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Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival (P.S.) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 290 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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“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–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 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|
- 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
- Best Sellers Rank: #158,311 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Without spoiling anything, here's the kind of writing you can expect (quoted directly): "It was desolate. The sky was gray and dull. We parked behind a building underneath the control tower. We walked in. My dad knocked on a door and man a few years younger than he emerged. His name was Rob Arnold." It's like this the whole way through!
Some reviewers didn't like the back and forth but I feel it worked, because after the plane crash, going back to another time period let the reader know how it ultimately helped Norman jr survive the descent off the mountain.
The father was different, but the times were different. As relentless as he could be, there was still love and admiration between father and son. Plus their life style was interesting to read about as were their adventures very interesting to read about. Looking back, it was hard to imagine how very young Norman was while living the adventures. Such as the trip to Mexico. Reading about it, you picture him much older.
Besides the love, what the father gave him was courage, perseverance and strength in the face of fear and great hardship which helped him survive. Not only did he save himself, but this 11 year old boy was also trying to get another person down the mountain as well, supporting this person on his SHOULDER. For me, that, and the fact he could see the meadow, when later he saw that he could not have possibly seen it leads me to think it was because of God. Young Norman didn't believe in God. I wonder if anything has changed for him in that respect as Adult Norman.
I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because there were surfing and skiing details that slowed the story down and were lost on those of us that didn't do either one. Also, the description of the terrain of the mountain as he descended was hard to follow for those of us that don't climb or hike. It was hard to imagine what was going on at times. But the book was a very good human interest story that I would recommend to others.
As if having a poor excuse for a male role model at home isn't bad enough, Ollestad experiences the other extreme with a father who is every bit the man his stepfather is not. Norman Sr.'s seemingly unquenchable need for an adrenaline fix drives him to defy the laws of gravity on a surfboard or skis. The one-time child actor, FBI agent and attorney, and first-class thrill seeker pushes first himself and then his son to the limits of their endurance in quest of the next big breaker or extreme ski run. The author's vivid descriptions of the lush Central Mexican jungle and pristine, virtually untouched beaches are gorgeous.
No less so than his father, Norman Jr. is a gifted and dedicated athlete but lacks that Ollestad audacity. The most compelling aspect of the story is how the oft-reluctant and even resentful young Ollestad summons much of the endurance, stamina, and confidence gained from those demanding high adventure trips to deliver him from a near-death ordeal. His father dead and his father's girlfriend barely hanging on after a violent crash in the San Gabriel mountains, Ollestad at eleven confronts his ultimate physical challenge as he courageously descends from a position on an 8,600 foot peak in the midst of a blizzard. To say that his father would be proud of how well he acquits himself in this his final endurance test is pure understatement. How he manages to survive is nothing short of amazing and makes for powerful reading.
In Norman Ollestad's book, we are treated to an unusual coming-of-age story where one year is frozen in time. The author relates a captivating story of one extraordinary father and the impact that father has on his young son through the events of that year. The elder Ollestad's passion for life and pursuit of the supreme adrenaline high, on full display from page one, clearly motivates him. It also compels him to push his son into that next mountain of water... that next wall of powder. After reading this unusual book one might imagine that in order for him to really come alive for his son, Norman Sr. had to die. For only then could Norman Jr. ease his way off the side of that mountain, boldly survive in the face of nearly impossible odds, and over time become his own man. We realize then that his father's efforts were not in vain - that 'the Boy Wonder' did have the Ollestad audacity after all!
Any father who might question the impact he has on his son should read this book! Wonderful!
Top reviews from other countries
A gutsy story of survival against all odds.
Very worth while.
Written with heart and fond memory of a special Dad