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Crazy for the Storm

Cover of Crazy for the Storm

Crazy for the Storm

A Memoir of Survival
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"Breathtaking....Crazy for the Storm will keep you up late into the night."
—Washington Post Book World

Norman Olstead's New York Times bestselling memoir Crazy for the Storm is the story of the harrowing plane crash the author miraculously survived at age eleven, framed by the moving tale of his complicated relationship with his charismatic, adrenaline-addicted father. Destined to stand with other classic true stories of man against nature—Into Thin Air and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer; Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm—it is a literary triumph that novelist Russell Banks (Affliction) calls, "A heart-stopping story beautifully told....Norman Olstead has written a book that may well be read for generations."

"Breathtaking....Crazy for the Storm will keep you up late into the night."
—Washington Post Book World

Norman Olstead's New York Times bestselling memoir Crazy for the Storm is the story of the harrowing plane crash the author miraculously survived at age eleven, framed by the moving tale of his complicated relationship with his charismatic, adrenaline-addicted father. Destined to stand with other classic true stories of man against nature—Into Thin Air and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer; Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm—it is a literary triumph that novelist Russell Banks (Affliction) calls, "A heart-stopping story beautifully told....Norman Olstead has written a book that may well be read for generations."

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About 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 a nine-year-old son.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 23, 2009
    In a spare, brisk prose, Ollestad tells the tragic story of the pivotal event of his life, an airplane crash into the side of a mountain that cost three lives, including his father’s, in 1979. Only 11 years old at the time, he alone survived, using the athletic skills he learned in competitive downhill skiing, amid the twisted wreckage, the bodies and the bone-chilling cold of the blizzard atop the 8,600-foot mountain. Although the narrative core of the memoir remains the horrifying plane crackup into the San Gabriel Mountains, its warm, complex soul is conveyed by the loving relationship between the former FBI agent father and his son, affectionately called the “Boy Wonder,” during the golden childhood years spent in wild, freewheeling Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s. Ollestad’s unyielding concentration on the themes of courage, love and endurance seep into every character portrait, every scene, making this book an inspiring, fascinating read.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 31, 2009
    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).

  • New York Post "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."
  • Chicago Tribune "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."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Riveting."
  • Washington Post Book World "Breathtaking...A portrait of a father's consuming love for his son, Crazy for the Storm will keep you up late into the night."
  • Janet Maslin, New York Times "Tragic and exotic ...[with] short, punchy chapters and...nonstop emphasis on adrenaline-fueled excitement."
  • Los Angeles Magazine "A page-turning adventure tale . . . and a meditation on manhood."
  • 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."
  • Pulitzer Prize–winner Lucinda Franks, author of My Father's Secret War "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."
  • Carolyn See "As much a thriller as a memoir . . . gorgeously written, perfectly controlled."
  • Susan Cheever "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."
  • Russell Banks "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."
  • Kirkus Reviews "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."
  • Houston Chronicle "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."
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    HarperCollins
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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A Memoir of Survival
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