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My father craved the weightless glide. He chased the hurricanes and blizzards to touch the bliss of riding mighty waves and deep powder snow. An insatiable spirit, he was crazy for the storm. And it saved my life.
This book is a very emotional and heart wrenching read. It's the true life story of Norman Ollestad and his life before and after the fatal plane crash that killed his father Norman (Big Norm) and his father's girlfriend Sandra. The story makes me look upon my upbringing, and realise how lucky I was to have parents that supported me but didn't force me to do things that I didn't like doing.
Norman's father was a former FBI Agent, and he had him surfing and skiing from the tender age of 3. Norman had his first surfing experience aged one, in a baby sling on his fathers back.
Big Norm always had high hopes for his son. He was always trying to get Norman to over achieve at anything he did. He also called his son Boy Wonder. To me, that name would just make me more anxious on being able to give my best performance knowing that my father would be there to lecture me at the end if i didn't cut the mustard.
By age 10, Norman was a champion skier. It was this upbringing that ultimately saved his life on the fateful day of February 19th 1979. The story also covers Norman's life throughout his young childhood days to his skiing and surfing triumphs and the bond that he shares with his father and the relationship he has with his father and partner, to the relationship he shares with his mother and her abusive alcoholic partner. He also shares his friendships with the young people around him and his experience with puberty and girls, and of course what most teenagers do.....picking fights.
I was captured in this story from the first page 'til the last. Norman was very descriptive in his retelling of his ordeal. When reading this book i felt like i was right beside him whether he was riding a wave in Mexico or trying to escape the wreckage on the cliff face. I really felt on the journey with him.
In saying that i didn't like the format of the story as the chapters kept alternating from the past to the crash throughout the book. However by the 6th chapter i became accustomed to the layout and i realised it was actually a good format to use to keep the reader hanging for more.
It saddens me to know that after the ordeal he didn't have any moral support or help to try and cope with what he had just been through. His mother was too wrapped up in her own crappy relationship with her boyfriend to care about how her son was coping.
I also really loved the fact pictures were included from his childhood, it help to connect more with him during the story, and i think it's a fantastic way to keep a memory alive for generations to come.
This book definitely kept my attention the whole way through and i will be recommending it to all my friends.
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"A man who is 'of sound mind' is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key."
Paul Valery (1871 - 1945)