ways, Norman might not have survived if his father hadn't raised him the way he did. But in other ways, it seems almost negligent or cruel the pressure his father put on him and the situations he was forced to experience. 5 Stars or less for your rating?I'm giving the book 3 stars. I really wanted to like it more than I did. I'm a big fan of real-life survival stories, but this one just didn't do it for me. I think much of it was due to the writing. Although he has a gripping story to tell, I think Ollestad might have benefited from having a co-writer that could have helped him tell his story better. Surprisingly enough, the most interesting part of the book for me was the father-son relationship and the unique way Ollestad was raised.more
A son's experience of his own father’s unconventional approach to parenting, and how it led to the boy’s ability to survive in a situation his father had not planned—the crash of their chartered Cessna into a mountainside. Ollestad recounts between his travels with his surfer father, his life with his mother and her abusive boyfriend, and his fight for life as the lone survivor of the plane crash. It is a story of both a father’s successes and his failures, and is as much about surviving the actions of child-like adults as about the dangerous descent down the ice-covered mountain. At times remarkable, at times heart-wrenching, Crazy for the Storm is a father, son read—a tale that proves the power of the human spirit can rise against any challenge. i reviewed it in Bookreporter as a arc reviewer, but I have mixed feelings to this book, being a mother it was a very sad read.more
Men have it rough in our world, and boys have it even rougher. Norman Ollestad tells the story of the tough time he had growing up with a demanding father and a demanding stepfather. The trials he suffered as a boy served him well when he had to find a way to survive after a plane crash. I liked this book but I think men would find it even more captivating. It seems to be a rare book these days, a coming-of-age memoir of a boy.more
In February 1979, a small chartered plane carrying the author, then 11 years old, his father, his father's girlfriend, and the hired pilot crashed into the side of a Southern California mountain. This memoir is the remarkable story told some 30 years later. Little Norm grew up surfing, skiing, skateboarding, and was pushed and challenged beyond any normal expectations by his dad, who claimed that competing wasn't about winning, not always with complete conviction. Big Norm was an attorney, had been a child actor and an FBI agent who wrote a book exposing some of the FBI's dirty little secrets. Among other things, his dad took Little Norm on a needlessly dangerous trip to Mexico, always confident that things would work out. Ultimately, the tough training saved the author's life. I am not a surfer, skier, or skateboarder, so some of the sports terms were foreign to me and the descriptions seemed overly detailed. For me, some of the language was a little too...flowery isn't the right word, but something close to that. Chapters about the author's early life are interspersed with chapters about the flight and the hours after the crash, and the book included a section of photographs that really added to the story. Crazy for the Storm was a sad, interesting, worthwhile read.more
When he was 11 years old, Norman Ollestad had become a true California jock-- he was a fantastic surfer, he'd shredded his skin skateboarding, had just won a state skiing championship, and was gearing up for a hockey team tournament. In between the ski championship and hockey practice, his father chartered a plane to get them from one place to the next-- but the plane crashed in the clouds of a California mountain. The pilot and Ollestad's father were killed, his dad's girlfriend survived just a short time longer. The memoir tells the story of not only the crash but the childhood pressures and adventures he faced, all of which led up to the crash. Ollested's father was driven to make his son the best, and adults (Ollestad is now nearing his mid-40s now) and teens alike will likely be surprised at the things the elder Ollested forced upon his son. The story is well written, alternating between flashbacks of his younger childhood and surviving the crash, and will appeal to anyone with interest in outdoor survival stories. The high school at which I am currently a librarian has Into the Wild in the curriculum, and this is certainly a book I'll recommend for anyone who liked that story. It certainly has appeal to high school and middle school students, although some more conservative individuals might balk at some of the drug references.more
Little Norman Ollestad was raised on the beach in California, where his attorney dad spent every free minute surfing. Of course, Dad wants Norman learn to surf, too--and to ski! He doesn't seem to care that Norman is a timid little kid, who really doesn't want to be pushed into these activities. But push, he does.Perhaps it's a good thing, because when Norman is eleven, he is a passenger in a small plane that crashes into a California mountain. The skills he has learned from the grueling training his dad has put him through help keep him alive as he scales down the steep ice and snow covered incline during a huge storm. Amazingly he walks out, although hope had died that there were any survivors on the plane.The story is told in alternating chapters of Norman's life with his dad, and his perilous trek down the mountain. At first this felt awkward, but as we drew closer to the end, it seemed to work better, and the reader can understand why the author (little Norman himself) chose to tell his story in this manner.more
An incredible story of survival. I enjoyed the converging story lines that alternated chapters. The ending is particularly poignant as the author struggles to push his own son into that place where he will struggle but, if he can get through it, will fill empowered and confident. By relating his own story, Ollestad shows the reader how pushing beyond "effortless fun" pays off.more
Amazing story of survival and the bond between father and son. A little too much technical wording when describing the mountains and surfing.more
This book was really interesting; I read it all in one sitting. At first the chapters switching between the plane crash and the author's childhood leading up to that point annoyed me because I wanted to know the survival story right away. I began to also get sucked into the background story though and in the end, I found the alternating format very instrumental to the overall memoir. It's an amazing thing that the author survived such an ordeal at the age of eleven but he at least had the knowledge of all the previous dangerous experiences that his father had pushed him into at an even earlier age.more
The book was compelling and well-written; you wanted to find out what happened to young Norman in the end. However, the book is not for persons easily offended by language and sexual innuendo. Beach culture is not a pretty thing. Still Norman managed to craft a life for himself that appreciated his father's rather cavalier approach towards introducing his son to danger. And, his adult self could see both the good and the bad in his mother's boyfriend's interactions with him.more
Very good. Couldn't stop reading, professionally written in way that it becomes an easy page turner.It's very easy to relate to the themes of the book when you're a man, son and father.more
Norman Ollestad's Crazy for the Storm is a memoir of the horrific plane crash he survived and the upbringing that taught him the skills that made it possible for him to survive. The chapters alternate between his ordeal on the mountain and his relationship with a demanding, driven, and loving father. To me, the most remarkable thing about this story is how young Norman was when all of this happened. He was just 11 when he had to make his way away from the plane crash, down a mountain in a blizzard while also taking responsibility for the life of his father's girlfriend. Unfortunately the perspective of an 11 year old doesn't really come through and its easy to forget he is so young. It's very likely that Norman matured very early due to his harsh upbringing and at 11 he was more sophisticated then most kids his age. Still, the author writes with a little more detachment then I would like.I listened to this book on audio and it is narrated by the author himself. As with many authors this is a mistake. He is not an actor and his voice has little inflection or emotional for such a thrilling story. The plot will hold your interest but ultimately the book's flatness is disappointing.more
This book was a super quick read, well written and it is easy to feel you are there watching it all unfold. While Norman is very descriptive as someone who has never surfed nor skied sometimes it is a little over kill. The book tells two stories at once. One chapter tells about the plane crash that took Norman's father and his girlfriends life including the story of Norman's struggle to save his own life. The next chapter then tells the story of Norman's past with his father and all their adventures. It continues in this format throughout the book. As I said, a very quick and simple read, but well written and entertaining as well.more
In February 1979, a small chartered plane, carrying an eleven year old boy (the author), his father, the father's girlfriend and the pilot, crashed into a mountain in northern California. Only the boy and the badly injured girlfriend were alive. Young Norman decides to head down the face of the mountain,all 8,600 feet,to look for help and to avoid freezing to death on the treacherous, blizzard-choked mountain. This is a quite amazing story. The back story of the history and relationship of the boy and his father is equally as fascinating. Highly recommended!more
"Crazy for the Storm" is a remarkable story about a boy, his father, their relationship, and a truly miraculous journey of survival made by the boy. The author intermingles chapters that demonstrate what kind of physical and mental toughness young Norman achieves through experiences with his father with chapters that recount the crash and Norman's descent to safety. Slalom skiing in rugged conditions, surfing enormous and dangerous waves, taking a crazy journey through Mexico with a washing machine and being chased by Federales... Norman's father prepares him for life and unwittingly prepares him to save his own life after the boy lives through a plane crash thousands of feet up a mountain. This is a wonderful book and a thrilling story.more
Growing Up With Divorced ParentsThe teaser of Ollestad's new memoir "Crazy For the Storm" is sure to pull you in, a story about surviving a plane crash in the snowy California mountains. I won't spoil the plot, but the survival story is really not that remarkable. But deep down, the book is fundamentally about growing up with divorced parents and a physical and psychological abusive stepfather. The death of his father in the plane crash was the traumatic event that serves as the frame narrative, with flashbacks to his childhood and the relationships with his father, father's girlfriend, mother, and stepfather.I honestly didn't feel that there was anything exceptional or unusual with Ollestad's upbringing. That is not to say that his story is boring, far from it. His story is the story of millions of children all over North America, dealing with the social consequences of split families, of domestic abuse, but also of unconditional love. Overall, I recommend this book because it is extremely relatable. Most of it is predictable, yet Ollestad's appeal to the human condition keeps you engaged throughout.more
This book has been getting scads of publicity and lots of raves recently. I read it before all the reviews came out and I'm still baffled by the over the top plaudits it has received because I thought it was a decent read but not an overwhelming wow. Is it thrilling? Yes. Will it keep you reading? Probably. But there was something missing in it for me. The story of little Norman Ollestad's amazing survival after a plane crash that ultimately killed everyone else on board, including Norman's father, and left him stranded on a mountain during a terribly snow storm, this is also the story of the early years of Norman's life as his father pushed him to become a surfer and a skier who pushed the envelope. The memoir alternates chapters between the life he shared with his mother, her boyfriend, and his father and the hours, moments leading up to and after the crash as he fights for survival. As Norman has drawn his childhood (the crash happened when he was only 11), I felt only anger and annoyance towards his parents. His mother seemed to put her abusive boyfriend ahead of her son and his father was more interested in creating a "boy wonder" who excelled at his father's chosen sports than about the emotional well-being of a young child. Ollestad's love for these flawed parents is there in the book but what really stood out for me was that he spent a lot of time unhappy or terrified or neglected when with either of his parents. Of course, ultimately, his father's child-rearing method (push said child hard and relentlessly until the child attempts whatever simply to avoid being called a coward) helped Norman muster up the strength to make it down the mountain to safety, knowing his father and the pilot were dead and after seeing his father's girlfriend slide to her death too. So perhaps I am being too harsh in judging the scenes Ollestad has chosen to write about here. But I do know that I would have been pretty darn resentful of my parents for their treatment of me had the book been mine, rather than his.As far as the story itself goes, it is pretty thrilling, edge of your pants. The alternating chapters are written differently, evoking either the feeling of a descriptive and haphazard childhood or the short, stacato adreneline bursts of the crash and its aftermath. And sending the reader from one extreme of writing to another just with the turn of the page helped to amp up the thrill factor. It is a story that no one should have had to live but Ollestad's writing has captured some of the dislocation and terror that he must have felt coming down that mountain. And I appreciated the final chapter, detailing his return to the crash site and his own handling of his young son with fair reflections on his father's parenting of him. I felt there was something destructive, intense and controlling in the daredevil father he's captured in these pages, something that made his death at a relatively young age inevitable. But not liking many (all?) of the people who made up his early life, I had a hard time caring too much about their terrible fates, a failing that is even more callous given that these are not characters but real people. I don't know whether the fault for this lack of connection is in the writing or in me personally. Did I read on avidly, despite knowing the outcome of the crash before even opening the first page (it's given away on the cover)? Yes. Did I feel gutted and drained when I finished reading it? No, I just felt detached and relieved to be finished. Adventure junkies will likely thrive on the adreneline rush this book provides while the more sedentary (or cowardly like me) might find themselves dismayed by the interpersonal relationships as presented here and wish for a bit more than the book delivered.more
There is a line near the beginning of “Crazy for the Storm” that I think is very telling about the whole book.“He had taught me to ride big waves, had pulled me from tree wells and fished me out of suffocating powder. Now it was my turn to save him.”The author, Norman Ollestad, says this about his father (also Norman Ollestad), after the plane crash that took his father’s life and stranded him on a mountain, alone. The reason I find it telling, is that as I read through the book, I found far more places where the son is saving the father, or at least living the life the father had wanted for himself. Norman’s father exposed him to so many dangerous situations (many that these days he’d probably get arrested for, per the author) but by doing so, also gave him the tools and the inner strength to survive.“We stared at each other. I saw him so clearly. The cranium shelf rising off his forehead bumpy and uneven, the cluster of diamonds in the blue of his eyes fragile cracked windows, and I saw someone younger and full of grand ambitions and I thought about how he had wanted to be a professional basketball player. He looked at me as if into a mirror, studying me, like I was holding something that he admired, even desired.”The author does a good job balancing the voice of his younger self, often angry at his father for making him live a different life, making him ski and surf and take risks that he didn’t want to…with the admiration he now feels for his father. Though Ollestad is making different choices now with his own son, Noah, the lessons taught to him as a child have taken deep root.His father’s voice is always in the background…not only in the decisions he makes regarding his own son, but all throughout the book.“All I care about is that you keep going, Boy Wonder. Don’t get stuck on how you finished last time or the turn you just made. Go after the next one with all you’ve got.”Moments like that were the strongest part of this book. Though I thought I’d be more drawn to the crash itself and the miracle that an 11-year old boy was the only survivor and managed to get down a mountain in the winter by himself…it was the father/son relationships that were more powerful. The crash details (and some of the descriptions of surfing and skiing) that got too technical for me since I am unfamiliar with those worlds.The writing was at times very choppy…short, staccato sentences that broke up the flow of other, very lyrical passages.Agree or disagree with a father making his son take incredible risks, living a different life than the son wanted to at the time, in the end the author lets go of the right or wrong of his life. He maintains his love for his father, appreciates the gifts that came from the way he was raised, and has a wealth of experience, good and bad, with which to guide his own son. In the end, he has the memory of his father and the reality of his son.“I guessed that at some point during his run, Noah had broken through the storm and locked into the bliss of his victory, the bliss of his connection to the ineffable – that sacred place unveiled to me, and now to my son, by the man with the sunshine in his eyes. There are few joys in life that can compare to that.”more
I'm also going to reprint the small paragraph on the cover. It grabbed me and I'm sure it will do the same to you."On February 19, 1979, I was in a plane crash with my father, his girlfriend Sandra and the pilot of our chartered Cessna. Sandra was 30 years old. My dad was 43. I was 11. Just after sunrise, we slammed into a rugged 8,600-foot mountain engulfed in a blizzard. by the end of our nine-hour ordeal I was the only survivor."Hooked? This is a stunning, yet heartbreaking memoir. Knowing the outcome of Crazy for the Storm in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the book. Norman Ollestad had an unusual childhood. He literally grew up on the beaches of Topanga Beach in California, part of a surfing community. He also excelled at competitive skiing and most other areas he attempted. Behind him, encouraging him, driving him was his father, also named Norman Ollestad. The senior Ollestad was a child actor, appearing in the original "Cheaper by the Dozen" movie. He was an FBI agent, under Herbert Hoover, but quit after a year and exposed the dirty secrets of that administration in a book called Inside the FBI. He was also a successful lawyer. Ollestad himself describes his father as 'larger than life'. But he was what most people would see as a risk taker, living in and for the moment. He pushes his son to do the same. This new release from Harper Collins Canada is told in alternating chapters. It opens with the horrendous crash and the realization of their plight. It then abruptly switches to the author's childhood. At first I found this disconcerting as I was caught up in one story or the other. But I quickly realized that this dual story telling leads us the climax, where both stories collide on the top of a mountain. The author had what would be seen by many as an idyllic childhood. But after his parents divorced, his mother's boyfriend moved in. This man was physically and mentally abusive to both Norman and his mother, but his mother chose Nick many times over her son. Luckily young Norman has a surrogate mother in a family friend - Eleanor. Author Norman has a difficult relationship with his father at times. He laments that he wants to be a 'normal' kid sometimes, hanging out in a neighbourhood with friends. His father instead encourages him to excel and that step beyond in surfing and skiing. It is on the way to a ski competition that the plane crashes. Some of the childhood tales are incredible. On the way to Mexico to deliver a washing machine to his grandparents, they are chased and shot at by federales. They end up living in a remote village with locals for a bit before rescuing the vehicle and continuing. To me, this memoir seemed to be a way of honouring and making peace with his father and the loss of him after many years. It is a personal journey that we are privileged enough to share. As an adult and parent Ollestad physically revisits his childhood home, the crash site and the people involved. He realizes that without his father pushing him all those years, he never would have survived the crash. And he can see what his father wanted him to see. "Off the point at Topanga Beach I stared into the eye of a distant wave. Somewhere in the oval opening I grasped what Dad had always tried to make me see. There is more to life than just surviving it. Inside each turbulence there is a calm - a sliver of light buried in the darkness." There are colour photographs included with the book - arresting images of his father and candid shots of the family. This is a memoir of survival - not just a plane crash, but of his life. A totally arresting read.more
I requested a review copy of Norman Ollestad’s Crazy for the Storm because I imagined it would be similar to Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, which I had read and enjoyed several years ago. Although the cover of Ollestad’s book advertises that it is a memoir of survival, it was fairly different from what I had expected. The chapters alternate between eleven-year-old Norman’s ordeal as the sole survivor of a small plane crash on a treacherous, icy mountain slope with the events in his life that lead up to the day of the crash. The chapters dealing with the crash are much shorter than the others, and I was glad of it. Although I found myself rooting for young Norman, I was not really caught up in his adventure. I just could not visualize what was happening. (This was also true of sections of the book that detailed his surfing experiences.) Maybe it is because I neither ski nor surf and I don’t know the lingo that I just could not clearly picture the scenes. Then again, I have never climbed Mt. Everest (or any other mountain, for that matter), yet I was totally mesmerized by Krakauer’s book.The parts I did enjoy in Crazy for the Storm were the chapters that explored the relationship between Norman and his Dad. A man with great charisma and a love of the exhilarating excitement of both skiing and surfing, Norman’s father inspired both love and exasperation in his son. Crazy for the Storm explores the bonds that existed between the two and the legacy left to Norman after the crash.more
Read all 30 reviews

Reviews

Crazy For the Storm is a compelling memoir that reads just like a novel. The chapters alternate between his time on the mountain after the plane crash and his life leading up to that point. Norman Ollestad recounts his unusual upbringing and how he had to rely on his earlier experiences and lessons taught by his dad in order to survive on the mountain.

I was astounded by the activities that Norman's father made him participate in at such a young age. He was surfing and downhill skiing at a very young age, and it wasn't just that he was participating in these activities, but that his father pushed him to try things that were challenging to the point of being dangerous. In the first few pages of the book there is a photo of Norman strapped to the back of his dad while his dad was surfing - he was only one year old.

In one of my favorite sections, he recounts a road trip he took with his dad to Mexico. They have so many dangerous and exciting adventures on this trip that it made for great reading. (There were Federales with guns, a car chase and an idyllic time spent with some native Mexicans, just to give you a little preview.)

At times it was hard to put this book down. I was always wondering what was going to happen next. What crazy adventure was Norman's dad going to take them on next? Or what about his mom's boyfriend? Was he going to stay nice or start drinking again? And then of course there's the breathtaking story of how Norman got down the mountain.

I had read someone else's review of this book a while back and so I knew that there was a video on YouTube that showed footage from the news when Norman spoke to the media after he got off of the mountain. I made a point of not watching the video before I read the book because I didn't want to see any spoilers, but I can honestly say that I wish I would have watched it first because it really brings home just how young Norman was during the time period the book covers. I was shocked by how young and small he was because he had already had so many adventures and done so many crazy and dangerous things with his dad, and then survived the descent from the mountain. Because of his achievements and bravery on the mountain I had been picturing someone older in my head (even though his age was given in the book).

There were a lot of descriptions of surfing and skiing in the book that used the technical terminology of each sport. I did not understand many of them, but it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

If you like reading memoirs about survival situations then I'm sure you will love Crazy For the Storm.more
This book as been summarized well in other reviews. Although there was much that I admired about the story, including vivid descriptions and imagery, I mostly found it unpleasantly disturbing. I understand that he loved his father, and that his father taught him remarkable life skills. But his father was also hugely negligent and self-centered. Most of the problems for which his father prepared him were brought about by his father's own recklessness. I was also uncomfortable about his portrayal of his mother and his father's girlfriend. Did I really need to read descriptions of his mom having rough post-fight make-up sex?I know this is a book about fathers and sons (and father-figures), so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that his portrayal of his mother's troubled boyfriend is far more nuanced than anything he wrote about his mom. And while I was genuinely fascinated by his adventure with his own son, which was insightful and touching, I was put off that he made no mention of his son's mother. That is weird. It would have been far less weird if he had simply written, even parenthetically, that his son's mother has requested privacy, and that he is honoring that request. Or if that's not true, then just tell us whether she died, whether she abandoned them, or whether they have joint custody but she lives elsewhere. Instead, she simply doesn't exist, and that's a significant omission that bugs me.more
The author tells the true story of how he survived--as an 11 year old boy--a plane crash that left him stranded at the top of an ice covered mountain. To survive he had to make his way down an ice covered slope that threatened to send him tumbling down the treacherous chute at it's center. As he describes this remarkable feat, he explains how the lessons his father taught him were the real reason that he survived. In flashbacks he describes his childhood--a childhood filled with surfboards, skiing, the breakup of his parents, and an antagonistic new boyfriend of his mother's.I enjoyed the survival parts of this story...I kept listening to see just how he was going to make it off of that mountain. Some of the descriptions of his youth are pretty wild and pretty interesting as well, but some parts it drug a bit. Still, I would recommend it to anyone who likes true tales of survival.more
Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad is a autobiography. Norman lives with his mother and her abusive husband Nick. they live in the inland of California. Normans dad lives off the coast of California with his girlfriend Sandra. Normans dad is all about skiing. one trip with Norman and Sandra, the plane crashes into a mountian. "in less than 9 hours, 2 are dead." This book was really bad. the beginning was boring and i didnt want to read it at all. It had no action what so ever and was not very well written. its set up was weird. it would bounce back and forth to before and during the crash. I rate this a 1/2 a star.more
A well-paced father/son memoir, it contains engaging characters that defy the cliched categories of hero/villain that I find in childhood memoirs -- I'm no fan of annoyingly precocious kids waxing philosophical, but Ollestad is a very restrained writer with only a moment or two where I felt like the characters had some memoir-affectation that disrupted the "reality" of the story. Not that you have to believe every detail in any memoir, this one or others -- but usually I find memoirs to have a lot of those shifts from dead-on accurate storytelling that rings true (e.g. age-appropriate and believable like "Freaks and Geeks") to fanciful, ornate, and fairy-tale-false (e.g. 90210/Gossip Girl), and I prefer the former. Ollestad's book does a remarkable job of allowing us to believe, anyway, that his memoir is not discolored (too much) by the intervening years or the desire to manipulate what is supposed to be non-fiction.more
First-person survival story--pilot, father & father's girlfriend were killed in a plane crash. The author (at 11) was the only survivor. I liked the relationship between the father and son--the unconventional upbringing that probably contributed to his ability to reach civilization following the crash. I didn't like how the book jumped back and forth abruptly between past and present. I enjoy listening to an author read his own book as he can convey the drama in a way that only a person who was there can. Unfortunately, Norman Ollestad was a horrible reader with a monotone that was about enough to put you to sleep in a book that should keep you on your toes. Kudos for surviving, kudos for writing a book. Don't do any more narrations!more
This is a story of survival after a plane crash but more so a story of love and strength. It is the '70s, and "Little Norman" Ollestad is 11 years old and growing up on the ocean in California. His mom and dad are divorced, and he lives with his mom and her boyfriend Nick, but the story mostly revolves around the relationship between Little Norman and his dad, "Big Norman" Ollestad. Big Norman is a lawyer by day and a surfer/skier/all-around daredevil the rest of the time. He loves his sports and loves living on the edge and is trying to teach Little Norman the beauty of that way of life. At times, his "training" of Little Norm seems harsh, but in the end, it saves his life. This is an amazing book that I couldn't put down. Definitely one of the best memoirs I've ever read!more
Norman exposes his thoughts about his father and how they prepared him for the crash that he experienced. Through the alternating back story of his childhood right before the crash and the events of his survival, Norman makes you feel like you truly understand what he went through as a child and in the immediate aftermath of the crash. An engaging read that was difficult to put down.more
2 Words that describe the book: Survival memoir3 Settings where it took place or characters you met:1. Setting: late 1970s California and Mexico2. Norman Ollestad Jr.—The author had a unique upbringing in the uninhibited and freedom-loving surf culture of the 1970s. (He lived on Topanga Beach.) At age 1, his father strapped him to his back and took him surfing (see photo at right). This was the start of a childhood filled with extreme sports. Norman was continually pushed by his father to surf, play hockey and ski at levels that were both frightening and somewhat dangerous. Yet this background gave Norman a unique mindframe and skills that ended up helping him to survive a plane crash that killed his father, his father's girlfriend and the plane's pilot. Norman was only 11 at the time of the crash.3. Norman Ollestad Sr.—A fearless man with a taste for adventure, Norman Ollestad was many things: a former FBI agent who wrote a book exposing the weaknesses of the agency, a successful lawyer, and a devoted father who wanted to make sure his son (who he affectionately called "Boy Wonder") experienced the exhilaration and beauty of living life fully by pursuing extreme sports like powder skiing and surfing.4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:1 . I liked the trip to Mexico that father and son take shortly before the plane crash. In many ways, it acts as a "coming of age" journey for young Norman. This extended sequence is (in some ways) more the heart of the book than the actual plane crash.2. I disliked how Ollestad structured the book. The chapters alternate between his childhood and his struggle for survival on the mountain after the plane crash. This technique for telling the story didn't work for me. I felt like I kept losing the "momentum" of the survival aspect of the story. The book might have worked better if it had been told in chronological order.3. I disliked that I never got a real grip on the survival story. I'm not sure if it was Ollestad's writing or my unfamiliarity with some of the terms he used, but I never felt that sense of "I'm right there" you get with some survival stories (such as Jon Krakauer's excellent Into Thin Air.)4. I liked the ending where Ollestad writes about his grown-up assessment of his father and his own struggle to find the right amount to push his own son. In many ways, Norman might not have survived if his father hadn't raised him the way he did. But in other ways, it seems almost negligent or cruel the pressure his father put on him and the situations he was forced to experience. 5 Stars or less for your rating?I'm giving the book 3 stars. I really wanted to like it more than I did. I'm a big fan of real-life survival stories, but this one just didn't do it for me. I think much of it was due to the writing. Although he has a gripping story to tell, I think Ollestad might have benefited from having a co-writer that could have helped him tell his story better. Surprisingly enough, the most interesting part of the book for me was the father-son relationship and the unique way Ollestad was raised.more
A son's experience of his own father’s unconventional approach to parenting, and how it led to the boy’s ability to survive in a situation his father had not planned—the crash of their chartered Cessna into a mountainside. Ollestad recounts between his travels with his surfer father, his life with his mother and her abusive boyfriend, and his fight for life as the lone survivor of the plane crash. It is a story of both a father’s successes and his failures, and is as much about surviving the actions of child-like adults as about the dangerous descent down the ice-covered mountain. At times remarkable, at times heart-wrenching, Crazy for the Storm is a father, son read—a tale that proves the power of the human spirit can rise against any challenge. i reviewed it in Bookreporter as a arc reviewer, but I have mixed feelings to this book, being a mother it was a very sad read.more
Men have it rough in our world, and boys have it even rougher. Norman Ollestad tells the story of the tough time he had growing up with a demanding father and a demanding stepfather. The trials he suffered as a boy served him well when he had to find a way to survive after a plane crash. I liked this book but I think men would find it even more captivating. It seems to be a rare book these days, a coming-of-age memoir of a boy.more
In February 1979, a small chartered plane carrying the author, then 11 years old, his father, his father's girlfriend, and the hired pilot crashed into the side of a Southern California mountain. This memoir is the remarkable story told some 30 years later. Little Norm grew up surfing, skiing, skateboarding, and was pushed and challenged beyond any normal expectations by his dad, who claimed that competing wasn't about winning, not always with complete conviction. Big Norm was an attorney, had been a child actor and an FBI agent who wrote a book exposing some of the FBI's dirty little secrets. Among other things, his dad took Little Norm on a needlessly dangerous trip to Mexico, always confident that things would work out. Ultimately, the tough training saved the author's life. I am not a surfer, skier, or skateboarder, so some of the sports terms were foreign to me and the descriptions seemed overly detailed. For me, some of the language was a little too...flowery isn't the right word, but something close to that. Chapters about the author's early life are interspersed with chapters about the flight and the hours after the crash, and the book included a section of photographs that really added to the story. Crazy for the Storm was a sad, interesting, worthwhile read.more
When he was 11 years old, Norman Ollestad had become a true California jock-- he was a fantastic surfer, he'd shredded his skin skateboarding, had just won a state skiing championship, and was gearing up for a hockey team tournament. In between the ski championship and hockey practice, his father chartered a plane to get them from one place to the next-- but the plane crashed in the clouds of a California mountain. The pilot and Ollestad's father were killed, his dad's girlfriend survived just a short time longer. The memoir tells the story of not only the crash but the childhood pressures and adventures he faced, all of which led up to the crash. Ollested's father was driven to make his son the best, and adults (Ollestad is now nearing his mid-40s now) and teens alike will likely be surprised at the things the elder Ollested forced upon his son. The story is well written, alternating between flashbacks of his younger childhood and surviving the crash, and will appeal to anyone with interest in outdoor survival stories. The high school at which I am currently a librarian has Into the Wild in the curriculum, and this is certainly a book I'll recommend for anyone who liked that story. It certainly has appeal to high school and middle school students, although some more conservative individuals might balk at some of the drug references.more
Little Norman Ollestad was raised on the beach in California, where his attorney dad spent every free minute surfing. Of course, Dad wants Norman learn to surf, too--and to ski! He doesn't seem to care that Norman is a timid little kid, who really doesn't want to be pushed into these activities. But push, he does.Perhaps it's a good thing, because when Norman is eleven, he is a passenger in a small plane that crashes into a California mountain. The skills he has learned from the grueling training his dad has put him through help keep him alive as he scales down the steep ice and snow covered incline during a huge storm. Amazingly he walks out, although hope had died that there were any survivors on the plane.The story is told in alternating chapters of Norman's life with his dad, and his perilous trek down the mountain. At first this felt awkward, but as we drew closer to the end, it seemed to work better, and the reader can understand why the author (little Norman himself) chose to tell his story in this manner.more
An incredible story of survival. I enjoyed the converging story lines that alternated chapters. The ending is particularly poignant as the author struggles to push his own son into that place where he will struggle but, if he can get through it, will fill empowered and confident. By relating his own story, Ollestad shows the reader how pushing beyond "effortless fun" pays off.more
Amazing story of survival and the bond between father and son. A little too much technical wording when describing the mountains and surfing.more
This book was really interesting; I read it all in one sitting. At first the chapters switching between the plane crash and the author's childhood leading up to that point annoyed me because I wanted to know the survival story right away. I began to also get sucked into the background story though and in the end, I found the alternating format very instrumental to the overall memoir. It's an amazing thing that the author survived such an ordeal at the age of eleven but he at least had the knowledge of all the previous dangerous experiences that his father had pushed him into at an even earlier age.more
The book was compelling and well-written; you wanted to find out what happened to young Norman in the end. However, the book is not for persons easily offended by language and sexual innuendo. Beach culture is not a pretty thing. Still Norman managed to craft a life for himself that appreciated his father's rather cavalier approach towards introducing his son to danger. And, his adult self could see both the good and the bad in his mother's boyfriend's interactions with him.more
Very good. Couldn't stop reading, professionally written in way that it becomes an easy page turner.It's very easy to relate to the themes of the book when you're a man, son and father.more
Norman Ollestad's Crazy for the Storm is a memoir of the horrific plane crash he survived and the upbringing that taught him the skills that made it possible for him to survive. The chapters alternate between his ordeal on the mountain and his relationship with a demanding, driven, and loving father. To me, the most remarkable thing about this story is how young Norman was when all of this happened. He was just 11 when he had to make his way away from the plane crash, down a mountain in a blizzard while also taking responsibility for the life of his father's girlfriend. Unfortunately the perspective of an 11 year old doesn't really come through and its easy to forget he is so young. It's very likely that Norman matured very early due to his harsh upbringing and at 11 he was more sophisticated then most kids his age. Still, the author writes with a little more detachment then I would like.I listened to this book on audio and it is narrated by the author himself. As with many authors this is a mistake. He is not an actor and his voice has little inflection or emotional for such a thrilling story. The plot will hold your interest but ultimately the book's flatness is disappointing.more
This book was a super quick read, well written and it is easy to feel you are there watching it all unfold. While Norman is very descriptive as someone who has never surfed nor skied sometimes it is a little over kill. The book tells two stories at once. One chapter tells about the plane crash that took Norman's father and his girlfriends life including the story of Norman's struggle to save his own life. The next chapter then tells the story of Norman's past with his father and all their adventures. It continues in this format throughout the book. As I said, a very quick and simple read, but well written and entertaining as well.more
In February 1979, a small chartered plane, carrying an eleven year old boy (the author), his father, the father's girlfriend and the pilot, crashed into a mountain in northern California. Only the boy and the badly injured girlfriend were alive. Young Norman decides to head down the face of the mountain,all 8,600 feet,to look for help and to avoid freezing to death on the treacherous, blizzard-choked mountain. This is a quite amazing story. The back story of the history and relationship of the boy and his father is equally as fascinating. Highly recommended!more
"Crazy for the Storm" is a remarkable story about a boy, his father, their relationship, and a truly miraculous journey of survival made by the boy. The author intermingles chapters that demonstrate what kind of physical and mental toughness young Norman achieves through experiences with his father with chapters that recount the crash and Norman's descent to safety. Slalom skiing in rugged conditions, surfing enormous and dangerous waves, taking a crazy journey through Mexico with a washing machine and being chased by Federales... Norman's father prepares him for life and unwittingly prepares him to save his own life after the boy lives through a plane crash thousands of feet up a mountain. This is a wonderful book and a thrilling story.more
Growing Up With Divorced ParentsThe teaser of Ollestad's new memoir "Crazy For the Storm" is sure to pull you in, a story about surviving a plane crash in the snowy California mountains. I won't spoil the plot, but the survival story is really not that remarkable. But deep down, the book is fundamentally about growing up with divorced parents and a physical and psychological abusive stepfather. The death of his father in the plane crash was the traumatic event that serves as the frame narrative, with flashbacks to his childhood and the relationships with his father, father's girlfriend, mother, and stepfather.I honestly didn't feel that there was anything exceptional or unusual with Ollestad's upbringing. That is not to say that his story is boring, far from it. His story is the story of millions of children all over North America, dealing with the social consequences of split families, of domestic abuse, but also of unconditional love. Overall, I recommend this book because it is extremely relatable. Most of it is predictable, yet Ollestad's appeal to the human condition keeps you engaged throughout.more
This book has been getting scads of publicity and lots of raves recently. I read it before all the reviews came out and I'm still baffled by the over the top plaudits it has received because I thought it was a decent read but not an overwhelming wow. Is it thrilling? Yes. Will it keep you reading? Probably. But there was something missing in it for me. The story of little Norman Ollestad's amazing survival after a plane crash that ultimately killed everyone else on board, including Norman's father, and left him stranded on a mountain during a terribly snow storm, this is also the story of the early years of Norman's life as his father pushed him to become a surfer and a skier who pushed the envelope. The memoir alternates chapters between the life he shared with his mother, her boyfriend, and his father and the hours, moments leading up to and after the crash as he fights for survival. As Norman has drawn his childhood (the crash happened when he was only 11), I felt only anger and annoyance towards his parents. His mother seemed to put her abusive boyfriend ahead of her son and his father was more interested in creating a "boy wonder" who excelled at his father's chosen sports than about the emotional well-being of a young child. Ollestad's love for these flawed parents is there in the book but what really stood out for me was that he spent a lot of time unhappy or terrified or neglected when with either of his parents. Of course, ultimately, his father's child-rearing method (push said child hard and relentlessly until the child attempts whatever simply to avoid being called a coward) helped Norman muster up the strength to make it down the mountain to safety, knowing his father and the pilot were dead and after seeing his father's girlfriend slide to her death too. So perhaps I am being too harsh in judging the scenes Ollestad has chosen to write about here. But I do know that I would have been pretty darn resentful of my parents for their treatment of me had the book been mine, rather than his.As far as the story itself goes, it is pretty thrilling, edge of your pants. The alternating chapters are written differently, evoking either the feeling of a descriptive and haphazard childhood or the short, stacato adreneline bursts of the crash and its aftermath. And sending the reader from one extreme of writing to another just with the turn of the page helped to amp up the thrill factor. It is a story that no one should have had to live but Ollestad's writing has captured some of the dislocation and terror that he must have felt coming down that mountain. And I appreciated the final chapter, detailing his return to the crash site and his own handling of his young son with fair reflections on his father's parenting of him. I felt there was something destructive, intense and controlling in the daredevil father he's captured in these pages, something that made his death at a relatively young age inevitable. But not liking many (all?) of the people who made up his early life, I had a hard time caring too much about their terrible fates, a failing that is even more callous given that these are not characters but real people. I don't know whether the fault for this lack of connection is in the writing or in me personally. Did I read on avidly, despite knowing the outcome of the crash before even opening the first page (it's given away on the cover)? Yes. Did I feel gutted and drained when I finished reading it? No, I just felt detached and relieved to be finished. Adventure junkies will likely thrive on the adreneline rush this book provides while the more sedentary (or cowardly like me) might find themselves dismayed by the interpersonal relationships as presented here and wish for a bit more than the book delivered.more
There is a line near the beginning of “Crazy for the Storm” that I think is very telling about the whole book.“He had taught me to ride big waves, had pulled me from tree wells and fished me out of suffocating powder. Now it was my turn to save him.”The author, Norman Ollestad, says this about his father (also Norman Ollestad), after the plane crash that took his father’s life and stranded him on a mountain, alone. The reason I find it telling, is that as I read through the book, I found far more places where the son is saving the father, or at least living the life the father had wanted for himself. Norman’s father exposed him to so many dangerous situations (many that these days he’d probably get arrested for, per the author) but by doing so, also gave him the tools and the inner strength to survive.“We stared at each other. I saw him so clearly. The cranium shelf rising off his forehead bumpy and uneven, the cluster of diamonds in the blue of his eyes fragile cracked windows, and I saw someone younger and full of grand ambitions and I thought about how he had wanted to be a professional basketball player. He looked at me as if into a mirror, studying me, like I was holding something that he admired, even desired.”The author does a good job balancing the voice of his younger self, often angry at his father for making him live a different life, making him ski and surf and take risks that he didn’t want to…with the admiration he now feels for his father. Though Ollestad is making different choices now with his own son, Noah, the lessons taught to him as a child have taken deep root.His father’s voice is always in the background…not only in the decisions he makes regarding his own son, but all throughout the book.“All I care about is that you keep going, Boy Wonder. Don’t get stuck on how you finished last time or the turn you just made. Go after the next one with all you’ve got.”Moments like that were the strongest part of this book. Though I thought I’d be more drawn to the crash itself and the miracle that an 11-year old boy was the only survivor and managed to get down a mountain in the winter by himself…it was the father/son relationships that were more powerful. The crash details (and some of the descriptions of surfing and skiing) that got too technical for me since I am unfamiliar with those worlds.The writing was at times very choppy…short, staccato sentences that broke up the flow of other, very lyrical passages.Agree or disagree with a father making his son take incredible risks, living a different life than the son wanted to at the time, in the end the author lets go of the right or wrong of his life. He maintains his love for his father, appreciates the gifts that came from the way he was raised, and has a wealth of experience, good and bad, with which to guide his own son. In the end, he has the memory of his father and the reality of his son.“I guessed that at some point during his run, Noah had broken through the storm and locked into the bliss of his victory, the bliss of his connection to the ineffable – that sacred place unveiled to me, and now to my son, by the man with the sunshine in his eyes. There are few joys in life that can compare to that.”more
I'm also going to reprint the small paragraph on the cover. It grabbed me and I'm sure it will do the same to you."On February 19, 1979, I was in a plane crash with my father, his girlfriend Sandra and the pilot of our chartered Cessna. Sandra was 30 years old. My dad was 43. I was 11. Just after sunrise, we slammed into a rugged 8,600-foot mountain engulfed in a blizzard. by the end of our nine-hour ordeal I was the only survivor."Hooked? This is a stunning, yet heartbreaking memoir. Knowing the outcome of Crazy for the Storm in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the book. Norman Ollestad had an unusual childhood. He literally grew up on the beaches of Topanga Beach in California, part of a surfing community. He also excelled at competitive skiing and most other areas he attempted. Behind him, encouraging him, driving him was his father, also named Norman Ollestad. The senior Ollestad was a child actor, appearing in the original "Cheaper by the Dozen" movie. He was an FBI agent, under Herbert Hoover, but quit after a year and exposed the dirty secrets of that administration in a book called Inside the FBI. He was also a successful lawyer. Ollestad himself describes his father as 'larger than life'. But he was what most people would see as a risk taker, living in and for the moment. He pushes his son to do the same. This new release from Harper Collins Canada is told in alternating chapters. It opens with the horrendous crash and the realization of their plight. It then abruptly switches to the author's childhood. At first I found this disconcerting as I was caught up in one story or the other. But I quickly realized that this dual story telling leads us the climax, where both stories collide on the top of a mountain. The author had what would be seen by many as an idyllic childhood. But after his parents divorced, his mother's boyfriend moved in. This man was physically and mentally abusive to both Norman and his mother, but his mother chose Nick many times over her son. Luckily young Norman has a surrogate mother in a family friend - Eleanor. Author Norman has a difficult relationship with his father at times. He laments that he wants to be a 'normal' kid sometimes, hanging out in a neighbourhood with friends. His father instead encourages him to excel and that step beyond in surfing and skiing. It is on the way to a ski competition that the plane crashes. Some of the childhood tales are incredible. On the way to Mexico to deliver a washing machine to his grandparents, they are chased and shot at by federales. They end up living in a remote village with locals for a bit before rescuing the vehicle and continuing. To me, this memoir seemed to be a way of honouring and making peace with his father and the loss of him after many years. It is a personal journey that we are privileged enough to share. As an adult and parent Ollestad physically revisits his childhood home, the crash site and the people involved. He realizes that without his father pushing him all those years, he never would have survived the crash. And he can see what his father wanted him to see. "Off the point at Topanga Beach I stared into the eye of a distant wave. Somewhere in the oval opening I grasped what Dad had always tried to make me see. There is more to life than just surviving it. Inside each turbulence there is a calm - a sliver of light buried in the darkness." There are colour photographs included with the book - arresting images of his father and candid shots of the family. This is a memoir of survival - not just a plane crash, but of his life. A totally arresting read.more
I requested a review copy of Norman Ollestad’s Crazy for the Storm because I imagined it would be similar to Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, which I had read and enjoyed several years ago. Although the cover of Ollestad’s book advertises that it is a memoir of survival, it was fairly different from what I had expected. The chapters alternate between eleven-year-old Norman’s ordeal as the sole survivor of a small plane crash on a treacherous, icy mountain slope with the events in his life that lead up to the day of the crash. The chapters dealing with the crash are much shorter than the others, and I was glad of it. Although I found myself rooting for young Norman, I was not really caught up in his adventure. I just could not visualize what was happening. (This was also true of sections of the book that detailed his surfing experiences.) Maybe it is because I neither ski nor surf and I don’t know the lingo that I just could not clearly picture the scenes. Then again, I have never climbed Mt. Everest (or any other mountain, for that matter), yet I was totally mesmerized by Krakauer’s book.The parts I did enjoy in Crazy for the Storm were the chapters that explored the relationship between Norman and his Dad. A man with great charisma and a love of the exhilarating excitement of both skiing and surfing, Norman’s father inspired both love and exasperation in his son. Crazy for the Storm explores the bonds that existed between the two and the legacy left to Norman after the crash.more
Load more
scribd