March 24, 2010

April 2010: Crazy for the Storm

"Crazy for the Storm" by Norman Ollestad

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. --From Publishers Weekly

Jerilyn: Loved the book!! It was a fast read with a great life lesson around how the hard times of life can prepare you for challenges to come.

This book was a perfect blend for me--I enjoyed the suspense and detail of the trek down the mountain and I loved the background stories of the author's childhood even more. The thought of a 10-year-old surviving a plane crash on a mountain in a snowstorm is unbelieveable but his past was so wild and chaotic and explained how he could survive anything. The epilogue about the author going back to the scene years later and talking with another pilot about what went wrong was heartbreaking. All in all, I loved this book!!!

Becca: Crazy for the Storm was a quick, inspirational read. I loved reading about someone's childhood that was basically opposite of anything I had known.

Chari: Really enjoyed this book and thought relationship between father and son was interesting. I liked reading about life in late 70s in southern California.

Kerry: I enjoyed this book, I was amazed at Norman's strength and thought a lot about how to teach that strength to a child. I also liked the way the book was organized with one chapter in the past and one in the present.

Amanda: Great story! Wish the ending was better. :(

I wasn't crazy for it but I was entertained.

Aday: Tedious and filled with too many irrelevant details. It's more about his life growing up on the beach than a survival story from a plane crash. Ho-hum.

Holly: I had no idea ice could be described in so many ways.

Jen S.:
Best way to get through this memoir is to read every other chapter.