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.
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.
Be the first to review this title!
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