Insanity, but in a Good Way – Winterdance

Winterdance, the Story

Sometimes life changes.   For Gary Paulsen, in Winterdance, what started as a simple expediency for his life in Minnesota eventually turned his entire life around.

Through working with, training, and running sled dogs, he found his calling and his peace.   His stories about how he journeys both physically and mentally to becoming a true Iditarod competitor are human and humorous.  He often describes in hilarious brutality the hiccups along the trail to becoming a true sled dog musher.  Yet he also details his performance and eventual accomplishment.

Like many things in life, Gary’s journey from normal life to musher started simply enough. Each step along the way seemed logical and normal. Until he suddenly looked back at his life and realized how far he had come.  In the end, like all of us, he comes to realize that the only life worth living is one where you live full of joy and faith.

This book will leave you in tears of laughter. It may even leave you hoping to find your own all-consuming insanity.

Author Info

Gary James Paulsen is an American writer of young adult literature, best known for coming of age stories about the wilderness. He is the author of more than 200 books and has written more than 200 magazine articles and short stories, and several plays, all primarily for teenagers.

Who is Winterdance for?

Winterdance is a great book for laugh-out-loud reading. The stories that Gary Paulsen relates are mostly G or PG, so I would even give this to a pre-teen or teenager. With the caveat that they not try to copy some of his more dangerous escapades. If you are looking for a fun escape from your everyday life, this could be just the ticket for you.

Borrow or Buy?

I could go either way on this. I really enjoyed the book and would put it in the same category as Walk in the Wilderness by Bill Bryson. At turns, poignant and amusing. It may leave you with a desire to buy some crazy dogs, take a risk, or otherwise upend your life, but in a good way.

Cover of the novel of Winterdance
“The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod”

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, Gary Paulsen, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY, 1994, 1995 Edition, 256 pages, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-15-600145-8


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Check out the other books that I’m reading, or the reviews that I’ve written on my bookshelf.

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