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Extended Audio Sample Crazy for the Storm, by Norman Ollestad Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,552 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Norman Ollestad Narrator: Norman Ollestad Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. Yet it was these exhilarating tests of skill that 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, his father, his father's girlfriend, and the pilot crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains and was suspended at 8,200 feet, engulfed in a blizzard. 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 1970s, this riveting memoir 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Tragic and exotic…adrenaline-fueled excitement.”

    New York Times

  • “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

  • “If Norman Ollestad’s book was just a survival memoir, it would still be an unusually good one…But the book is much more than this…Crazy for the Storm is a wonderful book, extremely moving and beautifully written in a spare yet richly evocative style. It’s also as good a dissection of the relationship between a father and a son as I have ever read.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “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

  • “Never a dull moment…A beautiful story about a thrill-loving father…who taught his boy not just how to live, but how to thrive.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “In humble sentences and abrupt dialogue he recounts the profound emotional lessons gleaned from enviable, yet infuriating, bonding experiences with his dad. Ollestad re-creates the characters who molded his youth, narrating in but a single voice, but crafting ardent personalities with inflection and rhythm.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An iTunes Best Nonfiction Pick for the Summer
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • An Amazon Top 10 Book of 2009
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • Selected for the June 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Corrine | 2/20/2014

    " A fast and interesting read. Something fascinating about how people were raised differently. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jen VB | 1/24/2014

    " Just started this book yesterday and I'm hooked...a quick read, I am almost half way finished. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kim Bessette | 1/8/2014

    " This was a break from a number of mountaineering books I had been reading, but some of the same theme, with albeit a different twist. I enjoyed the chapters switching between the plane crash and the earlier years. The father instilled in his son a "can do" attitude, even if some of it was brought about through some recklessness. We can push ourselves, and often must. Another enjoyable memoir. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Joanne | 12/26/2013

    " I guess I expected something different - this was more about the author' growing up and past experiences than the actual survival of the plane crash/storm. Also not fond of the writing style - a big disappointment :( "

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