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Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival [With Earbuds]
     

Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival [With Earbuds]

by Norman Ollestad
 

From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the charismatic father he both idolized and resented. These exhilarating tests of skill 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

Overview

From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the charismatic father he both idolized and resented. These exhilarating tests of skill 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 and his father crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains. "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.

Editorial Reviews

Bill Gifford
…breathtaking…A portrait of a father's consuming love for his son, Crazy for the Storm will keep you up late into the night.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Ollestad's memoir intersperses his harrowing childhood trauma as the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed his father with his coming of age in the '70s West Coast culture of surfing, skiing and skateboarding. A competent and engaging narrator, Ollestad evokes emotional intensity without descending into sentimentality and creates memorable portraits of his heroic father and his mother's abusive boyfriend. Granted, Ollestad presents his 11-year-old self as a tad more introspective and worldly wise than one might expect, but as the adult Ollestad reflects on how he was shaped by the hard-living, extreme sports culture of his family and community, the essence of a young man forced to grow up too quickly rings true. An Ecco hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 23). (June)
Los Angeles Magazine
A page-turning adventure tale . . . and a meditation on manhood.
Kirkus Reviews
An engrossing story of adventure, survival and psychological exploration. Ollestad hits several notes that should make his memoir irresistible to those looking for page-turning but thought-provoking summer reading along the lines of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air (1997). In the winter of 1979, the 11-year-old Ollestad survived a plane crash in which his father and his father's girlfriend were killed. Alternating with young Norman's nine-hour trek to safety are scenes from the year preceding the crash, when the boy took a surfing trip with his father through the jungle along Mexico's Pacific coast. The flashbacks sections are the most fascinating parts of the book, and Ollestad ably captures the contrast between his charismatically cool father, Norman Sr., and his bullying stepfather-to-be, Nick. A photo of the elder Ollestad surfing with his one-year-old son strapped to his back captures the essence of the author's relationship with Norman Sr. He is convinced that his father's gentle but unyielding insistence that young Norman develop a sense of mastery over physical, emotional and mental challenges helped him survive the crash. The chapters that follow also suggest that his subtler ordeals with Nick were similarly important in the building of his character. Though some of the minutely detailed descriptions of his journey down the mountain read like creative-writing assignments gone awry, Ollestad presents a captivating account of high-altitude disaster that nicely dovetails with his coming-of-age story in '70s California. Deep and resonant. Author tour to Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and by request

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433290978
Publisher:
Findaway World
Publication date:
07/28/2009
Series:
Playaway Adult Nonfiction Series
Product dimensions:
4.60(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are Saying About This

Russell Banks
"This is a heart-stopping story beautifully told, an 11-year-old boy's story that deals with profound and challenging moral and philosophical issues. When does the quest for ecstasy become a danger-junkie's kick? How does a good boy become a good man? How do you raise a child in a busted-up family? Norman Ollestad has written a book that may well be read for generations. It's a book that fathers should give to their sons, but sons should give it to their fathers, too. And mothers, wives, sisters and daughters -- read it and weep for all the boys and men you have ever loved."
Jim Harrison
"CRAZY FOR THE STORM is an absolutely compelling book which I read in one long sitting. The fact that it's true made me shudder, but then Norman Ollestad is a fine writer and every detail is convincing."
Carolyn See
"As much a thriller as a memoir . . . gorgeously written, perfectly controlled."--(Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life)
Lucinda Franks
"Extraordinary-an adventure story with a rich psychological foundation from an enormously talented author. Crazy for the Storm is a powerful book. It deserves to be a bestseller."--(Pulitzer Prize-winner Lucinda Franks, author of My Father's Secret War)
Susan Cheever
"I could not stop reading this thrilling memoir. Why do we sometimes feel most alive when we are risking our lives? Ollestad answers this question with a heart-stopping adventure that ends in tragedy and in triumph, a love story that fearlessly explores the bond between a father and son and what it means to lead a life without limits."

Meet the Author

Norman Ollestad studied creative writing at UCLA and attended UCLA Film School. He grew up on Topanga Beach in Malibu and now lives in Venice, California. He is the father of an eight-year-old son.

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