Hot Best Seller

Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival

Availability: Ready to download

Ollestad, 41, was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing at a very young age by the father he idolized. Resentful of a childhood lost to his father’s reckless and demanding adventures, young Ollestad was often paralyzed by fear. Set in Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, the book captures the earthy surf culture of Southern California; the boy’s Ollestad, 41, was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing at a very young age by the father he idolized. Resentful of a childhood lost to his father’s reckless and demanding adventures, young Ollestad was often paralyzed by fear. Set in Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, the book captures the earthy surf culture of Southern California; the boy’s conflicted feelings for his magnetic father; and the exhilarating tests of skill in the surf and snow that prepared young Norman to become a fearless surfer and ski champion--which ultimately saved his life. In February 1979, just as he was reaping the rewards of his training, a chartered Cessna carrying Norman, his father, his father’s girlfriend, and the pilot, crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California and was suspended at eight thousand feet, engulfed in a blizzard. Norman’s father, his coach and hero, was dead, and the 11-year old Ollestad had to descend the mountain alone and grief-stricken, through snow and ice, without any gear. Stunningly, the boy defied the elements and put his father’s passionate lessons to work. As he told the LA Times after his ordeal, “My dad told me never to give up.”


Compare

Ollestad, 41, was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing at a very young age by the father he idolized. Resentful of a childhood lost to his father’s reckless and demanding adventures, young Ollestad was often paralyzed by fear. Set in Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, the book captures the earthy surf culture of Southern California; the boy’s Ollestad, 41, was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing at a very young age by the father he idolized. Resentful of a childhood lost to his father’s reckless and demanding adventures, young Ollestad was often paralyzed by fear. Set in Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, the book captures the earthy surf culture of Southern California; the boy’s conflicted feelings for his magnetic father; and the exhilarating tests of skill in the surf and snow that prepared young Norman to become a fearless surfer and ski champion--which ultimately saved his life. In February 1979, just as he was reaping the rewards of his training, a chartered Cessna carrying Norman, his father, his father’s girlfriend, and the pilot, crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California and was suspended at eight thousand feet, engulfed in a blizzard. Norman’s father, his coach and hero, was dead, and the 11-year old Ollestad had to descend the mountain alone and grief-stricken, through snow and ice, without any gear. Stunningly, the boy defied the elements and put his father’s passionate lessons to work. As he told the LA Times after his ordeal, “My dad told me never to give up.”

30 review for Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival

  1. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    In this fast, engaging tale Norman Ollestad tells about how he survived a mountaintop plane crash as an 11-year-old, a crash that killed the pilot, his father and his father’s girlfriend, and how his relationship with his father, and the skills he had learned under his tutelage, had prepared him for his near-death ordeal. Norman Ollestad - image from Counterpoint Press Ollestad tells of his upbringing, of his charismatic surfer/lawyer/coach father who drove him to peaks of physical performance he In this fast, engaging tale Norman Ollestad tells about how he survived a mountaintop plane crash as an 11-year-old, a crash that killed the pilot, his father and his father’s girlfriend, and how his relationship with his father, and the skills he had learned under his tutelage, had prepared him for his near-death ordeal. Norman Ollestad - image from Counterpoint Press Ollestad tells of his upbringing, of his charismatic surfer/lawyer/coach father who drove him to peaks of physical performance he would never have reached un-pushed, and who brought him to joys he might never otherwise have enjoyed. He gives us a picture of growing up on the beach in Malibu, traveling in a very dangerous Mexico with his father, having to cope with the divorce of his parents and the conflict inherent in managing relationships with his parents’ new others’, and discovering newborn sexual feelings. And for good measure there is a sort-of car chase, gunshots, and ruminations on god. Once I started reading this book, I hated to put it down. It is a fast read, a page-turner. I quite enjoyed it. =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Twitter and FB pages Interviews ——Pursuitist - Exclusive interview with ‘Crazy for the Storm’ author Norman Ollestad ——Duncan Entertainment - Norman Ollestad's CRAZY FOR THE STORM: A Memoir of Survival - a promo vid, with some really good images from the real event ——Fuel TV - Norman Ollestad on FUEL TV - video

  2. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Raising a child this way? Abysmal attitudes. A bunch of irresponsible people who should not have been allowed to touch a child with a seven-foot pole. Beating, recklessly endangering a minor, emotinal trauma - we have it all inflicted on this child. What's even worse is that the author, the grown-up version of this child seems to be thinking it was all ok! I'm not gonna spoil it but this gives us a story of a whole lot more horrible childhood than even The Glass Castle. And that goes to say Raising a child this way? Abysmal attitudes. A bunch of irresponsible people who should not have been allowed to touch a child with a seven-foot pole. Beating, recklessly endangering a minor, emotinal trauma - we have it all inflicted on this child. What's even worse is that the author, the grown-up version of this child seems to be thinking it was all ok! I'm not gonna spoil it but this gives us a story of a whole lot more horrible childhood than even The Glass Castle. And that goes to say something! Q: He chased hurricanes and blizzards to touch the bliss of riding mighty waves and deep powder snow. An insatiable spirit, he was crazy for the storm. And it saved my life. (c) Q: The experience of skiing in a whiteout flickered across my mind. (c) Q: My dad had previously spoken about fighting through things to get to the good stuff or some such concept, and as he shook the salt water out of his curly brown hair, he talked more about people giving up and missing out on fantastic moments. (c) Q: It’s either Jacques or me, my dad said. She wouldn’t answer one way or the other. I refuse to choose, she said. A couple days later Dad moved out. (c) Q: Daddy, I said, pressing my palm to his back. ... 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. (c) Q: If the police break the law then who arrests them? (c) Q: And I realized that no matter who you were, or what extraordinary accomplishments you made, Topanga Beach was always bigger than you. All that mattered there was surfing. It was the great equalizer. (c) Q: Inside I was jumping for joy but I was careful not to let him see because that would only encourage him and then he’d ask for more. (c) Q: My brain protested. A wall of water is threatening to collapse onto you. Bail out. A voice, some kind of knowing force, told me—it opens up. It wraps around. You will fit inside. Impossible. A mountain is toppling and you are under it and you need to dive out of harm’s way. No. It bends and you fit inside. (c)

  3. 5 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    CRAZY FOR THE STORM is an unbelievable account of a young man's family struggles and an incredible story of survival as well. If you enjoy books likes INTO THE WILD, this is a great read!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cam45237

    I love survival stories and this one is an amazing true tale. 11 year old boy and his father are in a small plane that crashes high on a snow-covered mountain. The boy alone survives. This is the story of how his relationship with his free spirited, yet demanding father gave him the tools he needed to make it down the mountain. I was initially irritated by the alternating chapters (I just wanted to stay at the crash site), but as the book progressed I became more and more interested in the I love survival stories and this one is an amazing true tale. 11 year old boy and his father are in a small plane that crashes high on a snow-covered mountain. The boy alone survives. This is the story of how his relationship with his free spirited, yet demanding father gave him the tools he needed to make it down the mountain. I was initially irritated by the alternating chapters (I just wanted to stay at the crash site), but as the book progressed I became more and more interested in the underpinnings of his relationships with his parents, especially his father, and I looked forward to those chapters just as much. The book is a tiny bit technical about the worlds of skiing and surfing about which I know little, so occasionally I had trouble visualizing the action. Other than that I found the writing style straightforward and propulsive, though it fell a little short in the power of language and description of scene.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I admire Mr. Ollestad and I cannot imagine what he went through. I don't mean to diminish his story or the insights he gleans and shares with the reader in any way. If I were a surfing or skiing enthusiast, I'm sure I would appreciate the exhaustive attention to detail afforded those sports. I have been spoiled by reading the work of Jon Krakauer and Sebastian Junger. The chapter by chapter flashes back and forward are initially engaging but become tiresome rather quickly. Also, no matter how I admire Mr. Ollestad and I cannot imagine what he went through. I don't mean to diminish his story or the insights he gleans and shares with the reader in any way. If I were a surfing or skiing enthusiast, I'm sure I would appreciate the exhaustive attention to detail afforded those sports. I have been spoiled by reading the work of Jon Krakauer and Sebastian Junger. The chapter by chapter flashes back and forward are initially engaging but become tiresome rather quickly. Also, no matter how deeply ingrained such a horrific experience might be, it's hard to trust the level of detail presented here. That and the surfing minutiae feel like padding to me. I'm not sure the recounting of his summer with his dad and his struggle after the crash are enough material for a book. I would not have wanted to read a longer version of this book written in this style. I was motivated to read through quickly to the end. Had it been twice the length, I wouldn't have finished it. Edited to half the length, I might have enjoyed it more. But then again, that might not be long enough to constitute a book or spur hardcover sales. I bought it immediately due to the subject matter, read it in one day and sold it the next on Amazon. I would recommend waiting for the paperback edition.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Buggy

    Opening Line: “February 19,1979. At seven that morning my dad, his girlfriend Sandra and I took off from Santa Monica Airport headed for the mountains of Big Bear.” Set amid the wild uninhibited surf culture of Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970’s, Crazy For The Storm is a fascinating memoir that was hard to put down. It centers around 11 year old Norman Ollestad and the complicated relationship he had with his father. Demanding, charismatic and free-spirited, it is ultimately the thrill-seeking Opening Line: “February 19,1979. At seven that morning my dad, his girlfriend Sandra and I took off from Santa Monica Airport headed for the mountains of Big Bear.” Set amid the wild uninhibited surf culture of Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970’s, Crazy For The Storm is a fascinating memoir that was hard to put down. It centers around 11 year old Norman Ollestad and the complicated relationship he had with his father. Demanding, charismatic and free-spirited, it is ultimately the thrill-seeking lifestyle and continual test of skills that Norman Senior puts his son through which are responsible for saving his life, when the chartered Cessna carrying them to a ski championship goes down in the California mountains killing everyone else on board. This devastated 11 year old must then descend the treacherous icy mountain alone. Relying on tools subconsciously learned from an early age and with the voice of his father echoing in his ears “Go for it Boy Wonder. You can do it.” “The fog undulated, as if breathing and it lifted off the snow for a moment. Fifteen feet across the slope the pilot’s shoes wandered in disparate directions. His legs twisted in the snow. The hem of his shirt folded back and his belly was pale. Am I still asleep?” Now obviously if I’m reading his memoir then I know that Norman survives but there is still a huge element of suspense maintained throughout this story. The initial scenes with the plane crash are so riveting that at first I was super annoyed when the author decided to start alternating chapters back and forth between his life leading up to the crash and the hours directly after, I wanted to stay at the crash site. I’ll admit though I soon became equally engrossed in Norman’s unusual upbringing in Topanga beach, with its hippie culture, surfing lifestyle and his Mothers alcoholic and often violent boyfriend. Plus you never knew what adventure his father was going to drag him on next. There are several chapters devoted to a road trip he took into Mexico to deliver a washing machine to his grandparents. With his father’s mantra “This is life Ollestead,” they end up broke, on the run from trigger happy Federales and finally hiding out in a village eating mangoes and surfing the perfect waves while they try to figure out how to get their car fixed. His father may have been a charmer but he had dubious ideas when it came to parenting (the cover photo shows Norman at about a year old strapped to his father’s back while he surfs) He often placed his son in danger to challenge him and Norman both resented and idolized him and in my opinion was more than a little afraid of him. While the writing is fantastic it does tend to get a little technical with the skiing and snow terms and I had a hard time visualizing the crash site (the slope -a curtain of ice) so that I never really had a clear picture of what he was facing. From what I understand it does however contain some very good “surf writing”. I’m a real fan of true-life survival stories but this turned out to be more than a tale of adventure. Powerful and unforgettable, at its heart this is the story about the complex bond between fathers and sons, nurturing and teaching and what we pass on to our children. Leaving me close to tears at the end as we watch a grown Norman teach his own son how to ski and face his fears. Cheers 377jb4.5

  7. 4 out of 5

    AnnaMay

    So, I know this was supposed to be a phenomenal, amazing, outstanding account of a hair-raising experience. On the jacket cover it says, "May dads give it to their sons, may sons give it to their dads, and may all the mothers and daughters out there weep for the men they have known." Well, pahleeeese. I hadn't read the jacket cover before reading the book, and that's good, because my deflated feeling would have only be accentuated. I tried to keep an open mind as I read. I developed sympathy, at So, I know this was supposed to be a phenomenal, amazing, outstanding account of a hair-raising experience. On the jacket cover it says, "May dads give it to their sons, may sons give it to their dads, and may all the mothers and daughters out there weep for the men they have known." Well, pahleeeese. I hadn't read the jacket cover before reading the book, and that's good, because my deflated feeling would have only be accentuated. I tried to keep an open mind as I read. I developed sympathy, at first, for the author and the kind of life in which he was raised. I fancied myself skiing the slopes along with his dad (which says something of the good quality writing, as I've only skiied once and was terrible), and I even tried to visualize and appreciate the surfing extraodinaires and the great waves they rode. I tried to like the book. Overall, I ended up, like I said, deflated. The account of his being in a plane crash with his dad and the dad's girlfriend--that is what caught my eye. The kid was 11 and the only survivor--on a freezing mountain peak. Well, as it ends up, he was able to get down the mountain and be rescued in 9 hours. Maybe the jacket-cover designers should have put in that little bit of info. so the readers aren't expecting some horrific account of surviving in the wilderness for weeks or something. The layout of the book was catchy. He wrote about three pages in a chapter, it seemed, and would rotate between a chapter on the mountain peak and a chapter from his youth/relationship with his dad. The organization kept me reading, because I was really in it for the mountain-peak rescue. The chapters about his dad were well-written, but I was just so let down by the lifestyle represented. His dad was a really cool guy, but I was saddened to get the glimpse of a life that so many families lead. So broken. It's a wonder people turn out so well. Is society really falling apart that drastically, I wonder? I'm I really in such a bubble? I guess that was a saving grace of the book, that it brought me out of my bubble (to which I retreated as quicly as I could, relieved that my outlook on life isn't as bleak), and the writing was good. His dad was amazing, too. I wish he had more than good slopes and surfing to look forward to.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Though not quite as boastful or badly written, this book reminded me a lot of A Million Little Pieces (a book I abhor, and not for any of the reasons Oprah slammed it--please, all nonfiction is, to some degree, untrue, particularly memoir. I'm surprised that more people weren't offended by Frey's atrociously bad writing--I could barely read a quarter of the book, and I really tried to get through it. But that's another review . . . ) Crazy for the Storm chronicles eleven-year-old Ollestad's Though not quite as boastful or badly written, this book reminded me a lot of A Million Little Pieces (a book I abhor, and not for any of the reasons Oprah slammed it--please, all nonfiction is, to some degree, untrue, particularly memoir. I'm surprised that more people weren't offended by Frey's atrociously bad writing--I could barely read a quarter of the book, and I really tried to get through it. But that's another review . . . ) Crazy for the Storm chronicles eleven-year-old Ollestad's struggle to survive a small-plane crash in the San Gabriel Mountains, but mostly it's a story of the boy's relationship with his father. I love memoirs, and I love stories of survival. Into Thin Air is one of my favorite books, and after reading the description of Crazy for the Storm, I expected something similar. Unfortunately, Ollestad is just not a good story teller. His life may have been interesting, and certainly his plane crash survival is remarkable, but it doesn't make for good reading. Crazy for the Storm is indulgent and boring. I don't really care about an eleven-year-old's life epiphanies, and Ollestad fails to offer the reader anything besides those unexceptional childhood revelations. If you're looking for a good survival story, I suggest reading Jon Krakauer.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Crazy for the Storm is by man who was stranded alone on the side of an icey mountain when he was only 11 years old. The private plane he was on crashed, and all the adults--his dad, his dad's girlfriend, and the pilot died. He tells in excruciating detail what he went through to get to a meadow on the bottom of the mounatin alive. Those chapters alternate with chapters about his childhood on Topanga Beach. He lives with his mom and her abusive boyfriends and has scary, exciting adventures with Crazy for the Storm is by man who was stranded alone on the side of an icey mountain when he was only 11 years old. The private plane he was on crashed, and all the adults--his dad, his dad's girlfriend, and the pilot died. He tells in excruciating detail what he went through to get to a meadow on the bottom of the mounatin alive. Those chapters alternate with chapters about his childhood on Topanga Beach. He lives with his mom and her abusive boyfriends and has scary, exciting adventures with his dad who pushes and pushes him to more daring accomplishments in skiing and surfing when he is very young. Usually when an author does alternating plot lines in alternating chapters, one is so much more compelling that the other that I end up skipping every other chapter to read just the story I want to read and then go back and read the rest--or not. Not this time. Norman's life, a combination of terror, exhileration, anger, and love for his dad was as interesting as the day he spent on the side of that mountain--that one day that felt like centuries. After the ordeal Norman has to go back and live with his mom and her boyfriend without his dad, with the guilt of not saving his dad and the girlfriend, who did live a little while. I was thinking--nobody got this kid any therapy? Even when he got angry, aggressive, and mean? Very strange. He was neglected as well as abused. At the end of the book he goes back and finds out what really happened that day, why the plane. I really enjoyed this and read it in about 2 days. Couldn't put it down.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The reason I gave this book only two stars was because it was actually pretty boring. While I admire Ollestad and can't imagine surviving what he did, the infinite details about skiing and surfing were way above my head. I had no idea what he was describing most of the time, and he explains everything in excruciating detail. Every other chapter, for most of the book, describes the plane crash, and I found the chapters inbetween pretty boring, and after awhile it was really irritating the way The reason I gave this book only two stars was because it was actually pretty boring. While I admire Ollestad and can't imagine surviving what he did, the infinite details about skiing and surfing were way above my head. I had no idea what he was describing most of the time, and he explains everything in excruciating detail. Every other chapter, for most of the book, describes the plane crash, and I found the chapters inbetween pretty boring, and after awhile it was really irritating the way they alternated. I kind of skimmed a few chapters in between the plane crash chapters, especially during his trip to Mexico with his dad. The NONSTOP descriptions went on forever, and to be honest, I had NO clue what he was describing most of the time because it was all lingo that I had no idea about. Definitely would not read this again, it was way too boring for a memoir about a plane crash.

  11. 5 out of 5

    ej cullen

    A skinny memoir in search of an editor. How does one tell a 272 page story of a plane-crash in which your father, his girl-friend, and the pilot die and only you, an eleven-year old, survive, and somehow manage to continually and ultimately bore the reader to distraction? (He writes this 27 years after the event.) I learned self-serving banalities about surfboards, skiing, teenage parties, and on and on but precious little about the pre-crash/crash specifics. Not even a simple fleshing-out of A skinny memoir in search of an editor. How does one tell a 272 page story of a plane-crash in which your father, his girl-friend, and the pilot die and only you, an eleven-year old, survive, and somehow manage to continually and ultimately bore the reader to distraction? (He writes this 27 years after the event.) I learned self-serving banalities about surfboards, skiing, teenage parties, and on and on but precious little about the pre-crash/crash specifics. Not even a simple fleshing-out of the characters (especially the seemingly inept pilot) and the others on the plane. Where are Krakauer and Junger when you need them?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alyce (At Home With Books)

    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 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book's subtitle, 'A Memoir of Survival,' is very appropriate. Eleven year old Norman survives the plane crash that kills his father, his father's girlfriend, and the pilot. Chapters about the crash are juxtaposed with those about Norman's childhood, especially his relationship with his father. His father, also a Norman, is a charismatic optimist, who involves his son in lots of adventures and misadventures. Sometimes he comes across as being downright careless when it comes to his son's The book's subtitle, 'A Memoir of Survival,' is very appropriate. Eleven year old Norman survives the plane crash that kills his father, his father's girlfriend, and the pilot. Chapters about the crash are juxtaposed with those about Norman's childhood, especially his relationship with his father. His father, also a Norman, is a charismatic optimist, who involves his son in lots of adventures and misadventures. Sometimes he comes across as being downright careless when it comes to his son's safety. Some of his adventures with his father, when they weren't scaring him to death, actually increased his self confidence. This creates a conflict in the author when he has his own son. Thrusting his son out into a bigger, more dangerous world, or protecting him. The author discusses his dilemma in the epilogue. It seems to me he is finding the proper way to toe the line between irresponsibility in protecting his son's safety and introducing him to adventures that increase his self-confidence and competence. The books has a wonderful pace, and the author is very good at placing the reader in the moment. His descriptive prowess paints pictures that evoke an emotional response, for example, "She flipped over and dove. She swam along the white ocear floor, her brown color beautiful like a trail of brown sugar." Also, "At dawn we scoped out the surf and it was clean. The waves were too small for my dad but he hooted after each ride anyway. He never gets bummed about things the way I do..." Growing up on Topanga Beach in Malibu and living between his parents, who've separated and now have other lovers was just the way of life for Norman Ollestad's. A coming of age story, a survival memoir, and a relationship manual for fathers and sons and the people who love them, 'Crazy For The Storm,' speaks to the heart, but never gets too sentimental.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pessolano

    The book is sub-titled, "A Memoir of Survival". This book is a memoir of the life of Norman Ollestad, however, very little has to do with his surviving a plane crash. Yes, he was in a plane that hit an 8,600 ft mountain during a blizzard. The crash killed the pilot and Norman's father instantly. His father's girlfriend, Sandra, survived but later died in an attempt to find help. Norman, who was eleven at the time of the crash, was able to use the mental and physcial skills that were taught by his The book is sub-titled, "A Memoir of Survival". This book is a memoir of the life of Norman Ollestad, however, very little has to do with his surviving a plane crash. Yes, he was in a plane that hit an 8,600 ft mountain during a blizzard. The crash killed the pilot and Norman's father instantly. His father's girlfriend, Sandra, survived but later died in an attempt to find help. Norman, who was eleven at the time of the crash, was able to use the mental and physcial skills that were taught by his father to survive the crash. The greatest part of this book is about Norman's upbringing. He tells of how his father drove him to attain excellence in everything that he did. He was also confronted with a divorce and having to deal with a step-father that may have not been an ideal figurhead. A large part of the bookk deals with Norman and his father's trip to Mexico, which reads like a travelogue to not ever set foot in that country. The book switches back and forth from his early childhood to the plane crash and presents a choppy picture for the reader. The book ends with Norman debating how he will bring his own son up, will he follow the course his father set for him, or take a different route. I thought the book was not put together very well and definately felt I was misled by the title and some of the advanced publicity.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I find myself disliking the subject of most memoirs, the author. This generally means that I don't typicallay read them ... why hang out with some self indulgent, egocentric, narcissist for hours and hours while they talk about their favorite subject: themselves? I didn't like hanging out with jeanette Walls, I really didn't like hanging out with Elizabeth Gilbert and, most recently, I ultimately didn't like the author of Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven because, of course, the book concludes I find myself disliking the subject of most memoirs, the author. This generally means that I don't typicallay read them ... why hang out with some self indulgent, egocentric, narcissist for hours and hours while they talk about their favorite subject: themselves? I didn't like hanging out with jeanette Walls, I really didn't like hanging out with Elizabeth Gilbert and, most recently, I ultimately didn't like the author of Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven because, of course, the book concludes with her becoming absolutely fabulous as a result of her traumatic trip to China with a psycho paranoid college buddy. Despite this, I found Crazy for the Storm to be fascinating, and it wasn't because it's primary subject, the author, lived to tell about it. The author's father, and in sharp contrast his mother, are the stars of the show. The book feels as if it was written by an adult child, who can't help but subconsciously vilify and deify them with his narrative voice. Its what the author doesn't come out and say, possibly can't even articulate, that is the most haunting part of this story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    As others have commented, this book can be a bit frustrating in its structure, given that it "bills" itself as a survival story, yet keeps alternating to chapters about the author's earlier childhood that are significantly longer than the survival chapters. Yet, perhaps this imbalance is a necessity, considering that the survival ordeal only lasted 11 (albeit harrowing) hours. But really, the book is centered around a compelling contradiction: it is his father's very reckless passion for life As others have commented, this book can be a bit frustrating in its structure, given that it "bills" itself as a survival story, yet keeps alternating to chapters about the author's earlier childhood that are significantly longer than the survival chapters. Yet, perhaps this imbalance is a necessity, considering that the survival ordeal only lasted 11 (albeit harrowing) hours. But really, the book is centered around a compelling contradiction: it is his father's very reckless passion for life that puts the author in this predicament, yet also these same lessons and passions that allow him to function incredibly in a disastrous situation and survive. The book is made more compelling by the perhaps one-fifth of the book that follows the closure of the survival episode proper, which recounts his residual post traumatic stress disorder (without calling it that), his healing through reconnecting with his love for the outdoors, and his struggles to parent his own son with a greater level of caution that does not eclipse the "joie de vie" he learned and treasured from his own father.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    First, before I get to the praise, I have to confess a niggling skepticism about this memoir (thanks, James Frey! I didn't even read your "A Million Little Pieces" and its lies and half-truths are still casting shadows of doubt over the other memoirs I read.) In this case, my doubts stem less from riveting story itself and more from just wondering how an adult can remember events and interpersonal exchanges (that took place when he was a kid) so vividly. That said, it truly is a GRIPPING First, before I get to the praise, I have to confess a niggling skepticism about this memoir (thanks, James Frey! I didn't even read your "A Million Little Pieces" and its lies and half-truths are still casting shadows of doubt over the other memoirs I read.) In this case, my doubts stem less from riveting story itself and more from just wondering how an adult can remember events and interpersonal exchanges (that took place when he was a kid) so vividly. That said, it truly is a GRIPPING story--and not just during the defining event, a plane crash the author survived at age 11. The writing itself is a feat: combining the emotions and actions of a young boy who has seen too much to fully process (again, not just the crash) with the lovely prose of a seasoned writer. It's complete with beautiful imagery, apt metaphors, and detailed descriptions intended to put the reader right there with him, be it the late 1970's Topanga Canyon/Beach scene where he grew up, or the treacherous snow-covered mountain into which the plane crashed. Author Norman Ollestad introduces readers to his father, a larger-than-life guy if ever there was one. He is charismatic, energetic, and has led a pretty astonishing life. His love for Norman runs very deep, but is often manifested through pushing Norman to excel & take on challenging/dangerous conditions in skiing, surfing, etc. The author maintains that his dad in essence became the voice in his head, and that it in fact contributed (or outright led) to his survival. Yet as much as he clearly puts his father on a pedestal, he is able to humanize him, something he also does with his mother and her boyfriend to varying degrees: acknowleging what they have done for him and how they have cared for him, while exposing their shortcomings in a way that is somehow restrained from self-pity. Readers will likely become quite engaged with the author and his story. I expect this book to stick with me longer than most. You can't help but root for Norman, both the boy struggling to make it to safety following the crash, as well as the man, now father to a son, as he endeavors to honor his young son's feelings and his father's legacy at the same time...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    I gave this book a lower rating than I normally would as I felt there was just waaay too much filler information. Just get to the 'real' story already!!! I find these types of books frustrating to read. Mr. Ollestad had more than enough information regarding his lone descent down the mountain after a plane crash and his subsequent rescue to make the book quite enjoyable. However, adding all the filler information in every other chapter took away from the drama of the real story. All in all, still I gave this book a lower rating than I normally would as I felt there was just waaay too much filler information. Just get to the 'real' story already!!! I find these types of books frustrating to read. Mr. Ollestad had more than enough information regarding his lone descent down the mountain after a plane crash and his subsequent rescue to make the book quite enjoyable. However, adding all the filler information in every other chapter took away from the drama of the real story. All in all, still a good book and I would recommend it to others with a warning about the overload of filler information. From Back Cover: "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 1970's, the 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."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    Man, people are pretty harsh about this book! But I get it. The way Ollestad switches back and forth each chapter between the plane crash and the year or so leading up to it definitely take some getting used to. I actually found both parts of his story really interesting though, and I feel like the final chapters about the aftermath of the crash really tie everything together. In the end, I don't even really feel like this is a book about a kid who is the sole survivor of a plane crash, but it's Man, people are pretty harsh about this book! But I get it. The way Ollestad switches back and forth each chapter between the plane crash and the year or so leading up to it definitely take some getting used to. I actually found both parts of his story really interesting though, and I feel like the final chapters about the aftermath of the crash really tie everything together. In the end, I don't even really feel like this is a book about a kid who is the sole survivor of a plane crash, but it's more the story of a kid's relationship with his dad, and how it changes after losing his father in a plane crash that he himself survives, and after he becomes a father himself. And I feel like you really get to know his father well through the parts of the story that happen before the crash and it wouldn't be nearly as powerful a book without them. Anyway, I liked it. So there.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    This is a tough book to both rate [I am rating it a high 3] and review. If you rate it low, you are a heartless person who cares little about a little boy who barely survived a plane crash that kills everyone else on board and if you rate it high, you are saying that it is well-written, riveting and that the audiobook [IF that is how you are experiencing this book] is also excellent and in this case, this would be somewhat of a lie. There are moments that are riveting [the crash itself and the This is a tough book to both rate [I am rating it a high 3] and review. If you rate it low, you are a heartless person who cares little about a little boy who barely survived a plane crash that kills everyone else on board and if you rate it high, you are saying that it is well-written, riveting and that the audiobook [IF that is how you are experiencing this book] is also excellent and in this case, this would be somewhat of a lie. There are moments that are riveting [the crash itself and the aftermath are very riveting and I {like many other reviewers} would have liked the book more if there had been more concentration on that and less on Mexico, let's say] and there are moments of "O M G did that really just happen?" and "O M G DID HE JUST SAY, DO, LET THAT HAPPEN to his son" which both will anger you and make you sad and make you just shake your head. There are moments where I was genuinely upset for Norman and his growing up - his father was a bohemian who's childhood was not what he wanted and so he strove to live vicariously through his son [and yes, the things that he taught "Little Norman" helped keep him alive on that mountain, but also instilled in him things that he is still dealing with an adult with his own children] and pushed him and pushed him hard and the result was that he had an athletic amazing son, who was also rebellious and pouty and whiny [there were moments when I was like "Okay Luke Skywalker, suck it up already <--this was pre-crash because LS is the whiniest person/character I know] and also put his son in tremendous danger over and over again and just brushed it off as "learning experiences" <--THAT was insanely tough to read. That and the way his Mom just ignored the blatant abuse that her boyfriend Nick would inflict on Norman and those moments just about mad me lose my mind. I just will never understand that kind of attitude from a parent. But the biggest issue I had was this: Here is this 11 year old boy who survives a deadly plane crash and yet he is barely allowed to grieve the loss of his beloved father, is told at 12 that he needs to get a job [by the "lovely" boyfriend - WHO THE HECK tells a 12 year old that??] and is constantly abused at the hands of said boyfriend and truly is barely able to figure out how to love with the idea that he survived something his beloved father did not. It is absolutely infuriating and very, very, sad. And it takes many, many years for him to finally figure it all out and finally grieve all that he lost. This is a good story that is poorly written - does that make sense? Perhaps its because I too was born in SoCo [Southern California] and know both the areas he lived in [Topanga Canyon - YES freaking please] and I also know both the surf and skiing lingo, it made it easier to read between the lines and see the story for what it really could have been [with a better editor]. I was able to see the bones of the book and see [in my mind] what a really great book this could have been with some tweaking. As it is, it is still a good book - you will feel all the feels. The narration is another story. The author narrates [and I understand his reasoning behind that], but a good narrator he is not and there were moments of...boredom? frustration? eye-rolling? All of the above? Yes. Yes. And absolutely yes. I truly wish that he had someone else [who was a better narrator] read this story. But again, that is me and I am sure there will be people who enjoyed his performance. A note about this book: There is a LOT of swearing. And penis talk. And sex talk. And talk about nudity [Topanga Beach at the time the author lived there was mostly a nude beach]. And S W E A R I N G. I am not a prude and can use that sort of language should the occasion call for it. but WOW. And there is a scene when the author turns 13 about what happens with 13 year old boys that is semi-graphic and if you are not into reading about such things, this book [with all the sex, swearing and penis talk] really might not be for you. There were moments where it was borderline off-putting for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shelah

    In February 1979, a small plane crashed in the San Gabriel Mountains of California. The pilot and two passengers died. Several hours later, an eleven year-old boy walked into the village at the bottom of the slope, the lone survivor. How did he survive? Was it good luck? What kind of eleven-year-old can make it down the practically-vertical face of a snow-covered mountain by himself? Ollestad tells his story, both how he survived, and how his father (who died in the crash) prepared him, with a In February 1979, a small plane crashed in the San Gabriel Mountains of California. The pilot and two passengers died. Several hours later, an eleven year-old boy walked into the village at the bottom of the slope, the lone survivor. How did he survive? Was it good luck? What kind of eleven-year-old can make it down the practically-vertical face of a snow-covered mountain by himself? Ollestad tells his story, both how he survived, and how his father (who died in the crash) prepared him, with a childhood of adrenaline-charged experiences, for the fight of his life. The memoir follows a fairly common format: one chapter describing his fight for survival on the mountain, followed by a chapter focusing on the backstory, repeated many times. While I sort of hate to say it, the survival chapters seemed kind of thin-- the was only on the mountain for a span of hours, so each of those chapters was relatively short-- a page or two, while the chapters about his childhood leading up to the accident were rich, and so extreme that they were almost unbelievable. Ollestad and his father were en route to a ski awards ceremony in Northern California at the time of the accident, and Ollestad would have been named the best (one of the best?) skiers in California. But it wasn't just skiing at which he excelled-- he was also a standout at surfing, skateboarding, football and hockey, primarily because his father allowed him no fear and pushed him to (and sometimes even beyond) the limits of what a little boy could handle. As a mother of a similarly-aged (although much less-awarded) boy, I can see that what Ollestad's father provided him with allowed him to escape with his life, but how much of the struggles he faced as a teenager after the accident came because he missed his father or resented his mother and how much were a result of missing his childhood?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Surprisingly worthwhile, and clearly not for everyone, this book grew on me, warts and all. First and foremost, an epic survivor's tale, it details a tragic father-son relationship in an other-wordly surfing culture (which I simply cannot relate to) with forays into skiing and travel (with which I'm far more familiar, but which bear no resemblance to any of my (far more mundane) experiences). The remarkable (and seemingly squandered) talent of both father and son pervade the yarn. I picked this Surprisingly worthwhile, and clearly not for everyone, this book grew on me, warts and all. First and foremost, an epic survivor's tale, it details a tragic father-son relationship in an other-wordly surfing culture (which I simply cannot relate to) with forays into skiing and travel (with which I'm far more familiar, but which bear no resemblance to any of my (far more mundane) experiences). The remarkable (and seemingly squandered) talent of both father and son pervade the yarn. I picked this up in the airport jack-of-all-trades store with low expectations; then I couldn't put it down. I don't disagree with the (many) critics that concluded that the writing lacks flair, beauty, or even sophistication; and I believe a good editor could have propelled this book into classic status. But the story is both unique and, in parts, incredible (in the truest sense of the word). The author's childhood experience, which he narrated many decades later, is frightening, inspirational, depressing, and, all to often, inexplicable. Parenting in complicated business, and the father-son bond prompts any number of pathologies, but the author describes a relationship that teters between creatively supportive and criminally abusive - somehow leading him to (at least in the short term) one redemptive moment. Kudos to the author for not sugar-coating the realities of his painfully dysfunctional family. I'm sure there was catharsis in writing the book. Unfortunately, I was left wondering how the author traversed the undiscussed decades that, apparently, led him to some type of normal, stable existence today. Overall, however, well worth the time invested....

  23. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Obviously, if you read a memoir by a plane crash survivor there’s no suspense as to whether or not he survived but what Ollestad does so well is alternate short, concisely written chapters about key moments in his life leading up to this with the scenario he is faced with on the mountain. He really gets inside the mentality that was needed to believe that he could survive and how this was instilled in him, often in ways that he wasn’t so happy about at the time, by his dad who pushed him to Obviously, if you read a memoir by a plane crash survivor there’s no suspense as to whether or not he survived but what Ollestad does so well is alternate short, concisely written chapters about key moments in his life leading up to this with the scenario he is faced with on the mountain. He really gets inside the mentality that was needed to believe that he could survive and how this was instilled in him, often in ways that he wasn’t so happy about at the time, by his dad who pushed him to excel at ski racing, hockey and surfing. His father first took him surfing in a sling on his back when “Little” Norm was a toddler! Apparently the writing has been compared to Hemingway (an author I'm not overly fond of, probably because we had to read him in school) but I think the comparison has to do with the spare prose. Not a word is wasted and the narrative doesn't let up once he comes down off the mountain. Because then he has to deal with his anger & grief over losing his father in the crash and trying to figure out how to go on without this very central, charismatic man who sometimes pushed him beyond endurance.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    I've had a copy of this one for a while, but finally picked it up yesterday morning. Couldn't put it down, and was done by the next morning. It reads fast, but not fluffy. Norm tells the true story of surviving a plane crash at age 11 where he had to get down a mountain in a storm, alone, and alternates chapters of that experience with chapters about growing up with his dad, who died in the crash. He explains how his dad's pushing him hard and early in skiing, surfing, and hockey prepared him to I've had a copy of this one for a while, but finally picked it up yesterday morning. Couldn't put it down, and was done by the next morning. It reads fast, but not fluffy. Norm tells the true story of surviving a plane crash at age 11 where he had to get down a mountain in a storm, alone, and alternates chapters of that experience with chapters about growing up with his dad, who died in the crash. He explains how his dad's pushing him hard and early in skiing, surfing, and hockey prepared him to survive, and also how the crash experience and a rough step-father forced him to work through anger issues. What I liked most was the ending, where he is trying very hard to balance the good he got from his father's pushing with the patience and calm to let his own son learn sports at a more sane and fun pace. That desire to improve upon what you were taught makes me encouraged. If only we could all do that, and I admire the effort.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    If I had to judge the author from this one book, I would say he is a man child who never actually grew up. Some of the experiences and moments he chose to include in this memoir have nothing to do with his main story (how his dad and their relationship gave him the keys to survive on an icy mountain alone). It reads more like the point of view of a 14 year old boy in the midst of puberty and the stories he tells to his buddies, which are likely half fact half fiction. It is hard to tell how much If I had to judge the author from this one book, I would say he is a man child who never actually grew up. Some of the experiences and moments he chose to include in this memoir have nothing to do with his main story (how his dad and their relationship gave him the keys to survive on an icy mountain alone). It reads more like the point of view of a 14 year old boy in the midst of puberty and the stories he tells to his buddies, which are likely half fact half fiction. It is hard to tell how much of this memoir is fact or fiction because of his self aggrandizement. Don't even get me started on the terrible parenting exhibited in this book if it happens to be more fact than fiction. This could have been a compelling story without all of the extra crap. I recommend everyone pass on this one, it's not worth the journey into a disturbed teens mind.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Like father/son books? How about surfing books? Downhill racing? Wilderness adventure? CRAZY FOR THE STORM is all of the above rolled into one. Big Norman, a definite throwback to the overbearing, pushy, loving dad, pushes Little Norman to the limit. The L'il guy loves to hate it (or hates to love it, maybe), but it all helps him to survive major hardship in the end. That is, Boy Wonder survives the Chapter One plane crash that takes his dad. Back and forth go the alternating chapters between Like father/son books? How about surfing books? Downhill racing? Wilderness adventure? CRAZY FOR THE STORM is all of the above rolled into one. Big Norman, a definite throwback to the overbearing, pushy, loving dad, pushes Little Norman to the limit. The L'il guy loves to hate it (or hates to love it, maybe), but it all helps him to survive major hardship in the end. That is, Boy Wonder survives the Chapter One plane crash that takes his dad. Back and forth go the alternating chapters between the crash/survival scenes and the year leading up to it. After a slow start, it grows on you (as does the Lovable Ole Overbearing Lug of a Dad). Clean, straightforward writing style. A couple of clunkers, syntax-wise, but overall, not bad -- not bad at all.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Strange

    I don't recommend this book. The story is gripping enough: an 11 year old survives the crash of the private plane taking him and his father and his father's girlfriend, along with the plane's pilot, to the boy's ski competition. The rest of the book details how he survives, though injured, the harrowing struggle to reach civilization. The problem with the book is his father's lifestyle and the attitudes that it has bred into this man, attitudes that get in the way of the story. Besides the very I don't recommend this book. The story is gripping enough: an 11 year old survives the crash of the private plane taking him and his father and his father's girlfriend, along with the plane's pilot, to the boy's ski competition. The rest of the book details how he survives, though injured, the harrowing struggle to reach civilization. The problem with the book is his father's lifestyle and the attitudes that it has bred into this man, attitudes that get in the way of the story. Besides the very casual attitude toward any kind of morality, the language demeans my values. (For instance, he causally refers repeatedly to his father's sexual liaisons with women as his father f-ing this woman or another, which shows his demeaning attitude toward this part of life).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Ok this should have been a good book - a great book but it wasn't. I think you could've read the little blurb on the front cover and been good. It was about a boy involved in a plane crash with his father and father's girlfriend (true story) and the 11 year old boy at the time (the now 40 something author) was the only one to survive. Interesting and intriguing right? Wrong. The story was pretty much told in the first chapter and the rest of the book went back and forth between him getting down Ok this should have been a good book - a great book but it wasn't. I think you could've read the little blurb on the front cover and been good. It was about a boy involved in a plane crash with his father and father's girlfriend (true story) and the 11 year old boy at the time (the now 40 something author) was the only one to survive. Interesting and intriguing right? Wrong. The story was pretty much told in the first chapter and the rest of the book went back and forth between him getting down the mountain (boring) and his life growing up with his father which wasn't that interesting (sorry). The language is this book was bad and kind of juvenile - the way he used crude and vulgarities reminded me of a teenage boy. Skip this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    At times the storyline abruptly changes from "the incident" to "life with Dad / StepDad / Mom" - a bit annoying. The story of the crash and what follows are compelling enough to not want to be pulled away, especially to what initially seems to be a less interesting and negative situation. As the story progresses, you begin to see how the life lessons he learns from his abusive stepfather and the things he's learned from his Dad are what ultimately see him through everything post-crash.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Outstanding. An unbelievable story of an amazing man and his extraordinary father. I didn't want it to end. At times his surfing jargon was a bit hard to decipher, but it was worth it. Some people would call his father's parenting child abuse, especially in this time when we coddle our kids. But we understand how much more meaning his life has because of his father's intensity. I can't believe I didn't know about this book until now.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.