Reviews in 200 Words

Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad

In Memoir on July 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm

There are facts: It was February 19, 1979, Norman Ollestad was 11-years-old, his father—a former FBI agent—was 43 and Sandra, his father’s girlfriend was 30. Norman had just won a junior slalom championship. Their plane crashed at 8,693 feet in the San Gabriel Mountains. But there is much more than an impressive, heroic survival tale: those are great; they make great movies—but this is bigger. This is a boy saving his own life by reliving the ways that his father had saved it in the past. Ollestad’s father taught him (forced him) to surf and ski until it became his religion. This boy was eleven going on twenty-five: Boy Wonder. He trained with the masters of both extremes; he learned to ski ice and surf tubes. In his time of survival—utter utilization of every muscle—he returned to his afternoons at Topanga and in the mountains of Taos. All I care about is that you keep going, Boy Wonder. Ollestad does keep going: he becomes a twelve-year-old, a teenager, has a first-kiss, picks fights, and continues to create new ways to save his own life.

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