Friday, June 26, 2009

Crazy for the Story by Norman Ollestad

Crazy for the Storm, by Norman Ollestad, is getting lots of media buzz, and rightfully so. An 11-year-old kid, who has been pushed into dangerous sports and adventure pursuits his entire life by his overbearing father (off-piste skiing, surfing in storm swells, etc.), is in a small plane crash on top of a very steep mountain. His father and the pilot are dead, his father's girlfriend is seriously injured, and it is very cold. Although I couldn't stop reading this book, several things bothered me throughout. First, it is written in the voice of the 11-year-old kid. Maybe it's just me, and I apologize for the irreverence, but when prepubescent kids-talk endlessly, it makes me want to load them in a plane and crash it into a mountain.

A lot of the story is about how Norman's upbringing made him tough, but listening to an 11-year-old wax philosophical, in long "Tom Wolf-ish" descriptives made me want to scream, "just tell the freaking story already." In fact, one of my favorite parts of the book is at the very end when Norman reverts to his adult self/voice and talks about his son and how he is trying to inspire him to adventure - not push him. Not that it is not well written. It is, and the voice and long descriptions won't bother most people.

The other thing that bothered me was that although Norman is writing about seven years of his childhood, his stories are told as if he'd been taking notes the entire time, down to the color of shirt he had on and verbatim conversations. If this was a fictional story, and allowing for creative storytelling, it wouldn't have bothered me, but the detail in this true story seemed a little disingenuous.

Aside from these two idiosyncratic annoyances and the fact that this is obviously just one gals opinion, Crazy for the Storm is a good read.


  1. SueAnn,
    OF COURSE you would be a big reader! What else did we have to do in Iraan? Well, besides the things you and I thought up . . .
    I love your posts about the things your Mom taught you. Isn't it interesting how much smarter our Moms seemed once we grew up and had families?
    Mine is 93 and goin' strong.
    Hope to see you soon.

  2. Indeed!

    Moms - ah yes - the irony - so much fodder for thought and writing!