My 11-year-old son now wants to try dog sledding, which works for me because I have always wanted to try it.
But it wasn’t me who convinced him this should be his new pastime.
It was Canadian author Terry Lynn Johnson‘s latest book Dog Driven that made him realized how exciting – and perhaps terrifying – this sport can be.
Dog Driven tells the story of McKenna Barney, whose world is collapsing around her. Her vision is rapidly deteriorating and she suspects she has same degenerating disease as her younger sister Emma, Stargardt disease. McKenna is horrified by how her parents treat her little sister, making her completely depending on the pair who suffer from guilt that their recessive genes has disabled their daughter.
McKenna is determined not to suffer the same fate and pulls away from her family, friends and school to keep her condition a secret. To help her sister, and raise awareness of this disease, McKenna puts her team of eight dogs in a sled race, delivering mail following an old courier route through Canada.
“For three days of shifting lake ice, sudden owl attacks, bitterly cold nights and frequent snow squalls, McKenna faces both the Canadian wilderness and her terrifying vision loss…Will McKenna risk her survival as well as that of her team to keep her secret?”
With that bit of intro, you know this book is going to be exciting, and it was. My son was hooked on the first chapter. Although McKenna’s choice was an incredibly dangerous one – seeing how she can’t see – we both understand why she made it: her love of her dogs and the sport was obvious through the pages of the book, and her desperation to remain independent is something we could relate, too. I understand guilt – and desire to protect your child – but the parents went too far, and Emma and McKenna suffered for it.
We learn a lot about dog sledding in this book and the courage, strength and bravery it takes to run a team. We also learned about the bond between human and dog, and the importance of putting other people first.
My son loved this book so much, we have gone back to read the other ones we have by the same author and look forward to reading Ice Dogs, which I think he will also love.
I interviewed Johnson. Read that interview here.
I interview her again here.
A copy of this book was provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.