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Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival (P.S.) by [Norman Ollestad]
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Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival (P.S.) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 351 ratings

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Length: 290 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An elegant memoir as well as a transformative coming-of-age tale. When he leaves his father’s limp body behind on the icy plateau—giving it a final kiss and caress as it’s claimed by the snow—Ollestad takes his first perilous steps not just into survival, but into adulthood.” (New York Post)

“Cinematic and personal . . . Ollestad’s insights into growing up in a broken home and adolescence in southern California are as engrossing as the story of his trip down the mountain.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Riveting.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Breathtaking...A portrait of a father’s consuming love for his son, Crazy for the Storm will keep you up late into the night.” (Washington Post Book World)

“Tragic and exotic ...[with] short, punchy chapters and...nonstop emphasis on adrenaline-fueled excitement.” (Janet Maslin, New York Times)

“The memoir is as much about a father-son relationship as it is a survival story...Ollestad says his father’s life philosophy about surfing and skiing - ‘knowing there’s always a place to go and find peace, clear your mind’ - got him down the mountain and through life.” (USA Today)

“A page-turning adventure tale . . . and a meditation on manhood.” (Los Angeles Magazine)

“At times beautiful, at times heart-wrenching, Crazy for the Storm is a commanding read--a tale that proves the power of the human spirit can rise against any challenge, and a father’s legacy can be more than he imagines. (BookPage)

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.” (Jim Harrison)

“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&#8211;winner Lucinda Franks, author of My Father's Secret War)

“As much a thriller as a memoir . . . gorgeously written, perfectly controlled.” (Carolyn See)

“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.” (Susan Cheever)

“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 . . . mothers, wives, sisters and daughters: read it and weep for all the boys and men you have ever loved.” (Russell Banks)

“Engrossing...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)…Deep and resonant.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Never a dull moment....[Ollestad has] written a beautiful story about a thrill-loving father — ‘the man with the sunshine in his eyes’— who taught his boy not just how to live, but how to thrive.” (Houston Chronicle)

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009: The story itself could take your breath away: an 11-year-old boy, the only survivor of a small-plane crash in the San Gabriel Mountains in 1979, makes his way to safety down an icy mountain face in a blizzard, using the skills and determination he learned from his father. But it's the way that Norman Ollestad tells his tale that makes Crazy for the Storm a memoir that will last. He almost has too much to tell: a way-larger-than-life father--former child actor, FBI man (who took on Hoover in a controversial book), and surfer who drove his son to test his limits in the surf and on the slopes; a youth spent in the short-lived counterculture paradise of Topanga Canyon; a stepfather who could give Tobias Wolff's a run for his money; and of course the crash. But writing 30 years later, Ollestad is wise and talented enough to focus his story on the essentials, cutting elegantly back and forth between a moment-by-moment account of the crash and his memories of the difficult but often idyllic year leading up to it. More than a story of survival, it's a time-tempered reckoning with what it means to be a father and a son. --Tom Nissley

Amazon Exclusive Essay: It Starts With a Good Story by Norman Ollestad

It was time for my eight-year old son, Noah, to read before bed. "Eh," he groaned. "Reading is so boring. It sucks." He’d been reciting this same mantra for months. I was resting beside him in his bed and I saw his whole life crumble--a slew of poor report cards and father-son arguments, ending in long term unemployment. "What about Dr. Seuss?" I reasoned. He glared at me with his brown eyes. "It's okay," he mumbled. I opened the book he was reading for his class and handed it to him. He stared at it, mute. "Noah," I said from my lowest register. He proceeded to read at a snail's pace and I pointed out that it would take him twice as long as usual to get through the required five pages. So he ran the words together, not even stopping at periods. I grabbed the book and told him we'd be reading all weekend to make up for his lack of cooperation. For months I coerced him like that, urging him past his lazy monotone, trying to get him to connect with the story. It was a long few months.

When I was Noah's age I also disliked reading. I just wanted to hear the story without having to work for it. I had wished my dad could work the same kind of magic he did with surfing: he'd push me into the waves so that I could simply enjoy the ride, eliminating the most arduous, frustrating part of surfing--paddling for the wave.

My father was always asking my mother, who was a grade-school teacher, why I wasn't a better reader. She advocated patience, and encouraged me by tirelessly pointing out things in each story that I might relate to. My father was killed when I was eleven, so he never got to witness my eventual love of reading.

In order to help Noah find that love, I searched for a seminal moment in my past that had transformed me. There was no single thing. But during my reminiscences I flashed on Dad reading aloud my grandparents' monthly letters from Mexico. They had retired to Puerto Vallarta and their letters were filled with stories. Stories about an inland village where Grandpa went twice a week to buy ice for their fridge, to keep their food cold. Stories about helping a Mexican family after a hurricane hit Puerto Vallarta. Stories of secret waterfalls and secluded isthmuses that Grandpa and Grandma had discovered around Vallarta. And that’s when it hit me--it was very simple: the essence of my love for reading really emanates from my love for stories.

"How about I tell you a story tonight," I whispered with great zeal to Noah. His eyes lit up and he smiled. "What kind of story?"

"Any kind," I said.

"A story about a magic skateboard would be cool," he suggested. As I spun the impromptu tale, he rolled onto his side and stared at me, totally focused. The following night I made a bargain with him: "First read five pages, then I'll work up a story about whatever you want." Before I got myself nestled beside him, he was halfway through the first page. Progressively, Noah's topics became more elaborate, and soon he was giving me outlines for stories. Somewhere along the line his reading voice changed--he was gobbling up the sentences, his voice alive with inflection. He'd broken through. Noah was hooked on stories, like I got hooked on riding waves. Once he'd experienced the pleasure of going on that narrative ride, reading became second nature, like paddling for a wave. It all starts with a good story.

Photographs from Crazy For the Storm

(Click to Enlarge)

My first surfboard, Topanga Beach, 1968 Mom, Dad, and Me, Topanga Beach, 1968 Dad in St. Anton, Austria, Early 1970's St. Anton with Dad

Me, Ski racing Skiing with Dad Puerto Vallarta, 1975 Three generations of Normans, 1977

--This text refers to the audio_download edition.

Product details

  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 290 pages
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B002BD2UQ6
  • Publication date : May 28, 2009
  • File size : 756 KB
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Publisher : HarperCollins e-books; Illustrated edition (May 28, 2009)
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 351 ratings

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
351 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries

Mrs E K Bryant
4.0 out of 5 stars Norman is certainly a courageous young man!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2020
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Damian Waters
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 7, 2014
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A. Arlotti
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in Canada on January 23, 2017
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reinhart gg
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed and tintillating
Reviewed in Canada on May 12, 2013
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laura zen
5.0 out of 5 stars Pageturner
Reviewed in Germany on March 10, 2011
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