Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Dog sledding, and particularly the Iditarod, have interested me for years. I find the whole idea of moving across vast areas of frozen nature behind the bushy tails of sled dogs fascinating. This book proves that out. I'd still like to try it some day!
Parts of this book had me laughing out loud. If you appreciate dogs in any capacity, you'll enjoy that aspect of "Winterdance." Gary Paulsen does a great job of showing us what it really means to work and live with the dogs. He gives us a wonderful view of their personalities. He also brings the Alaskan wilderness to life in a personal way.
I didn't like the ending. The whole story is one man's experiences - which by nature are going to be self-centered - but the ending was a total wallow in self absorption. He didn't end with the Iditarod, or the dogs, or the thrill of accomplishment. He ended with his failing health and it adding absolutely nothing to the story.
There is a lot of foul language throughout the book. I'm sure it's all authentic, it's how the mushers talk, etc. But it wasn't necessary to get the feel and flavor of the Iditarod and it makes the book completely unsuitable for younger readers.
I'd like to give this one 2 1/2 stars, because I can recommend it to some people, but not others.