My Lead Dog Was A Lesbian : Mushing Across Alaska in the Iditarod--the World's Most Grueling Race
O'Donoghue tells what happened when he entered the 1991 Iditarod, along with 17 sled dogs with names like Rainy, Harley and Screech. O'Donoghue braved snowstorms, sickening wipeouts, and endured the contempt of more experienced racers. Narrated with icy elan and self deprecating wit, this is a true story of heroism, cussedness, and astonishing dumb luck.
Mushing is an odd sport for anybody. First you take a dozen-plus slightly tamed dogs ("damned wolves with collars," one rancher calls them), strap them to a sled that, with little enough provocation, will send you rocketing into the tundra and start out for the 1000-mile race accompanied by chunks of frozen liver and the occasional whole reporter?this after forking over $1249. O'Donoghue, who moved to Alaska from the lower 48 to work for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, decided to start mushing after just two winters. He soon entered Iditarod XIX while writing a column for the paper titled "Off to the Races." Perhaps because his own mishaps (shredded doggie booties, sled falls, lack of sleep, poor visibility, missed shelters, tangled, bruised, grouchy and, as the title implies, polymorphously perverse, dogs) don't really change over the course of the race (they just accumulate), O'Donoghue introduces a large cast of other mushers. These do bring new misadventures, but the account can be a little confusing. O'Donoghue's style is amusing but rarely laugh-out-loud. Instead, what really keeps this book going is the same thing that keeps the racers going, a kind of bloody-minded doggedness that thinks, when faced with frostbitten fingers, not about the possibility of amputation but the possibility of scratching.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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March 18, 1996
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