Author: Debbie Clarke Moderow
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Source: copy provided for an honest review by the publisher via NetGalley
Summary from Goodreads:
At age forty-seven, a mother of two, Debbie Moderow was not your average musher in the Iditarod, but that’s where she found herself when, less than 200 miles from the finish line, her dogs decided they didn’t want to run anymore. After all her preparation, after all the careful management of her team, and after their running so well for over a week, the huskies balked. But the sting of not completing the race after coming so far was nothing compared to the disappointment Moderow felt in having lost touch with her dogs.
Fast into the Night is the gripping story of Moderow’s journeys along the Iditarod trail with her team of spunky huskies: Taiga and Su, Piney and Creek, Nacho and Zeppy, Juliet and the headstrong leader, Kanga. The first failed attempt crushed Moderow’s confidence, but after reconnecting with her dogs she returned and ventured again to Nome, pushing through injuries, hallucinations, epic storms, flipped sleds, and clashing personalities, both human and canine. And she prevailed. Part adventure, part love story, part inquiry into the mystery of the connection between humans and dogs, Fast into the Night is an exquisitely written memoir of a woman, her dogs, and what can happen when someone puts herself in that place between daring and doubt—and soldiers on.
This is a different sort of nonfiction for me, considering that I had exactly zero familiarity with the Iditarod before picking it up. (Well, I knew it was a dog sledding race. In Alaska. Probably pretty cold. That's about it.) However, I couldn't help giving it a go after reading the description. Due to my obvious current interest in distance running, I was fascinated by the idea of all the training, preparation, and tenacity required to complete the Iditarod. Running does not equal dog sledding, but both sports require a high level of athleticism and commitment, so I wanted to know more.
My curiosity was rewarded with an amazing story. Moderow's two Iditarod journeys make for excellent reading on their own, but she also breaks up the telling of those races with the background on what led her into dog sledding. From her childhood in Connecticut to her adulthood as a married mom of 2 in Alaska, she has a unique path to Iditarod racing that is full of both hard lessons and inspirational anecdotes.
In addition, my piqued interest in the sport of dog sledding was rewarded with Moderow's detailed accounts of her two Iditarods. I had no concept of the months (sometimes years) of meticulous planning, the grueling training, and the thousands of dollars required to meet such a challenge head-on. Not to mention the solid, caring bond that needs to be forged between a musher and his/her dog team--it was amazing to see how Moderow was constantly aware of the needs and quirks of each individual dog. And Debbie Moderow did this TWICE! After not finishing the first time! That blows me away. You'll certainly leave this book with an appreciation for the sport (and the 2016 Iditarod is in March, so read now and get excited for this year's race--I'm already following updates on Facebook! Haha).
Fast Into the Night is both a moving memoir and an inspiring tale of strength and endurance, enhanced for me as it also became a learning experience about the world of dog sledding. This may have been a subject outside of my usual nonfiction fare, but I'm so glad that I took a chance on it!
What's the last nonfiction book you read that taught you about a completely new-to-you subject?