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Friday, July 23, 2010

Crazy for the Storm

by Norman Ollestad
304 pages

Ollestad's Crazy for the Storm Large Print (Crazy for the Storm LP: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad (Paperback - June 2, 2009) - Large Print)*** About the Book ***

You can read my summary or you can check out this excellent video from Nightline that includes photos and video of Norm as a child before and after the crash.

By age 11 Norm was an accomplished skier, surfer, ice hockey and football player. Most of his activities were directed by his father who drove him mercilessly to experience everything and push himself beyond what he thought he could bear. Most of the time Norm just wanted to be a kid and he resented his father for all the pressure he put on him.

Just after Norm won his first skiing trophy in 1979, disaster struck. The small plane carrying Norm, his father, his father's girlfriend, and the pilot crashed into the side of an mountain. Norm woke up on a steep, icy slope thousands of feet above the nearest sign of civilization. Drawing on all the skills and strength his father instilled in him, he spend the next nine hours scrambling down the treacherous slopes ... all alone.

This is a true story.

*** Why I Read It ***

I first heard about this book in the Reading Group Guides newsletter last summer. Then I won a copy from At Home With Books. I've had it on my shelf for quite a while and decided that I had to read it this year for the 2010 TBR Challenge and the Non-Fiction Five Challenge.

*** My Thoughts ***

In alternating chapters Norm tells the story of the crash and his survival as well as the story of his unorthodox childhood.  Each part of the story was fascinating but the alternating chapters got bothersome after a while; it seemed that just when I was getting into a particular story, all of a sudden I was thrust back into the other story.

As for Norm's childhood and survival experiences themselves, they are utterly fascinating.  It is clear that his father loved him very much but his parenting style was rather "unique" to say the least.  It doesn't seem that he was pushing his son so hard in order to get something out of it for himself as a father, but rather that he wanted to give Norm the chance to experience life to the fullest whether Norm wanted to or not. Still, reading about it was painful at times.  Then to see how Norm survived the crash ... well, let's just say that I doubt I could have done it!

I love survival stories like this, especially those about people surviving the cold, so I expected to love this book.  I can't say that it lived up to my expectations but I did enjoy it.

*** Your Thoughts ***

The only review I know of it from At Home With Books - did I miss yours?


Helen's Book Blog said...

I felt the same. I really wanted to be totally engrossed in this book and wasn't. It was ok, not great.

bermudaonion said...

This does sound interesting. I can't help but wonder what his dad's motivation was for pushing him like that, though.

Trisha said...

I must admit that I prefer my survivor stories as movies rather than books. Bad Trisha!

Alyce said...

I think the most astonishing aspect of the book (aside from his survival) was how hard his dad pushed him and the things he was encouraged to do at a young age.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This sounds so good! I am looking for this one on my next book store trip (which is always soon).:D

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Helen's Book Blog - Glad to know I'm not alone in that. I just feel like it COULD have been so much better.

bermudaonion - It is explained somewhat in the video and more so in the book - it seemed his dad simply wanted him to experience the pure joy that he himself felt when surfing or skiing or whatever.

Trisha - See, now, I'm the exact opposite - I'd rather read about them. But when it comes to dystopian themed stories I can't stand to read them but I love the movie versions ... go figure!

Alyce - I kept comparing him to Kiddo (who is 8 now) and thinking that I could NEVER make/let my child do some of those things. I'm sure you were thinking the same thing!

Sheila - I hope you enjoy it - the story really is amazing.

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