“Fast into the Night” by Debbie Clarke Moderow
Sled racing, dogs, Iditarod, memoir
February 2, 2016
4 of 5 stars (Very good)
The famous Iditarod sled race in Alaska is a test of endurance for both humans and the dogs pulling the sled. It can bond the team of dogs to their “musher” or they can turn on him or her and not respond to any commands. This memoir by Debbie Clarke Moderow illustrates these emotions during her two entries in the famed race.
She had to withdraw with less than 200 miles to go in her initial entry in 2003 as the dogs refused to run any further. Showing determination and overcoming her self-doubt, she again entered in 2005, finishing the race and showing her pride in her dogs.
This is not a typical sport memoir as Moderow does not delve deeply into her youth or talk about her early accomplishments in her sports. There are plenty of family stories about her husband Mark and her children as they all are mushers and help each other with all the duties required to train the dogs and keep them in condition to run these races.
The style of writing is the best part of this book. The format alternates between racing chapters and those on family life, but the transitions are smooth which is not easy to do with a book like this. The prose when she describes her adventures on the Iditarod course reads almost like a nature novel and her love for her dogs is always present. It made the book a very enjoyable adventure.
This is one of those few books on a sporting event that will be enjoyed even by readers who are not sports fans. Anyone who loves animals or nature will enjoy reading Moderow’s account of her two adventures on the Iditarod course.
I wish to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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