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Fast into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail

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A captivating memoir of one woman’s attempt to finish the Iditarod, led by her team of spunky huskies with whom she shares a fascinating and inextricable bond 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 A captivating memoir of one woman’s attempt to finish the Iditarod, led by her team of spunky huskies with whom she shares a fascinating and inextricable bond 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.


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A captivating memoir of one woman’s attempt to finish the Iditarod, led by her team of spunky huskies with whom she shares a fascinating and inextricable bond 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 A captivating memoir of one woman’s attempt to finish the Iditarod, led by her team of spunky huskies with whom she shares a fascinating and inextricable bond 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.

30 review for Fast into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ashes

    After the excellent Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, I wanted to try something else in the genre. Fast into the Night has none of the ‘fine madness’ I so praised Winterdance for. While I enjoyed the first part (her first Iditarod attempt), the second part was mostly tiring, and I admit I DNFed with just abour 40 pages left. I genuinely do not care whether she finished the race this time, I did not mentally cheer her on, and her journey did not inspire me. As my recommendati After the excellent Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, I wanted to try something else in the genre. Fast into the Night has none of the ‘fine madness’ I so praised Winterdance for. While I enjoyed the first part (her first Iditarod attempt), the second part was mostly tiring, and I admit I DNFed with just abour 40 pages left. I genuinely do not care whether she finished the race this time, I did not mentally cheer her on, and her journey did not inspire me. As my recommendations go, this one’s a skip. 2.5*

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Fox

    Beautiful Winners When a memoir magically materializes before your eyes, striking all the right chords, it’s a wonder to behold—truly beautiful. In Fast into the Night that is precisely what Debbie Clarke Moderow graces us with—an elegantly crafted, sumptuous story straight from the author’s heart. In a lively, engaging style, she introduces us to her Iditarod experience. Her book easily shifts back and forth between the two races she tackled and what preceded those epic 1,000-mile jaunts. We wit Beautiful Winners When a memoir magically materializes before your eyes, striking all the right chords, it’s a wonder to behold—truly beautiful. In Fast into the Night that is precisely what Debbie Clarke Moderow graces us with—an elegantly crafted, sumptuous story straight from the author’s heart. In a lively, engaging style, she introduces us to her Iditarod experience. Her book easily shifts back and forth between the two races she tackled and what preceded those epic 1,000-mile jaunts. We witness her arrival in Alaska, nearly perishing when she slips and falls into an icy crevasse on a hiking expedition with Mark Moderow, the man who would soon be her husband. She pulls us close by her side as she survives two more wrenching, personal ordeals—miscarriages. The second one, miraculously enough, leads to a friend giving her a retired Iditarod husky, Salt. This “regal white dog” salves her psyche and paves the path toward her new life as a dedicated musher. Once committed to the sport of mushing, Moderow skillfully guides her readers into this arcane world. She fills it with lush, exquisite detail, transporting us with her as she hikes trails or guides her sled team along Iditarod’s vast and varied arteries. The narrative’s brilliant use of descriptive language locks us into the momentum of her team navigating its way through the routes’ treacherous ways. “Then, as predicted, a sweeping turn shoots us into a wind-scoured, hostile landscape. The change is dramatic: the river ice is smooth and black, interrupted with jagged fissures and hairline cracks, sometimes patterned like a spiderweb … It’s a spooky black landscape, void of winters white. I might be able to find beauty in its dark palette, except all I can do is hang on.” As electrifying as it is dashing over the hills and through the barren meadows with Moderow, it’s even more exhilarating spending time with her team of dogs. These splendid creatures, alive with personalities and energy and life, radiate an abundance of joy. Their distinctive personalities crackle from the pages, just like their booty-covered paws crunch against the snow, pulling Moderow through the wilderness. From Salt, who bolts through her open car window to get a head start on their trek, to Kanga, the veteran leader who foments mutinous behavior more than once among the other dogs, to Lil’ Su who, when leading the pack “lowers her head and trudges into a gale whose punch is something we’ve never known before,” these creatures never fail to amaze. Ask any fierce competitor about their desire to win and you see the determination in their eyes. For Moderow it’s slightly different. It’s easy to visualize that determination emanating from her eyes, but that glean is not about winning a race—not at all. She tells us plainly that her only goal for her freshman Iditarod effort in 2003 (and then subsequently her follow-up in 2005) was “to complete Iditarod with healthy and happy dogs. To lose my connection with the team—that is my definition of failure.” She stressed that theme when we spoke by phone the other day. “I wrote my book to honor the dogs.” What else I asked was important to her, as she strove to overcome the many challenges she confronted out there alone? Wasn’t completing the race a huge objective? “Yes,” she agreed, “but it was not the most important goal. What mattered really was not getting there, but dealing with the minefields along the way. Getting to the end showed me the value of giving it your best shot.” And that she did, persistently displaying a spunky tenacity in the face of conditions that would have withered many. What stymied her efforts in the first race nearly occurred again—her dogs failed to cooperate. More to the point—they mutinied. They staged a sit down strike. For reasons she still cannot understand today they refused to budge. She waited them out; did not give up and with some indirect help from a fellow musher and husband’s friend she and her wayward team crossed the finish line in Nome. Only time will tell, but I’m convinced Fast into the Night has the legs and grit to emerge as a classic Iditarod memoir. It perfectly captures the essence of that quest’s identity—the celebration of the human spirt in loving support of its heroic huskies. It is truly a tribute to those beautiful winners who warm our spirits and inspire our souls. First published in the Anchorage Press on February 11, 2016.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    Revamped review: This was both an interesting book to read and boring one. Boring in that I couldn't 'connect ' with Ms Moderow and the race didn't feel real to me; interesting because I did learn a little bit about Alaska and the race. But in the end, this is a story of an ego-driven musher. I say that because the reader finds that Ms Moderow had to quit the first time she ran this race. So why did she REALLY need to take this second challenge? The author makes it sound like it was* because* she Revamped review: This was both an interesting book to read and boring one. Boring in that I couldn't 'connect ' with Ms Moderow and the race didn't feel real to me; interesting because I did learn a little bit about Alaska and the race. But in the end, this is a story of an ego-driven musher. I say that because the reader finds that Ms Moderow had to quit the first time she ran this race. So why did she REALLY need to take this second challenge? The author makes it sound like it was* because* she didn't finish the first time and because her son and husband both finished leaving her to be the lone 'loser'. The author makes it plain that she comes from a privileged background where everything came to her too easily and without working for it. The book and the reason of why this book may have been written left me cold. (no pun intended) I too come from Connecticut and the author sounds like she comes from one of the older, 'tighter knit' towns and her life revolved around the pursuits of those with too much time and money on their hands. I really would have loved to read more about the details of the race - who were the sponsors, how much did it cost to train and race, how did the family balance work with the race preparations, what was it like to eat on the trail or go to the bathroom in so many layers of clothes -you know... the personal aspects of being in the race. In the end it was, for me, simply a lovely story about a woman and her dogs, but I did not feel anything. I should have been able to put myself into her shoes, but unfortunately, I was unable to do so. Edited to add --- I re-read this book just to make sure that my initial feeling about it were true, and yes they are. I still felt as if the author did not connect with the reader for various reasons - the main one being that it was her ego driving her and nothing else. So my above review stands. ARC supplied by publisher for impartial opinion and review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    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, 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Megargee

    This book is exactly what the subtitle says it is: Debbie Moderow's personal memoir of participating in the annual Iditarod dogsled race with her team of 16 huskies. I had hoped that the book would include more information about the race itself, how it originated, how it is organized, how one qualifies to enter, how the dogs are bred, trained and selected, and the costs and benefits of participating. After all it was this month's selection of our library's History Book Club. But, no. While some This book is exactly what the subtitle says it is: Debbie Moderow's personal memoir of participating in the annual Iditarod dogsled race with her team of 16 huskies. I had hoped that the book would include more information about the race itself, how it originated, how it is organized, how one qualifies to enter, how the dogs are bred, trained and selected, and the costs and benefits of participating. After all it was this month's selection of our library's History Book Club. But, no. While some of this information can be inferred it is basically, as advertised, the story of a woman, her dogs (and there is a lot about the dogs) and their journey. That said, it is a well told story and an entertaining read. However, I wish I had first (rather than later) gone on the Web and Wikipedia to learn the basic rules of the race, its background and infrastructure to better appreciate what Debbie was facing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dave Allen

    I always enjoy a tale of personal struggle. The author, very close to the end of her first Iditarod, must scratch and leaves with unfinished business. She does a nice job describing her trials in tackling another race (over 1000 miles across Alaska) and the relationship she has with her dog team. All in all, a good read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Brown

    This was a well-told story of one woman's attempt to run the Iditarod trail dog-sled race. She aptly describes all that goes into running the race as well as her personal trials getting to the finish line. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in dog sledding or just a good story. This was a well-told story of one woman's attempt to run the Iditarod trail dog-sled race. She aptly describes all that goes into running the race as well as her personal trials getting to the finish line. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in dog sledding or just a good story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    This book was not nearly as much fun to read asWinterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod. I agree with another reader that the first part of the book was fun and I did like the pictures. But there was just too much self-recrimination, doubt, and deep, irrelevant thinking in this book. The author worried too much about what other people thought of her and how her family would respond. This dampened the fun of reading the book. This book was not nearly as much fun to read asWinterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod. I agree with another reader that the first part of the book was fun and I did like the pictures. But there was just too much self-recrimination, doubt, and deep, irrelevant thinking in this book. The author worried too much about what other people thought of her and how her family would respond. This dampened the fun of reading the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sassafras Lowrey

    Absolutely fantastic book - the writing is beautiful and the pacing is fantastic. I really appreciated how much detail was embedded in the story - in particular in relation to the dogs. I read a lot of dog books and this is for sure one of my favorites I've read in quite some time. Definitely recommend to anyone who is fascinated by the Iditarod. Absolutely fantastic book - the writing is beautiful and the pacing is fantastic. I really appreciated how much detail was embedded in the story - in particular in relation to the dogs. I read a lot of dog books and this is for sure one of my favorites I've read in quite some time. Definitely recommend to anyone who is fascinated by the Iditarod.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Barrie

    As someone struggling with the "dull ache of the empty nest" this book spoke to me. She doesn't dwell a ton on the emotional side of things which was perfect for me. Through her experience I gained a little strength and encouragement to figure out my own path forward. As someone struggling with the "dull ache of the empty nest" this book spoke to me. She doesn't dwell a ton on the emotional side of things which was perfect for me. Through her experience I gained a little strength and encouragement to figure out my own path forward.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This was a good book. It was a true tale of running the Iditarod, which I knew very little about, so that was interesting. The books focuses mostly on the dogs, the technique of running the dogs, the trials and tribulations of the dogs on the Iditarod, and the emotional insecurities of the musher herself. I wish there was more about the preparations (of both humans and dogs), the details of the trails and resting places, the dangers of the course, freezing weather, etc. 3.4 stars from me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

    The Iditarod is one of those events that most people experience as a casual observer and, unless you know someone personally involved, probably don't pay much attention to other than hearing the announcement of the winner. There is comparatively little controversy involved, and is primarily associated with the infamous serum run it was established to honor. As challenging as the Alaska wilderness can be, the image of huskys and mushers racing against time sledding across a snow covered expanse c The Iditarod is one of those events that most people experience as a casual observer and, unless you know someone personally involved, probably don't pay much attention to other than hearing the announcement of the winner. There is comparatively little controversy involved, and is primarily associated with the infamous serum run it was established to honor. As challenging as the Alaska wilderness can be, the image of huskys and mushers racing against time sledding across a snow covered expanse congers up a kind of romantic image. But consider this - 1,200+ miles over 13 days in subzero temps sometimes in blizzard conditions following a "trail" marked by little more than the occasional flag of reflective tape, how do you know where you are going? How do you possibly feed and care for the dogs over that long stretch? What does the musher wear to stay warm? Where do you sleep? And pee? (That question is always on my mind.) I mean, this is one grueling event. What possesses anyone to do this? The preparation alone must require careful planning and gigantic commitment by human and beast. This book is a personal account by a woman who ran the Iditarod twice, in 2003 and 2005. We learn about what drew her to Alaska as a young woman, her adventurous spirit and love of the outdoors, and how she came to establish her adult life in Alaska. Running the Iditarod was not on her mind when she took in her first dog, but the experience of sledding and camping and hiking with that dog in the wilderness clearly influenced her eventual decision to do it. Debbie Moderow has an authentic and personal voice to her writing style. She draws you into the relationship with her dogs and their distinct personalities, the mental, emotional, and physical challenges she faced, and paints a visual along the race course so that you feel like you are witnessing it firsthand. This is one tough race and Debbie is one tough woman for her resilience, perseverance, and resolve. I commiserated when she failed to finish her first race, and was cheering her on the entire way to Nome for both races, and was jubilant when she finally passed through the wood burled arch. I was perhaps expecting a little more to the backstory of the history of the race and other mushers but honestly the book doesn't need it. This was really well done and written with the same passion and spirit that drove her on. Great book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    E

    Moderow had to scratch her 2003 Iditarod race, but several years after finishing the 2005 Iditarod, she received an MFA in creative writing. It shows. I've read at least a dozen books about the Iditarod, and, after Gary Paulsen's winsome Winter Dance, her book is easily the best written. (Compare it to something like DeeDee Jonrowe's scattered Iditarod Dreams, one of the worst written, and you will see what I mean.) At first I wasn't sure I was interested in the intermittent chapters providing " Moderow had to scratch her 2003 Iditarod race, but several years after finishing the 2005 Iditarod, she received an MFA in creative writing. It shows. I've read at least a dozen books about the Iditarod, and, after Gary Paulsen's winsome Winter Dance, her book is easily the best written. (Compare it to something like DeeDee Jonrowe's scattered Iditarod Dreams, one of the worst written, and you will see what I mean.) At first I wasn't sure I was interested in the intermittent chapters providing "back story" about Moderow's parents, childhood, and the romance with her husband, Mark. ("Get on with the race," I cried!). But she wisely kept these background stories short while also highlighting the experience, history, and personal qualities of all the players that would come to bear on her own racing qualifications, preparation, and decisions. The writing shows a smart sense of pace, foreshadowing, setting, and tension to propel readers onward, even though we know from the book's jacket that she will achieve her dream the second time around. Moderow nicely balances descriptions of physical, emotional, and mental challenges for her dogs and herself--including her own fears and self-doubt--with a good level of technical detail about running the race and poetic descriptions of the wilderness she is struggling through. Whether she is describing her parents, individual dogs, or other mushers and volunteers encountered along her journey, her characterizations are rich and intriguing. Just the ticket to get an Iditarod fan like me excited about the upcoming race!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lepus Domesticus

    Oddly, I liked the first half of this book much better than the second. Even though Moderow "failed" in her first Iditarod attempt, the way she describes the race, the dogs, and her own attitude were much more enjoyable and descriptive than her depiction of all that followed, which felt somewhat abbreviated, as well as dwelling on her own poorer mental state in her second attempt. Not knowing much of anything about dog sled racing, I wanted more understanding of the logistics of it: the gear, the Oddly, I liked the first half of this book much better than the second. Even though Moderow "failed" in her first Iditarod attempt, the way she describes the race, the dogs, and her own attitude were much more enjoyable and descriptive than her depiction of all that followed, which felt somewhat abbreviated, as well as dwelling on her own poorer mental state in her second attempt. Not knowing much of anything about dog sled racing, I wanted more understanding of the logistics of it: the gear, the rules, the context. In the second half of the book I got more of a brief glimpse at that--for one Iditarod she needed 1800 pounds of gear, over 1500 pounds of it only dog food, and 2500 booties. That was basically all the logistical details we got, however, apart from just a few brief mentions. In the first half of the book, Moderow beautifully describes the beauty of being out in the wilderness on a dog sled (and I learned that they often run at night; I related very much to her descriptions of the harsh splendor of the winter nights, having experienced something similar myself on skis), as well as the personalities and skills of the various dogs. The sequence involving Moderow in conversation with her lead dog Kanga as they broke trail along the frozen Yukon river was especially amazing and gave me a great appreciation of these impressive animals. That said, Moderow spends the rest of the book dwelling on what went wrong in that first Iditarod without ever coming up with any answers. I wanted to know more about why dogs balk, and why her husband was able to so easily complete an Iditarod with the same team. (Indeed, the way it was described, I came away not liking Moderow's husband very much, nor any of the humans in the book, including at times Moderow herself, and I couldn't understand why they had done things the way they had, except that they weren't particularly serious about racing, and wanted everyone in the family to have the chance to experience the famous race while keeping to a financially manageable number and quality of dogs.) As an aside, it should be said that while the humans were generally unlikably depicted, there sure were a lot of people eager to help Moderow complete her second race, for reasons that were never really clear. While in the first half of the book, I felt overall positively about sled dog racing in general, in the second half I started to understand why some people think it is cruel. As with track racing dogs and racehorses, when humans become obsessed with winning races the animals suffer, and Moderow meets with plenty of stupid humans who obviously should not be in the animal-training business. (When her dogs balk, a bunch of men tell Moderow that she should be harder on them, but I can't imagine how they imagine one can force a dog to run when it doesn't want to.) Dogs (and horses), like humans, crave a stable family life, yet when the humans are out to win races, dogs are added or removed from teams and mushers exchanged without any real regard for the emotional impact this has on the animals. It is clear that sled dogs love to run (so much that they will happily carry on after dumping their musher), so asking them to pull sleds or even race is not cruel in and of itself, but the other ways they are treated like interchangeable snowmobile parts may be. Given the way Moderow described her relationship to her dogs in the first half, and the way she claims to only want to keep them healthy and happy, I was surprised that she chose to continue as a sled dog kennel at the end, getting rid of all her older dogs, including Kanga who was so clearly devoted to her and who had literally given Moderow her all in that first race to the point of having the dog version of a nervous breakdown which changed the whole rest of her life. I left the book mostly pondering these unanswered questions. It sounds like sled dog leaders, like guide dogs, simply experience burn out from having so much responsibility all the time, much in the same way that wolves who lead their packs have a significantly shorter life expectancy than their siblings who are never leaders. Perhaps, like guide dogs, it is better for them to go to new families when they retire so they can completely leave their working life behind. I don't know. But while these animals seem to have the same love and loyalty to their owners as yours, they are simply not treated the same way pet dogs are. Why do dogs balk? Given subsequent events, I concluded that Moderow's dogs were simply tired and she overreacted, which frightened them. (Also, perhaps, they shut down a little from the pressure of her attention.) In the very easy conditions of the 2004 race, they didn't get that tired, and in 2005 when they tired, Moderow simply didn't panic. But who knows? The great joy and the great frustration of working with animals is that they are individual people and you work with them successfully by knowing that while there is a great deal of love between you, there is often not understanding. The wisest thing Moderow says in the book is "it's never the dogs' fault." But that doesn't change how she acts toward them (apart from being smart enough not to listen to most obviously egregiously bad "advice" she receives unsolicited). On the technical side, this is overall a very well-written book, cleanly edited. Continuing my question about editing, it does seem that non-fiction (while occasionally suffering from a lack of fact-checking), does seem to be edited. Also, Moderow started with a good book, having worked intensively on it within an MFA program. While I often feel MFAs weaken fiction, they seem to work really well for creative non-fiction. I wouldn't reread this book, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in sled dog racing or even memoirs of women athletes in male-dominated sports. Content: Brief, graphic depiction of severe acute illness in a human (hence the tag); occasional depiction of mild to moderate injuries sustained by both dogs and humans.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    The Iditarod is nothing I would ever, ever, ever want to be a part of. I don't like the cold, or discomfort, or pain, or sleep deprivation. I don't like risks and venturing into the unknown. Which is perhaps why I love to read about people who do such amazing things. I enjoyed reading this book about the author's journey from Manhattan Paralegal to twice taking on the hardest journey of 1,000 miles across Alaska, over frozen rivers and through cruel, blasting snow storms. Moderow's love for her The Iditarod is nothing I would ever, ever, ever want to be a part of. I don't like the cold, or discomfort, or pain, or sleep deprivation. I don't like risks and venturing into the unknown. Which is perhaps why I love to read about people who do such amazing things. I enjoyed reading this book about the author's journey from Manhattan Paralegal to twice taking on the hardest journey of 1,000 miles across Alaska, over frozen rivers and through cruel, blasting snow storms. Moderow's love for her dogs is central, even when they jeopardize her win. Each musher is described personally, central figures in the story. The brutal conditions and privations of the trail, the vagaries of weather and canine willfulness, are described in sure, flowing prose. Moderow attempted the Iditarod in 2003 and finished on her second try in 2005. I received a free ebook thorugh NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joann

    The Alaskan Iditarod has always fascinated me so I snatched up Fast into the Night when I saw it at my local library. She details the Iditarod with spare and honest prose and all the grit and excitement that is the Iditarod. 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. She also captures the remarkable bond that exists betwe The Alaskan Iditarod has always fascinated me so I snatched up Fast into the Night when I saw it at my local library. She details the Iditarod with spare and honest prose and all the grit and excitement that is the Iditarod. 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. She also captures the remarkable bond that exists between a musher and their dogs and the interplay they must share in order to make their goal of reaching Nome. Anyone who loves animals or nature will enjoy reading Moderow’s account of her two adventures on the Iditarod course.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carie Steele

    It was okay. Memoirs are a tricky thing. If one doesn't feel a connection, it is hard find enjoyment. I generally enjoy the outdoor adventure and animal companionship genre, and thus appreciated those aspects of this book. However, I felt little connection to the author or her story. I expected this to be the Iditarod version of "Wild" --- where a woman learns about herself and her dogs through determination, daring, and teamwork --- but it is much more a recitation of her two Iditarod attempts. It was okay. Memoirs are a tricky thing. If one doesn't feel a connection, it is hard find enjoyment. I generally enjoy the outdoor adventure and animal companionship genre, and thus appreciated those aspects of this book. However, I felt little connection to the author or her story. I expected this to be the Iditarod version of "Wild" --- where a woman learns about herself and her dogs through determination, daring, and teamwork --- but it is much more a recitation of her two Iditarod attempts. Not that there isn't value in the recitation or in her willingness and determination to try again. But it is presented in such a shallow manner that it is hard to feel it remarkable or moving. An enjoyable read, but not --- at least not to me --- a great story

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pam Lorange

    Very engaging This book grabbed you right from the beginning. It's exciting and tender all at the same time. Even if you're not a dog lover the story of the dogs will grab your heart. Very engaging This book grabbed you right from the beginning. It's exciting and tender all at the same time. Even if you're not a dog lover the story of the dogs will grab your heart.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Interesting first-person account of running the Iditarod. The author's honest account of her struggles and ultimate triumph was inspiring. I received an ARC through firstreads. Interesting first-person account of running the Iditarod. The author's honest account of her struggles and ultimate triumph was inspiring. I received an ARC through firstreads.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jammin Jenny

    I enjoyed reading about her trials during the Iditarod.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen Anderson

    3.5 stars Nice quick read. Would have liked more about the dogs or the race rather than how she met her husband.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.0 of 5 The Iditarod dog sled race is, I think, quite well-known, though most of us know few (if any) people who've run the course. It is certainly not the sort of course one challenges without having some experience with running dog sleds. Enter Debbie Clarke Moderow - a 40-something mother of two on the Iditarod Trail, 200 miles from the end of the course, with a team of dogs who've decided that they don't want to run any more. This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.0 of 5 The Iditarod dog sled race is, I think, quite well-known, though most of us know few (if any) people who've run the course. It is certainly not the sort of course one challenges without having some experience with running dog sleds. Enter Debbie Clarke Moderow - a 40-something mother of two on the Iditarod Trail, 200 miles from the end of the course, with a team of dogs who've decided that they don't want to run any more. In this memoir, Fast into the Night, Moderow writes candidly of her feelings during the journey as well as her observations about her own preparedness. If, for some reason, we ever thought that guiding a dog sled on a grueling winter course would be fun and easy, Moderow corrects that notion. The two biggest challenges, based on Moderow's writing, are: 1) the rider's own doubts and insecurities, and 2) the dogs. The environmental conditions is a more distant third. More than once Moderow's dogs decide that they aren't going to run/pull. What do you do? How hard do you you fight with them to get them to respect and listen to you before they fear you? Moderow attempts the Iditarod more than once and both accounts are remembered here. Memoirs are a tricky literary form ... what is the purpose of reading someone else's memoirs? Often it's because it is someone we know - a celebrity of popular figure and we want to know more about them and the way they think. But when it's someone you don't know ... when it's a Debbie Clarke Moderow, for instance ... there needs to be something else (in this case it's the Iditarod race) and we hope that we get to know the author more through their memoir. But I don't feel that's the case so much. I never felt compelled to root for Moderow and never felt the exhaustion or anxiety that she must have felt along the way. Despite the level of intensity (I imagine) needed to accomplish such a race, I felt that this moved along at a slow, even pace and I never learned anything from it (other than that sled dogs are unpredictable). This wasn't a bad read, but I don't feel as though I can recommend it. Looking for a good book? Fast into the Night is a memoir of Debbie Clarke Moderow's journey to start and finish the Iditarod dog sled race. If that means anything to you, you might enjoy this book. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I have been wanting to read a book about the Iditarod for a while, and since Amazon put it on sale before the Iditarod started I thought this would be a great next read. It was a good, entertaining, and a light informing read for those unfamiliar with the Iditarod and what it requires. I learned some but would have enjoyed learning even more about the process and preparation leading up to it and the actual course logistics, but I assume there are probably other books that talk about that. This b I have been wanting to read a book about the Iditarod for a while, and since Amazon put it on sale before the Iditarod started I thought this would be a great next read. It was a good, entertaining, and a light informing read for those unfamiliar with the Iditarod and what it requires. I learned some but would have enjoyed learning even more about the process and preparation leading up to it and the actual course logistics, but I assume there are probably other books that talk about that. This book focused on this woman's journey on the Iditarod trail. The first section was about her first attempt during which she had to scratch due to the dogs unwilling to listen to her and then about her second attempt where she almost had to scratch again because of the same problem. I have no experience leading a dog sled team but working as a dog handler and other animals, animal behavior is an area I do have some experience, and so it was frustrating reading how she ignored other people's advice on not running the same team again because of emotional attachment and thus almost scratched again. This book would probably not be advised for someone who want to gain some wisdom in order to consider running the Iditarod, but again, this was probably not the point of the book. It was still an entertaining read, and while reading it on the treadmill, I could feel myself pick up speed during some parts. I enjoyed reading it with the soundtrack from the recent Disney movie "Togo". Now to look for more books on this topic that tell a captivating story while also teaching at the same time. Recommendations: Age Group: 16+ Time of Year: March (Iditarod Dog race weeks), Winter Those interested in: - dog sledding - dogs - animals - the Alaskan wilderness - Marathon/Athletic events Music Accompaniment: "Togo" soundtrack

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    Gutsy and determined, Debbie Moderow’s Iditarod tale will appeal to dog lovers and outdoor enthusiasts! I’ve always been fascinated with the Iditarod, and I have a soft spot for huskies. My kids and I have even been lucky enough to experience being pulled by sled dogs, which was a lot faster than I expected! I enjoyed Debbie Moderow’s thirst for adventure. She first attempted the Iditarod in 2003 and, although she did not complete it, this rookie only fell 200 miles short of finishing the 1,000 m Gutsy and determined, Debbie Moderow’s Iditarod tale will appeal to dog lovers and outdoor enthusiasts! I’ve always been fascinated with the Iditarod, and I have a soft spot for huskies. My kids and I have even been lucky enough to experience being pulled by sled dogs, which was a lot faster than I expected! I enjoyed Debbie Moderow’s thirst for adventure. She first attempted the Iditarod in 2003 and, although she did not complete it, this rookie only fell 200 miles short of finishing the 1,000 mile race. I respect Debbie’s way of thinking and connecting with her dogs. She’s not heavy-handed and cares that her team finishes (or not) in good spirits. Her husband, Mark, finished the Iditarod the following year. Not to be outdone by her son (who completed the Junior Iditarod) and husband, Debbie was determined to try again in 2005. She faced numerous obstacles, from the stomach flu to her dogs rebelling and refusing to run, but that did not sway her perseverance. I enjoyed the details of the prep work involved for preparing for such a grueling trek, and the connection that Debbie has with each of her dogs is so evident as she describes each one’s personality and strengths. Narrator Emily Durante is new to me, and I think she aptly conveyed Debbie’s highs and lows. Her pacing was good, and her voice was fitting to Debbie’s character. I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration. This review was posted on my book blog: http://darlenesbooknook.blogspot.ca/2...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    3.5 stars. Debbie Moderow's memoir about dogsledding, specifically the Iditarod, is the only time I've read about an endurance sport and come away with absolutely no desire to try it out at all. While Moderow talks about her dog teams with so much love and her descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness are often incredibly beautiful, her descriptions of the pain and discomfort of being thrown around on the end of the sled are even more vivid, as are the descriptions of how dang cold it gets in Alask 3.5 stars. Debbie Moderow's memoir about dogsledding, specifically the Iditarod, is the only time I've read about an endurance sport and come away with absolutely no desire to try it out at all. While Moderow talks about her dog teams with so much love and her descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness are often incredibly beautiful, her descriptions of the pain and discomfort of being thrown around on the end of the sled are even more vivid, as are the descriptions of how dang cold it gets in Alaska. I tend to be very picky about memoirs, since they don't tend to be very pointy and I get bored, but Moderow structured Fast Into the Night well with her narrow focus on the Iditarod and the relationship she has with her dogs. I was never bored, and I got an interesting glimpse into an alien world. It wasn't earthshaking or unmissable, but that's how I feel about most memoirs. Solid read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Owen

    I liked the book a lot and the fact that I love dogs made it more enjoyable. It’s a story of a woman, her family, and the training and racing of sled dogs. I listened to an audio version of the book. I thought the reader was good. If the book has pictures of the dogs that would be a big plus. I would have liked it even more if there was more info on non racing parts of the story. For example, we learn about more than 16 dogs. I wondered how they choose names for all of them. I am very happy that I I liked the book a lot and the fact that I love dogs made it more enjoyable. It’s a story of a woman, her family, and the training and racing of sled dogs. I listened to an audio version of the book. I thought the reader was good. If the book has pictures of the dogs that would be a big plus. I would have liked it even more if there was more info on non racing parts of the story. For example, we learn about more than 16 dogs. I wondered how they choose names for all of them. I am very happy that I listened to the book. If I see it in a bookstore I will turn the pages to look for pictures. I think most will like the book, especially if they are dog lovers.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lin

    3.5 stars. If I hadn't just read Winterdance (Gary Paulsen), I might have rated this slightly higher, at 4 stars. But this story lacked the personality of that book, and felt more stilted in its telling. I had hoped to learn more about the Iditarod itself, but it lacked details and information about the race. It truly was just Debbie Moderow describing how she got into dog mushing (her background was more interesting to me than her races) and her two Iditarod attempts. The way her dogs refused t 3.5 stars. If I hadn't just read Winterdance (Gary Paulsen), I might have rated this slightly higher, at 4 stars. But this story lacked the personality of that book, and felt more stilted in its telling. I had hoped to learn more about the Iditarod itself, but it lacked details and information about the race. It truly was just Debbie Moderow describing how she got into dog mushing (her background was more interesting to me than her races) and her two Iditarod attempts. The way her dogs refused to run so often was concerning, and left a different impression of the Iditarod for me, than the one I had going into this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sheri S.

    Debbie Moderow shares her story of running the Iditarod on two separate occasions and the feelings of frustration and excitement she felt during these times. Woven through the Iditarod narratives is the story of Moderow's life (i.e. experiences she shared with her parents while growing up and later meeting her husband, Mark, and then having children) and how she came to be a dog sledder. It's interesting to learn about the Iditarod and how individuals prepare for it as well as the impact of the Debbie Moderow shares her story of running the Iditarod on two separate occasions and the feelings of frustration and excitement she felt during these times. Woven through the Iditarod narratives is the story of Moderow's life (i.e. experiences she shared with her parents while growing up and later meeting her husband, Mark, and then having children) and how she came to be a dog sledder. It's interesting to learn about the Iditarod and how individuals prepare for it as well as the impact of the weather.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julie Buckles

    Debbie Clarke Moderow is 47 years old when she makes her first attempt at the Iditarod. She's only driven eight dogs and now she's launching with sixteen. But she's no novice to winter travel, sleddogs, or high adventure. She's lived in Alaska for most of her adult life, her kids have competed in the Junior Iditarod, and she has managed their backyard kennel since the kids were toddlers. Moderow has written a beautiful, well-crafted narrative of her Iditarod attempt, while weaving in stories tha Debbie Clarke Moderow is 47 years old when she makes her first attempt at the Iditarod. She's only driven eight dogs and now she's launching with sixteen. But she's no novice to winter travel, sleddogs, or high adventure. She's lived in Alaska for most of her adult life, her kids have competed in the Junior Iditarod, and she has managed their backyard kennel since the kids were toddlers. Moderow has written a beautiful, well-crafted narrative of her Iditarod attempt, while weaving in stories that help explain who she is and how she came to be standing on Anchorage's Main Street holding back sixteen ramped up dogs. The thread that ties the book together is her connection with her dogs—the crazy logistics, high tension action, and dramatic showdowns are bonus material. This book will appeal to anyone who has an interest in dogs, humans, and why we do the things we do. Until reading Fast into the Night, I had only two books to recommended to people interested in the Iditarod—Winterdance and the Cruelest Miles—now I have a third.

  30. 4 out of 5

    MysteryLover

    Every mile brings adventure or heartache. Every mile brings adventure or heartache. It is the life of a musher and her digs, their strength, their hearts and their drive. They bring out the best...or the worst. 1,000 miles is no easy feat...all the planning in the can still be challenged by the unforgiving climate of the great North. You have to be strong and gracious; wise and daring; smart and spunky and Debbie and her dogs are all of those. Heart stopping, heartbreaking at times, this is one Every mile brings adventure or heartache. Every mile brings adventure or heartache. It is the life of a musher and her digs, their strength, their hearts and their drive. They bring out the best...or the worst. 1,000 miles is no easy feat...all the planning in the can still be challenged by the unforgiving climate of the great North. You have to be strong and gracious; wise and daring; smart and spunky and Debbie and her dogs are all of those. Heart stopping, heartbreaking at times, this is one hellava story of ultimate athleticism and triumph.

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