Fatherhood. At age eleven in 1979, Norman Ollestad was the only survivor of a small plane crash in the San Gabriel Mountains in which his father, his father’s girlfriend, and the pilot all died. Crazy for the Storm is his memoir of that experience, written in alternating chapters about the crash with his life before and after that pivotal event. Norm’s father pushed him hard during the eleven years they were together, and it turned out that the skills Norman learned from his father gave him the resources to survive against long odds against him. I especially liked the affectionate way in which his father called Norman “Ollestad”. The writing in Crazy for the Storm presents the ordeal and the memories of childhood in ways that keep a reader engaged, and never approach the sentimental or maudlin. By the last page, I realized that rather than a memoir of survival, I was reading about the relationship between a father and son, and how a father’s trial of his son by ordeal prepared a young man for the biggest challenge of his life.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)