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Extended Audio Sample Crazy for the Storm Audiobook, by Norman Ollestad Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.92 out of 52.92 out of 52.92 out of 52.92 out of 52.92 out of 5 2.92 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Norman Ollestad Narrator: Norman Ollestad Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2009 ISBN: 9780061901928
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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.”

    AudioFile

  • 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 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 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 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 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 :( "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Courtney | 12/21/2013

    " If Chris McCandles had survived in the wild he would have grown up to be the father in Crazy for the Storm. Great story- language is simple. Extreme athletes would like this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greg | 12/16/2013

    " Memoir, flashes back between memories of author's father and a plane crash in a mountainous area during winter. Flashbacks of author's life mostly recount how awesome his Dad was. Plane crash is described sporadically through book. Overall not a great "survival" story, and basically the kid just keeps going and eventually gets lucky and runs into someone. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ray | 12/3/2013

    " I tend to like books more when I like or can associate with the characters. In this book, I didn't like the portrayal of Norman Ollestad's mother, his mother's boyfriend, the father, the father's girlfriend, or the description of Norm's teenage years. And while a plane crash is a horrible experience, especially when the pilot, the father, the father's girlfriend all perish, and the boy is the lone survivor, the survival story is very minor compared to the story of the boy's youth and upbringing. Also limiting my enjoyment was the fact that I listened to this as an audiobook, and generally don't care much for books read by the author. Professional readers seem to bring much more to the story. Overall, the book was a little more disturbing than interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lahni | 11/26/2013

    " This is a book I was excited to read but it was a disappointment. The survival stuff, both during the tradjedy and after were good but the book really bogged down with all the flashback parts in Mexico. It got in the way rather than helped the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jaynie | 11/15/2013

    " Current book club reading. I enjoyed the book although I found it very sad on different levels. I did not care for the writing style. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mandi | 11/5/2013

    " This book was just okay. I expected a lot more from it. I thought the story and experience of the crash would be a larger part of the book but it alternated between the crash and his childhood w/his mom and her boyfriend and his dad. This was an easy read but it just didnt really hold my interest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vanessa | 10/28/2013

    " This was a book I found difficult to put down! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Susan | 8/9/2013

    " Although I could understand the backstory presented in this survival memoir, I could understand not one word of the explanation of what was going on during his harrowing experience. Read as part of my own wilderness series. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/9/2013

    " If you are a surfer, you will probably love this book. I was more into the survival story, so I skimmed some of the surfing info. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 PW | 4/22/2013

    " I hadn't heard of this true story before - good book to read while flying back from a ski trip ;) and it's a quick read! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenna | 4/6/2013

    " I always love to read a touching story but this one wasn't as touching as I wanted it to be. Yes, it was sad that his father passed away but it didn't dig deep into anything. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaitron | 4/4/2013

    " I can't believe this is a true story; if it were fiction, I would be annoyed because it is so unbelievable. I don't even know if I like this book yet or not (I am 1/2way through), but I can't stop reading it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cory verner | 2/24/2013

    " Good story in many ways but the writing was incredibly forced. Too much detail in many areas and not enough in others. I just could not get excited about the book or the author's life. I wanted to, really. I am sucker for survival stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina Campanelli | 2/7/2012

    " Have met the author, had a discussion with him and I enjoyed the book, but some of it seems fabricated. An 11 year old boy survives insurmountable odds. I believe much but? It is a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli | 11/3/2011

    " This boy did amazing things to survive due to a father that tuaght him to not be afraid...recommend "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 10/11/2011

    " Gripping survival tale combined with a coming of age in Malibu during the 60s story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 9/3/2011

    " I couldn't put this down. A well written memoir that tells a remarkable story of survival, written in the same vein as a Jon Krakauer book (Into the Wild)... loved it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lynne | 5/6/2011

    " I was looking for an adventure story. What I got was a horribly written coming of age story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 4/12/2011

    " Cessna crashed into a mountain. Three die - only survivor was an 11 year old boy. True story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Theacrob | 3/8/2011

    " Interesting story, but ultimately I thought the narrator was such a little shit all the time, I was paralyzed with not caring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 2/8/2011

    " Riveting from start to finish. What an amazing story! "

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About the Author
Author Norman Ollestad

Norman Ollestad studied creative writing at UCLA and graduated from UCLA Film School. He lives in Venice, California, and is the father of a son.