Authors: Rachael Scdoris and Rick Steber
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 5 out of 5
Summary: Rachael is a sled dog racer who also enjoys running track and cross-country. She has been racing sled dogs for years and has run plenty of races despite her condition. She has congenital achromatopsia, which is an eye disease that causes nearsightedness, farsightedness, and color blindness. Basically, she is legally blind with 2-D vision. However, Rachael chooses not to see this as a disability, but rather just a part of who she is. She has had countless roadblocks in her dream to racing in the Iditarod. From the media to the Iditarod Trail Committee, Rachael has heard many opinions on why she should not be allowed to race, run, or do any of her passions. All of these people believe that her blindness stops her from doing something that she’s been doing for years. She does make it to the Iditarod after trudging through many opposing opinions. Will she be able to finish? What will others think of her success or failure? You will have to read the book to find out.
Thoughts: From the beginning I loved Rachael’s attitude and how she portrayed herself. She is persistent, stubborn, and determined to do everything and anything she wants. She doesn’t let other people’s opinions get to her. I also love that she is an extremely independent person. She rarely accepts help, and when she does, she isn’t very happy about it. When the Iditarod Trail Committee was leery of making an exception for her, she told them that she wasn’t happy about needing a visual interpreter, but it is a necessity for her to race. Even though her blindness doesn’t bother her, it does have some disadvantages for her. I loved reading about her different experiences during any race. When she was talking about Dalzell Gorge--which is a dangerous part of the Iditarod from Rainy Pass to Rohn--it was intriguing to hear about her experience through this quick paced run with sudden turns, steep hills, and tight squeezes.
Looking back at all this, one message that is portrayed is that humans have the capability to achieve anything life throws at them with a little determination. Rachael always perseveres despite what others say. She does run into problems like her condition, the media, and other’s judgments. The media has portrayed her as a blind racer rather than just a racer. She doesn’t like the fact that they focus on her condition rather than her racing abilities. I respect her for being able to withstand the constant questions about her condition and acting like a professional through them all. She sees the world for what it is by looking at people’s personalities rather than their looks. I wish more people, including myself, would have this sort of view of the world because then it would be a better place.
One thing that interested me was learning about the bioptic telescope. It’s a device that can be used in some states to allow the blind to drive. It is 3 inches long and attached to the user’s glasses. Overall I loved this book because it kept me intrigued and there was never a point that I was bored. At the end of this book, it left enough of an impression for me to do a little further research on Rachael to answer a few questions that I had. For instance, I learned that the bioptic telescope can be used for driving in Wisconsin, but the user cannot be licensed. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to read about people’s journey physically and emotionally. There were times when I felt upset at the people who told Rachael she couldn’t do something, or I was sad anytime she had an injured dog. I became immersed into this novel and was able to feel what Rachael felt. I hope that you have this same connection with Rachael by the end of this novel.