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This bold narrative written by the drummer and lyricist for the band Rush shows how Peart tried to stay alive by staying on the move after the loss of his 19-year-old daughter and his wife. The book will be sold as part of the band's official merchandise during its 47-city American tour. 20 photos. 15 maps. This bold narrative written by the drummer and lyricist for the band Rush shows how Peart tried to stay alive by staying on the move after the loss of his 19-year-old daughter and his wife. The book will be sold as part of the band's official merchandise during its 47-city American tour. 20 photos. 15 maps.


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This bold narrative written by the drummer and lyricist for the band Rush shows how Peart tried to stay alive by staying on the move after the loss of his 19-year-old daughter and his wife. The book will be sold as part of the band's official merchandise during its 47-city American tour. 20 photos. 15 maps. This bold narrative written by the drummer and lyricist for the band Rush shows how Peart tried to stay alive by staying on the move after the loss of his 19-year-old daughter and his wife. The book will be sold as part of the band's official merchandise during its 47-city American tour. 20 photos. 15 maps.

30 review for Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chip

    Man, some of you people are a tough crowd! I don't see any of you publishing a book or touring the world with a megaband. This book exists for several reasons - its a chronicle of what happened the year his wife and daughter died and how he coped. Why write a book? Maybe he was tired of answering the SAME QUESTIONS a bazillion times. This way he can say 'oh, I wrote this nice book about it, maybe you'd care to read it instead of annoy me?' Second reason - there exists in this world people who ac Man, some of you people are a tough crowd! I don't see any of you publishing a book or touring the world with a megaband. This book exists for several reasons - its a chronicle of what happened the year his wife and daughter died and how he coped. Why write a book? Maybe he was tired of answering the SAME QUESTIONS a bazillion times. This way he can say 'oh, I wrote this nice book about it, maybe you'd care to read it instead of annoy me?' Second reason - there exists in this world people who actually enjoy his narrative style and keen observations, and not everything he finds interesting goes into the lyrics. Reading the book(s) (there's more than one) actually expand upon the lyrics of many Rush songs and broaden the impact of the music for those intelligent (and unlazy) enough to find the linkages. Let's take an easy one: the song "Ghost Rider" and this book. You can listen to the song and its catchy, stands okay all by itself, but after you've read the book you understand the imagery of the song. What seems metaphorical lyrically is actual fact put to music... and you wouldn't know that if you didn't read the book. Third reason: this man writes because he enjoys writing, and it *is* a healing process that he can share with others, and by sharing that road he's helping them out too. There's no grief so great that a hundred thousand miles and countless bottles of Macallan won't numb... and from that anesthesia you will arrive at the same point the author did on p. 10: "Or maybe it was more like the Mormon woman's statement, 'the only reason I am alive is because I could not die.'" How many of you one-star whiners can appreciate the depth of grief behind that statement? He didn't write this book for you (no pictures, sorry)! Finally, this book is a closure, a retirement. The author is saying goodbye to his former life, including the fans who expect too much and just won't let go, and he's moving on to happiness with his new family. Ride on, MacDuff! We of intellect salute you and your accomplishments; let the rabble of narrow minds and pea brains be nothing more than a shadow in your rear-view mirror.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    In August 1997, Neil Peart’s teenage daughter was killed in a motor vehicle accident. Less than ten months later, the Rush drummer and principle lyricist for the band lost his wife to cancer. In his estimation, though, she died of a broken heart as she had essentially given up hope after her child’s death. Distraught and mourning from these staggering losses, Peart embarked on a 55,000-mile journey on the “healing road” – a solo motorcycle trip that lasted 15 months and took him across Canada, in In August 1997, Neil Peart’s teenage daughter was killed in a motor vehicle accident. Less than ten months later, the Rush drummer and principle lyricist for the band lost his wife to cancer. In his estimation, though, she died of a broken heart as she had essentially given up hope after her child’s death. Distraught and mourning from these staggering losses, Peart embarked on a 55,000-mile journey on the “healing road” – a solo motorcycle trip that lasted 15 months and took him across Canada, into Alaska, down through the American southwest, into Mexico and finally ending in Belize. Being an accomplished songwriter as well as a writer of prose, Peart knew how to put some words together. This collection of road notes, letters to friends, musings and philosophical observations as he struggles with grief along this trek across North America is heart breaking, thoughtful, introspective, inspirational and ultimately redemptive as Peart comes to terms with his anguish and finds a reason to keep moving forward. Peart described himself as a “touring musician” which to a Rush fan like myself is hyperbolic understatement. It would be like calling Pablo Picasso a “painter” or Ted Williams a “baseball player”. All technically true but woefully lacking in the full picture of their contributions in their circle of influence. Rush fans will find some interesting anecdotes and some insight into the background of the progressive rock band, but this is not a rock memoir – it is about grief and a man’s soul-searching journey through depression. Peart was an inquisitive, creative person and his insight into the mysteries of life and death, punctuated with references to literature, music and art, make this an enjoyable, if not always easy to read book. His grief was real and pervasive and though the production of this work was cathartic for him, traveling with him on this dark journey was sometimes difficult.

  3. 5 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    It's been several years since I've read this book, so I'm documenting my impressions from that vantage point. However, this book still resonates for me as an exquisite one. Of note, my older brother is NOT one to read books, but DID read this one... and it made a huge impression on him as well. Neil Peart is the incredibly talented drummer in legendary Canadian rock band Rush, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago. Rush's most famous and commercially successful so It's been several years since I've read this book, so I'm documenting my impressions from that vantage point. However, this book still resonates for me as an exquisite one. Of note, my older brother is NOT one to read books, but DID read this one... and it made a huge impression on him as well. Neil Peart is the incredibly talented drummer in legendary Canadian rock band Rush, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago. Rush's most famous and commercially successful song is "Tom Sawyer," and if you watch its official music video you will be entranced by its complex, inventive and forceful drum solo. It is iconic and most likely not that easy to do! I had heard that something tragic occurred in Neil Peart's personal life, and through internet searching had discovered that his 19-year old daugher Selena had died in a car accident. In addition, within less than a year's time his longtime partner and (mother of Selena) Jackie also passed away. Neil Peart is an avid reader. While other bands Rush would tour with might raise hell and cavort with groupies, Neil would be off in a secluded and quiet area reading away. To that end, he has an extensive vocabulary and naturally became Rush's lyricist. Over the decades and as an organic evolution of his talents, Peart took a stab at writing his own books. I'm not certain if this book was the first he wrote (since he has written other travelogues as well), but this one is hands down the most provocative and emotional...just brilliant. It will take you on a ride that is very satisfying. It will tear your heart out and put it right back by the end of the book...and the journey is incredible in between. The sheer irony of this book is just how emotionally reserved Neil Peart is in public, yet he truly bared his soul in the most personal way recounting the deaths of his daughter and life partner, and his resultant journey through grief. The honesty is jaw-dropping and riveting. As my brother and I read this book in tandem, he would comment daily as we read along...in awe and respect for Neil Peart. Perhaps writing this book was therapeutic for Peart's bereavement process, but it also was a selfless gift to the reader. The book launches with Neil and his life partner Jackie sending off their daughter Selena as she drives to college. By that evening, the telltale lights of a police vehicle are winding up the driveway. In painful detail, Peart recounts the moment they get the news of their daughter's death by car accident. In very honest and thoughtful prose, he takes you along through their reactions to this tragic news, the resultant effect on their relationship, and how they each deal with the grief. Within months Jackie is diagnosed with breast cancer and its as if she's already given up on her own life in the wake of her daughter's death. Indeed, within less than a year's time, Jackie also dies. One of Neil's passions is travelling on his BMW motorcycle. Alone in his grief, one day he decides to get on that motorcycle and keep going. He embarks on an extensive road trip from Canada through America, as if he's literally riding away from his grief. I love the stories that he shares of the weather, people and animals he encounters during his travels, as well as diners, restaurants and lodging he patronized. He likens it to a Jack London book. All along the way he confides in his emotional journey through grief. As the book nears its end, Neil has come to a place (to his utter surprise) of thinking about dating again. The book has a very beautiful and poignant ending. This was truly a diamond of a book that I will always treasure.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    This book is about how Neil Peart, the percussionist/lyricist for the band Rush coped with some massive family tragedies. He is a writer at heart, and wrote this book as he travelled around the continent trying to overcome the tragedies. I am a huge fan of Rush, and I've always loved dissecting Peart's lyrics for, really my entire life. The book was a huge disappointment for me. Though I know he wrote this book for himself and no one else, his arrogance was frustrating for me to handle. Some of t This book is about how Neil Peart, the percussionist/lyricist for the band Rush coped with some massive family tragedies. He is a writer at heart, and wrote this book as he travelled around the continent trying to overcome the tragedies. I am a huge fan of Rush, and I've always loved dissecting Peart's lyrics for, really my entire life. The book was a huge disappointment for me. Though I know he wrote this book for himself and no one else, his arrogance was frustrating for me to handle. Some of the book is amusing, and I like travelogues as much as the next guy, but I don't think this book is as important in the literary world as its supporters would have you believe; for Mr. Peart, definitely--for anyone else, it's a tedious and disappointing read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brainycat

    This was a fantastic read, but I don't know if it will go down in the annals of history as a great book. I'm a LONGtime Rush fan, which was the original impetus to pick it up. Also, I've gone through a number of huge changes in my life recently and since Neil's lyrics have been there for me through good times and bad, I thought I would give this book a try. Neil Peart is the drummer for the immensely successful band Rush. During the course of a year and a half, he lost his 19yo daughter in a car This was a fantastic read, but I don't know if it will go down in the annals of history as a great book. I'm a LONGtime Rush fan, which was the original impetus to pick it up. Also, I've gone through a number of huge changes in my life recently and since Neil's lyrics have been there for me through good times and bad, I thought I would give this book a try. Neil Peart is the drummer for the immensely successful band Rush. During the course of a year and a half, he lost his 19yo daughter in a car wreck and his wife to cancer. Consumed with soul-crushing grief, he hopped on his motorcycle and traveled over 55k miles across western Canada, the west and southwest of the US, and down through Mexico and Belize. He stashed his bike in Mexico during the latter part of winter, and returned to his home in Quebec through the following spring and summer, then flew back to his bike and rode it home. Two more roadtrips are documented in the ensuing months, though of much shorter and more focused duration. Honestly, though, the roadtrips cease to be an end unto themselves after he gets back to Quebec, and become more scenery for the changes happening inside him. As a travelogue it works wonderfully for me. He writes about the things I'd notice, though he's much more concerned about food and booze than I am. He's an incredibly well read and thoughtful man and the depth and breadth of his knowledge spills across each page effortlessly. He doesn't just describe the scenery, he places it into ecological and geopolitical context while he ponders his own emotional state with ideas from most of the greatest writers ever. His relationship to his motorcycle and the roads provide a sound material counterpoint to the internal turmoil he wrestles with constantly and makes every mile seem real and vital. He writes about his encounters with strangers and friends and family with equal aplomb, capturing the essence of what he felt at the time without sharing so many details the emotional landmarks get lost. The format of the book is mostly redacted journal entries and letters he writes to a few close friends, interspersed with short recollections to frame the letters and maintain continuity. For all his protestations of being essentially a shy loner, it's obvious he thrives on the company of people he loves and trusts and it's in his letters where you really see him work through his grief. Most of the letters are to his friend Brutus, who was originally planning to join him for this adventure but unfortunately got himself invited into the US penal system shortly before their planned departure. Brutus begins to take on an almost mythic quality to Neil, a larger than life hero who is equal parts confessional and unquestioning sympathetic listener. Brutus takes on the role of Neil's "better judgement", and several times Neil refrains from too much excess because Brutus isn't there to take care of him. I've seen several reviews that say the middle of the book is "whiny" - it's a book about a man getting over the deaths of his two greatest loves! What did they think it was going to read like? I feel he does an excellent job of keeping the writing moving and describing the tides of emotion that wash over him, even as he (too slowly for himself to see at the time) processes his feelings and puts himself back together. I felt the ending of the book was rushed (see what I did there?), and frankly, I didn't really need the epilogue. I would have liked to see the book either end one chapter sooner, or expound on how he discovered room in his life for love again in the same sort of detail he used to describe how he put himself back together again. I can't relate specifically to Neil's situation, but in the last 19 months I've given up a 25 year long relationship with alcohol, gotten divorced, changed jobs, completely changed my living situation, lost my cat companion of 16 years, and basically re-engineered my life from the ground up. The best part of this book, for me, was how he visualized and verbalized his "baby soul"; how he related to it and felt it were a small flame that needed nurturing and protecting. The therapist I talked to when dealing with my alcoholism used a very similar metaphor, so it resonated deeply with me. As Neil learns to cope day to day with the jagged holes in his life, different aspects of his personality emerge and he gives each of them names, not unlike the heroes of greek tragedies who are alternately possessed by different gods (archetypes) as they change through the story. While the topic of this book is grieving, and the format is a travelogue, this is ultimately a book full of hope and an homage to the triumph of the human spirit to dig deeper into itself than anyone could believe possible. Neil is a rationalist much like myself, and there aren't enough books by rationalists dealing with deep emotional pain, IMHO. To watch someone go through the healing process without the crutch of superstition was very empowering for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Buck Swindle

    As an Ex-Pat Canadian and a motorcyclist, it was in my DNA to read this book. Good: Neil's writing style is wonderful. He is open, honest and portrays his life and observations in a unique light. Bad: The events that transpired as the impetus for this journey and book were truly tragic. Things no one should ever be forced to endure. Having said that, the middle of the book gets whiny. What struck me about this was that because of the authors career and subsequent success, he had the opportunity t As an Ex-Pat Canadian and a motorcyclist, it was in my DNA to read this book. Good: Neil's writing style is wonderful. He is open, honest and portrays his life and observations in a unique light. Bad: The events that transpired as the impetus for this journey and book were truly tragic. Things no one should ever be forced to endure. Having said that, the middle of the book gets whiny. What struck me about this was that because of the authors career and subsequent success, he had the opportunity to run away from his life and what had happened before having to face them and wallow (rightfully so) in 'woe is me'. For the rest of us, we don't have that luxury. We have to go back to work, pay the bills, participate in the mundane day to day tasks that aren't going to wait while we avoid the grieving process. Makes me glad I gave up music lessons to chase girls and buy motorcycles. :D Great: While reading this book, I kept thinking 'man, if I had a BMW GS I could go to all these amazing places and have all these wonderful adventures'. I bought a GS and then another one and they have been the best internal combustion decisions I have ever made. I have Neil to partially thank for that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie "Jedigal"

    My friend's review of a different Peart book reminded me of this one. I borrowed this from my cousin's bookshelf back closer to its original publication. Sorry to say, I pretty much hated it. Have loved Rush since I was a teen, in large part due to their technically complex yet passionate and moving musical arrangements, and in large part due to Peart's insanely intellectual lyrics, which combine to complement each other perfectly. But, as I am not the first to say, Peart comes off primarily as My friend's review of a different Peart book reminded me of this one. I borrowed this from my cousin's bookshelf back closer to its original publication. Sorry to say, I pretty much hated it. Have loved Rush since I was a teen, in large part due to their technically complex yet passionate and moving musical arrangements, and in large part due to Peart's insanely intellectual lyrics, which combine to complement each other perfectly. But, as I am not the first to say, Peart comes off primarily as an arrogant jerk. I'm sorry for the circumstances under which he came to write this, but - well - losses happen to jerks and to nice people too, and in this case it seemed they happened to a jerk. The best I can say is - he is probably a really honest jerk, because he doesn't make himself look good here. This book totally confirmed me in my view that - for me - its usually best to NOT know too much about the personal lives of entertainers. I'd rather respect their work (if I do, that is), let that work stand on its own, and be grateful for that.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road was authored by Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for the legendary hard rock band Rush. This covers a couple of years in Peart's life, following the untimely deaths of his daughter and wife within a year of each other in the late 90s. I have very mixed feelings about this book. This was a severe disappointment, especially on an emotional level. A little about me: I'm a Rush fan going back to 1980. I've seen the band many times in concert, most recently on t Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road was authored by Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for the legendary hard rock band Rush. This covers a couple of years in Peart's life, following the untimely deaths of his daughter and wife within a year of each other in the late 90s. I have very mixed feelings about this book. This was a severe disappointment, especially on an emotional level. A little about me: I'm a Rush fan going back to 1980. I've seen the band many times in concert, most recently on the Time Machine tour in 2011. I bought this book at the merchandise booth in Irvine, California at one of their shows during the 2002 Vapor Trails tour. I knew about Neil Peart's tragedies long before the book was published, so I very much looked forward to reading it. It almost goes without saying that Peart is one of the most literate musicians in rock music history. He is extremely well-read, and his lyrics are filled with literary references. So it was not a stretch to assume that this book would be very well-crafted and intelligent. Most Rush fans already know Peart is not the warmest guy you'll ever meet. He is famously shy around fans, and he carefully guards his privacy. He has a rather emotionless, bookish manner, lending to the nickname his bandmates applied to him--The Professor. His early Rush lyrics were largely philosophical, mythical, and science fiction--with the occasional heartfelt anthem such as 'Closer to the Heart.' Since the late 70s, he has given his lyrics more of a direct, personal perspective--'Limelight' is a letter to fans telling them why he'll never be comfortable with fame; 'Distant Early Warning' is written as a worried husband and father; and 'The Pass' is lamenting a victim of suicide--for a few examples. So Neil Peart is definitely not without a heart. Following the losses of his daughter (in an auto accident) and common-law wife (to cancer) within the space of only ten months in 1997-98, Peart was alone--his immediate family gone. But instead of dealing with his grief at home in Ontario, he ran away from his grieving and hit the road for fourteen months on his motorcycle, crossing the width of Canada, down into the western United States, and deep into the heart of Mexico. Peart is a lifelong diarist, so it's natural that he kept a diary of his travels. This book is an expansion of those diaries. It is the traveling which is the essence of Ghost Rider. This book provided Neil Peart with a perfect chance to lay bare his 'little baby soul'--borrowing his own phrase from the book--to reveal his inner self and share his grief with the public. So it was surprising to realize that he hides his emotions just as deeply as ever in this book. It's ironic that the book's subtitle is Travels on the Healing Road, because he shares very little, if anything, about his healing. Peart devotes most of the writing to his travels, and almost nothing about his family. We know that he's sensitive and introspective, but it's not in the writing. We also know he's missing his family and tending the wounds of their loss, but that's not in the writing, either. Instead, what we get is the traveling in full, unadulterated color--flora and fauna, the sights, sounds, meals eaten, drinks imbibed, books read, a bit of local history, and of course, the riding and the roads, for many thousands of miles. We don't get memories and pain and loss and introspection. Those emotions are internalized, unshared. But we do get the running away--the next hotel, the next road, and next bottle of The Macallan, the next letter to his friend Brutus, the convicted drug dealer. . . . And the fact is, I learned more about Peart's affection for his loser friend Brutus than I learned about his love for his departed family, and to me, that was the single most frustrating reality of the book. By the halfway point, I was already worn out and tired of traveling with him, and I really wanted to give up. I wasn't feeling sorry for him anymore, and I just couldn't wait for the journey to end. I dreaded the long, uphill slog in the second half. I had to force myself to finish it, and did so grudgingly. As expected, the second half was somewhat worse than the first. There's a lot of filler, shared with an awkward levity and those neverending letters to Brutus. The book is way overlong. I began skimming, just trying to make the pages go by as quickly as possible. The climax of the book is a breathless few pages where he suddenly finds the next love of his life and everyone lives happily ever after. Strangely enough, my favorite part of the book was when he got off the road, went home to Ontario for maybe two months, and had to deal with the pain and the memories directly and honestly. It was here that Neil Peart finally became a sympathetic figure. Ironically, his process of healing improved noticeably whenever he wasn't on the road! He wants us to think his road trip was the key to his healing, but it really wasn't. He was just running away from his problems. His grief was still waiting for him when he got back, and it was only then that he began making progress. So if there's a lesson in this fable, it's that you can run away from your grief, but it won't heal you. I think Ghost Rider is hugely overrated--helped largely by the fact that Peart's audience is a very friendly crowd. The book is marketed almost entirely to fans of the band. Many of us were already familiar with his story, so he simply didn't have to win over any newcomers for the book to sell. We walk into it wanting to sympathize with him--ready and even eager to feel sorry for him. And it's that goodwill which propels the book's many fawning reviews (some of which can be seen right here at Goodreads). Many readers have already made up their minds about this book before reading. Peart's reputation precedes and forgives any flaws, in their minds. Ghost Rider is one of those books that is revealing of the author by what it doesn't show, and in Peart's case it's that he buried his 'little baby soul' where only he could see it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scott Carles

    I have been a Rush fan since 1978. I have loved Peart's lyrics ever since. I ride a motorcycle and like to travel on it. I couldn't wait to read this book! Peart suffered a tragic loss, no one can take that away. But just because you choose to write about a loss doesn't automatically make it a well told story. It's much the same with amateur poetry writing - some people think that because the event/emotion/etc. was deeply felt by them, that when they pen it and share it, no matter how poor the wr I have been a Rush fan since 1978. I have loved Peart's lyrics ever since. I ride a motorcycle and like to travel on it. I couldn't wait to read this book! Peart suffered a tragic loss, no one can take that away. But just because you choose to write about a loss doesn't automatically make it a well told story. It's much the same with amateur poetry writing - some people think that because the event/emotion/etc. was deeply felt by them, that when they pen it and share it, no matter how poor the writing, others must honor and respect it. Sure, you can honor and respect that the person felt that way, but once it's shared, the way the person has shared it is fair game for dissection. So my problem with the book is the way Peart went about sharing the experience. I found it repetitive, dull and bellybutton gazing at its worst--it seemed like an extended pity-party. If Peart would have put his skills as a lyricist to work on this book, he could have easily trimmed it down from 400 pages to about 75 and told the story in a much more compelling read. Instead it just went on forever with no hint of the deft touch he exercises in his lyrics. Because of that style of writing, I just wanted him to stop whining and get on with it. There is nothing in the book that draws me in and makes me care about Peart or his problems. I was hoping for some soul-searching then wisdom. No such luck. Not even the travel portions could redeem this because he was drowning in his sorrows and focused on himself. If he would have spent time looking outward instead of inward so much, maybe something would have resonated not only with him, but through him to the reader. Instead we get mostly diary entries (more lists of went here, went here, went here, variety), not narrative which could also have helped pull things together. I think that maybe this book was written too close to his loss to really deliver anything useful to others. With as much respect as I have for his lyrics, I wish I could be more positive about this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    If I were looking for great literature, I would choose another book. But what I expected from this book is what I received. I was able to share in Neil's pain and his search for healing and understanding after the death of his daughter in an automobile accident and then, much too soon, the death of his wife from illness. The writing of this book was therapy for a broken man. He used a solitary motorcycle trek over thousands of miles to rid himself of the many demons that crowded his mind and spi If I were looking for great literature, I would choose another book. But what I expected from this book is what I received. I was able to share in Neil's pain and his search for healing and understanding after the death of his daughter in an automobile accident and then, much too soon, the death of his wife from illness. The writing of this book was therapy for a broken man. He used a solitary motorcycle trek over thousands of miles to rid himself of the many demons that crowded his mind and spirit after these terrible personal losses. The resultant book was made from the journals he kept along the way. I can understand why this book may not appeal to the general reading audience. It is not exciting and there is no plot. But....if you have suffered real emotional pain in your life, or if you have an interest in human psychology, you may, like me, be able to empathize and in some small way share in Neil's pain. Also, I have had opportunities to travel over most of the U.S. and so, I was able to share also in many of Neil's descriptions of the landscapes through which he passed. If you have read a few of my reviews, you know that I have some history of music from the mid 60's to the present. But for whatever reason, I did not connect with Rush until 2013. So, I am just getting to know Alex, Geddy, and Neil. Perhaps my newly found interest in the band and its players is why I may be a bit more tolerant of Neil's dry prose. Also, I can be comfortable around people and have always had the ability to fit in....but....I am also very content to be alone. I get it, about how Neil needed to make that solitary trip on the healing road......Michael

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chad O'Donnell

    Decent story about the author's grieving process after losing both a daughter and wife within a 10-month span. The details of his travels across Canada, the American West, and Mexico provide great imagery of the roadmap he took while riding solo on motorcycle. However, his recaps of his journey, through both his journal and letters to friends and loved ones, becomes a bit tedious to the reader. The recounting of his journey becomes repetitive and monotonous, and by the half way point of the book, Decent story about the author's grieving process after losing both a daughter and wife within a 10-month span. The details of his travels across Canada, the American West, and Mexico provide great imagery of the roadmap he took while riding solo on motorcycle. However, his recaps of his journey, through both his journal and letters to friends and loved ones, becomes a bit tedious to the reader. The recounting of his journey becomes repetitive and monotonous, and by the half way point of the book, becomes dull and tired. At times, he often lashes out - in his journal/letters - against people he deems as "typical Americans" and also laments at times his celebrity status... a status that allowed him to travel for months on end without immediate worry of financial repercussions. While being a celebrity (in his case, the extraordinary drummer for the legendary Canadian rock band, "Rush") doesn't entitle fans and admirers to overtly invade or intrude on his personal space, the distance he keeps from even the occasional fan seems a bit off-putting. On that note, I do not know how one could cope with the type of tragedy that Neil Peart endured during the latter years of the 1990's, I do have to say that it's amazing that he was able to move on and find solace in a new life and also return the craft in which he has been known for the world over as one of the best. While I would not recommend this read to any non-Rush fan, there is, at times, some good story telling; and for any devout Rush fan - you probably will find some positive takeaways.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Cristiani

    This is a touching memoir about Peart's solitary motorcycle journey after losing his wife and daughter. He clocks huge amounts of miles, stopping at his lake house outside Toronto as a home base. The detailed descriptions of each ride read like a travel guide - you could stay and eat at the same places he did - you could even order the same food - it was that detailed. Of course it was well-written, and his frequent cultural and literary references educate as well as entertain. That said, the boo This is a touching memoir about Peart's solitary motorcycle journey after losing his wife and daughter. He clocks huge amounts of miles, stopping at his lake house outside Toronto as a home base. The detailed descriptions of each ride read like a travel guide - you could stay and eat at the same places he did - you could even order the same food - it was that detailed. Of course it was well-written, and his frequent cultural and literary references educate as well as entertain. That said, the book was amost 500 pages long. Much of the memoir is in letter form, and sometimes the letters are redundant: they literally restate the same words verbatim from letter to letter. And often they reference people or places, or even phrases, that are known only to the letter's recipient, and alienate the reader. The themes of love, loss, and loneliness get lost in that - it should have been edited much more cleanly. Perhaps in true Ayn Rand style, Peart refused to let anyone edit his words? It's a shame. I would have liked the book even more had there been less of it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Ghost Rider is a memoir of the author's (Neal Peart, Rock Star Drummer, author, etc.) journey from grief to grief as he travels alone across North America on his motorcycle. The reader is brought into his inner thoughts through his journals and letters to dear friends and family. The level of his grief is profound, and for me it meant that I sometimes needed to take a break from the book. And his journey through that grief goes on, and on, just like the Ghost Rider. The author is very gracious f Ghost Rider is a memoir of the author's (Neal Peart, Rock Star Drummer, author, etc.) journey from grief to grief as he travels alone across North America on his motorcycle. The reader is brought into his inner thoughts through his journals and letters to dear friends and family. The level of his grief is profound, and for me it meant that I sometimes needed to take a break from the book. And his journey through that grief goes on, and on, just like the Ghost Rider. The author is very gracious for allowing the reader into this tender and painful part of his life. I was amazed at the kindness he displayed toward his own pain-- noting that his grief had splintered him into many characters, each of whom served a different purpose in helping him cope. He seemed to have a tenderness toward these fractured aspects of himself and treated them as if they were all friends. It was a very profound lesson in moving on by keeping moving (but moving in a previously unforseen and unknowable direction). I was relieved and satisfied that eventually he is able to exit "Death Valley" and find access to joy again. One thing that I found very interesting in the book were the common literary references (didn't expect this from a drummer in a rock band). For example, the title of one of the chapters is "Homeward Angel, On the Fly" is a reference to a Milton poem (possibly also a Thomas Wolfe book entitled Look Homeward, Angel), Lycidas, in which an "uncouth swain" mourns the too-soon passing of a dear one lost at sea, "Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear, Compels me to disturb your season due: For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer" At the point in the poem where Milton writes, "Look homeward angel" he makes a turning point from describing the bitter sorrow that the whole earth feels at the loss of this friend, noting that the weeping must end as Lycidas has gone home as an angel where heaven is all that much more improved for the presence of Lycidas. And then the shepherd aka "the uncouth swain" moves on... "And now the Sun had stretch'd out all the hills, And now was dropt into the Western bay; At last he rose, and twitch'd his Mantle blew: To morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new. "

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liberty

    It has been a pleasure to spend over a month within the pages of this memoir. I've laughed, cried, stared off into space in deep thought... This is one part grief journal, one part travel adventure, one part music lyric, one part personal reading journal, one part vocabulary wizardry, one part nature field guide, one part healing through humor. "If your little baby soul is cranky and restless, you've got to take your little baby soul out for a ride..." I knew Neil Peart as an accomplished, impressi It has been a pleasure to spend over a month within the pages of this memoir. I've laughed, cried, stared off into space in deep thought... This is one part grief journal, one part travel adventure, one part music lyric, one part personal reading journal, one part vocabulary wizardry, one part nature field guide, one part healing through humor. "If your little baby soul is cranky and restless, you've got to take your little baby soul out for a ride..." I knew Neil Peart as an accomplished, impressive drummer. Now I know him as a brilliant lyricist and communicator. His words have been a gift to my soul during a time of change and simultaneous joy and grief.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Doran Barton

    Well, I finished “Ghost Rider” by Neil Peart. In retrospect, I’m not sure why it took me six years to finally get around to reading it. But, it did. Thom, one of my best friends, was reading “Ghost Rider” while we were traveling through Oregon and Washington many years back. He enjoyed Neil’s commentary on Oregon’s ridiculous laws that mandate that you do not pump your own gasoline. Instead, you must allow a minimum-wage worker to do it for you. Thom and I share a common heritage of sorts. We both Well, I finished “Ghost Rider” by Neil Peart. In retrospect, I’m not sure why it took me six years to finally get around to reading it. But, it did. Thom, one of my best friends, was reading “Ghost Rider” while we were traveling through Oregon and Washington many years back. He enjoyed Neil’s commentary on Oregon’s ridiculous laws that mandate that you do not pump your own gasoline. Instead, you must allow a minimum-wage worker to do it for you. Thom and I share a common heritage of sorts. We both became hardcore fans of the band Rush when we were teenagers. Neil Peart is probably best known for being the amazing drummer for Rush. I venture to guess that a large proportion of the sales of “Ghost Rider” and Peart’s three or four other books come from loyal Rush fans that can’t find enough ways to support their favorite band. I finally came around to ordering the book from Amazon after I attended a screening of the documentary “Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage” when it was in limited theatrical release. There was a short segment in the documentary about Neil’s hiatus from the music business, his motorcycle journeys across North America and down into Central America, and the resulting book he wrote about it. I decided it was time to finally read the dang thing. Why would Neil Peart walk away from the successful role as drummer of one of the world’s most successful rock bands? Well, it was a tragedy. Two tragedies, actually. First, his 19 year-old daughter, Neil’s only child, died in a freak car accident on her way back to college from home. Then, his wife was diagnosed with cancer and died ten months after the car accident. Neil was left with no family. Neil’s wife Jackie took it especially hard when their daughter died. Neil had a rough time caring for Jackie as she grieved inconsoleably after their daughter’s accident. Then, he had to deal with her descent and surrender to cancer. Following his wife’s death, Neil described himself as being nearly soulless, to the point of feeling like a ghost. He felt it was torture to sit around home where he had nothing but memories and things that reminded him of his wife and daughter. So, he mounted his “trusty steed,” a BMW R1100GS motorcycle, and headed to The Yukon and Alaska, beginning a journey that attempted to heal a wounded heart, soothe a grieving soul, and patch a broken man. For those not in the know, in addition to being the band’s drummer, Neil has been the predominant lyricist for Rush since he joined the band in 1974. His influence on the band’s music is heard not only in the complex rhythms and ever-shifting time signatures, but in the reflective and obviously literate lyrics. Peart’s book is littered with verses he wrote for various Rush songs that, more or less, fit that part of the book. I found it interesting, ironic perhaps, that for a man who seems obviously so inexperienced dealing with real human suffering, he sure had written anecdotally about it a lot over the years. The writing is an unusual mix of straight-ahead storytelling mixed with copies of letters Neil wrote to friends and family along with transcribed excerpts from his personal journal writings. Sometimes, his letters also include journal excerpts. Neil’s letters went to different acquaintances, some closer to him than others, but most of the letters included in the book are correspondence sent by Neil to his friend, and riding partner, Brutus. Brutus was supposed to join Neil a month or so into the ride but got himself thrown in jail after being caught with a “‘truckful’ of a controlled substance of a leafy green nature.” While Neil doesn’t come right out and acknowledge it, it does seem that he finds some rehabilitative help in writing… and writing… and writing… to Brutus. He tells Brutus everything he’s doing, seeing, and thinking while he’s on his road trip. Neil does this both to engage his own need for an outlet, but it also seems clear he wants to make things easier for his friend while he’s in jail. I found that endearing and sweet. I’ve never had someone write to me that much, but then, I’ve never been in jail and I don’t think any of my friends write anywhere close to as much as Neil Peart apparently does. In addition to writing about his feelings as he’s going through the motions of processing his unbearable grief, the highlights and notable sights of the country he’s riding through, the hotels, motels, and lodges he stays at, the food he eats at the various restaurants and other dining facilities along the way, and the relative merits of BMW Motorcycle dealerships and service centers he deals with, Neil also provides a running list of the books and authors he’s reading when he’s not in the saddle. As a result, I learned a lot about authors such as Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Copote, Jack Kerouac, Cormac McCarthy, Edward Abbey, and Hunter S. Thompson. I think anybody who has been through any kind of significant suffering can empathize, to some extent, with what Neil describes having gone through in “Ghost Rider.” I also think this book could be useful, therapeutically, for someone who is going through a difficult time dealing with some kind of loss. I’m not in any way suggesting I “completely understand” how Neil Peart felt when he hopped on his motorcycle, hit the road, and repeatedly said he’d never return to playing the drums because he “wasn’t that guy anymore.” But, I do understand the desire to flee from your “old life,” to run away on some mind-numbing distraction involving simply the road and nature. I remember when I was young — only 22-years-old — I had been dumped, somewhat abruptly, by a girl that I thought the universe of. I had really thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with her and had grown quite attached to her company. It didn’t help that I still had to see her around the college campus we both attended. I’m sure any of my friends at the time can attest, accompanied by sighs of recollection and plentiful amounts of eye-rolling, how grieved and confused I was; How I always wanted to ask the same questions (usually starting with the word “Why”) over and over; How it didn’t matter what the answers were, they never seemed to bring me any closer to moving on; How I neglected my schoolwork, participated in some self-destructive behavior, and spent quite a bit of time driving around on backroads through various rural and mountain areas listening to loud music. Neil’s detailed and carefully architected expositions about the landscapes he visits are amazing. The way he describes the deserts of the southwest, complete with flora and wildlife, precipitation cycles, and history makes it nearly effortless to imagine what he was describing. The same thing goes for the forests (and the high, barren areas) of the great north Canadian Yukon areas and Alaska, not to mention the cold, icy, muddy road conditions on the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Circle. Neil employs the same degree of detail in describing the accommodations he finds at each lodging facility he stops at along the way. The same goes for the nearby restaurants. In a nutshell, reading “Ghost Rider” kind of made me want to go out and buy a nice, big touring bike and hit the road visiting some of the wonders Neil describes. The caveat, however, is that along with these picturesque word-paintings luring you to various destinations, Neil also injects the would-be traveler with a diatribe of hateful anti-tourist insults. It’s like he’s saying, “These are some amazing, wonderful places to visit, but all the people visiting them are ugly, fat, and stupid.” I think some that stems from the down mood he was in at the time. One place he describes visiting that stood out for me was Telegraph Creek, a small settlement in the forests of the Yukon. Neil’s description really gave me a vivid picture of it in my mind’s eye. The destination I had in mind was Telegraph Creek, because… well, because I liked the name. I first heard of it in Equinox (“The Magazine of Canadian Discovery,” now defunct, unfortunately) in which the writer had pointed out that map-makers seemed to like Telegraph Creek because it gave them a name to put on an otherwise empty region, where northern British Columbia met the Alaskan Panhandle. The settlement had flourished briefly twice, first during the Klondike gold rush when it was the head of navigation for steamboats carrying prospectors up the Stikine River. From there, they could travel overland to the Yukon goldfields on what came to be known as “The Bughouse Trail,” its history replete with Jack London-style tales of starvation, scurvy, frostbite, and madness. The town’s second life, and the source of its name, came from an American scheme to run a telegraph cable overland through Alaska, under the Bering Strait, and across Russia to connect with Europe, but shortly after the surveying was completed, the project was rendered pointless by the laying of the transatlantic cable. Telegraph Creek once again lapsed into a virtual ghost town, and the only present-day visitors seemed to be attracted by boat, raft, and kayaking expeditions on the Stikine River. Or by the name. Another siren-call for me was the romantic lure of an isolated, storied destination which lay “at the end of the road.” Telegraph Creek was a dot on the map at the end of a long unpaved road, far from anywhere, the kind of place Brutus and I used to dream about exploding (in fact, it was Brutus, in a recent telephone conversation, who had urged me go there). The guidebooks disagreed on whether I would have to navigate 74 miles or 74 kilometers of that road, but they agreed that it was “rough” and “often treacherous.” In fact it turned out to be 112 kilometers (near enough 74 miles) of dirt and gravel winding through deep forest and steep switchbacks up and down the walls of “The Grand Canyon of the Stikine.” In some places, the sheer cliffs of eroded, multi-layered rock did resemble a modest version of that famed stretch of the Colorado River, and sometime the road was a mere ledge perched on those vertical walls, dropping off into a frightening abyss. My journal described it as a “scary, scary road,” and I was fairly rattled when I pulled up in front of the Stikine Riverson café, general store, lodge, and boat-tour headquarters. All this was housed in one large white frame building facing the swift-moving river, and I learned later that it had been the original Hudson Bay Company trading post, situated just downriver, and had been moved piece by piece to Telegraph Creek. A few other abandoned-looking houses and a small church clustered on the river bank, but only the Riverson showed any signs of life. The guidebooks said that a few rooms were available there, but if they happened to be filled it would be a long way back to any other lodgings. The cold, gloomy weather made the idea of camping uninviting, but once again I was glad to be carrying my little tent and sleeping bag, especially when the owner told me he was closing up for the weekend and taking the staff upriver in his tour boat to celebrate the end of their season. Then, after a moment’s thought, he said that I was welcome to rent one of the rooms and stay there on my own. That was thoughtful, hospitable, and trusting of him, and I only asked what I might do for food. He told me there was a kitchen upstairs where I could prepare my own meals, so I bought a few provisions in the general store in the back of the building, including some fresh salmon from the river, and carried my bags to a small bedroom upstairs. I watched through the café window as the owner and his three employees loaded their camping gear into the motor boat and my only regret was missing the opportunity for a tour of the river myself. I stood on the riverbank and watched the boat speed away upriver against the strong current, and felt a little excited, and a little fearful. … I slept soundly with my window open to the cool, fresh air and the murmuring of the river, and took a walk before breakfast on another chilly, overcast morning. Past ruined cabins and abandoned, moss-covered cars and pickups from the 1950s, a narrow path led up a high lava-rock cliff above a steep scree to an old graveyard overlooking the town. As I walked among the stones reading the inscriptions, the bare facts of names and dates had a whole new resonance for me, for I felt them as part of a story like mine, a story of love and loss. I thought about “Honey Joe,” who had died at the age of 105 and was buried beside “Mrs. Joe,” who he had outlived by about 40 years. Then there were all the babies, children, teenagers, and young men and women, and I found myself weeping for all the lost ones, theirs and mine. Ghost town indeed. After I started reading “Ghost Rider,” I told a friend that I had picked up the book. He said he remembered hearing or reading a little about it and that it struck him as being quite vain or that other reviews had painted Neil as being vain. I don’t think he’s vain, I think he’s just… odd. Neil Peart is better-read and better-schooled than probably 99% of people in the civilized world. He’s likely afflicted with Aspergers Syndrome because it’s clear he has serious social phobias and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. In his writing, he tends to be blunt, even if his prose is beautiful and intricate. He doesn’t stop until he’s faithfully described what he’s thinking, what he’s seen or what he’s experienced. I can see how some people would find his writing style as vain, but I don’t, really. One personal observation I made to myself as I read this book was that Neil would have probably dealt much better with his tragic circumstances if he had not depleted himself of religion. Several times in the book he describes himself as a rational-scientific-skeptic. It made me think of a common religious perspective that an atheist is not someone who believes in nothing, but rather someone who can be persuaded to believe anything. There was a moment in the book where Neil takes a chance on a fortune teller who uses Tarot cards or similar to tell Neil exactly what’s going in his life, leaving him stunned. It’s no surprise that Neil has acquired a deck of the cards for himself before long. But, yeah, it’s sad to read Neil’s constant bellyaching about how confused he is and how unfair his life has been to him and his family. Several times during the book I reflected on how fortunate I felt I was to have a belief system that give me a structure to sustain me if I were to go through such trying times. Another surprising observation I had as I read the book was just how much of a liberal environmentalist Neil is. For someone who dedicated a record to Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead,” I guess I just thought he’d still have more of an Objectivist outlook toward nature, capitalism, and industry. I guess any of that he once had has been stolen away by his success and now he’s, for a lack of a better description, a snobby left-winger who thinks we need to save the planet from ourselves. Overall, I liked the book. I have some degree of interest in reading another Neil Peart book, but now I have so many other books on my reading lists thanks to what Neal said in this one.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joe Richards

    A deeply personal insight into one man's experience of coping with tragedy. If you're reading this then you more than likely know that Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist of Rush, an avid reader and established author. His writing style is that of exquisite detail; he is highly observant and appreciative of his environment, both externally and internally, and as such this detailed account of his 55,000 mile journey across Canada, North America and Mexico, along what he calls 'The Healing Road A deeply personal insight into one man's experience of coping with tragedy. If you're reading this then you more than likely know that Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist of Rush, an avid reader and established author. His writing style is that of exquisite detail; he is highly observant and appreciative of his environment, both externally and internally, and as such this detailed account of his 55,000 mile journey across Canada, North America and Mexico, along what he calls 'The Healing Road', leaves little to the imagination. Unfortunately this is where the book falls down slightly. Overly detailed updates of what Peart has eaten for dinner that night, the mechanical intricacies of his motorcycle, some fairly harsh and occasionally arrogant critiques of people he observes on his travels, and a vast amount of letters written to his friends - often describing such observations for a second time - lead me to the conclusion that the book really could have done with a harsher editor. There is also often a tangible sense of detachment from the lives of others, particularly the audience of the book. Although, of course, originally written as a personal journal, there is little post-production awareness added to ackowledge the position of privilege: where your average reader might have to grieve whilst maintaining work and social norms, Peart is able to put his life on hold for fourteen months, and it's a little harder to empathise with his experience of riding between nightly luxury hotels, fine dining and 18-year old scotch whiskeys than it perhaps should be. This is not to undermine the emotional or physical strain of the journey itself, and whilst stylistically there is an occasional lack of pathos, it becomes all the more amicable, approachable, sympathetic and emotionally potent a read when Peart focuses in on his feelings, when he quotes from his favourite authors, reflects on happier familial memories or regails the reader with a series of interesting historical or geographical facts he has learned on that particular day. Rush fans simply looking for an insight into his musical career would do well to look elsewhere. However, fans of Neil Peart who bear an awareness of his hyper-intellectual (and arguably socially skewed) personality, or simply anyone with a passing interest in coping mechanisms for grief, would certainly find a considerable wealth of material here.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hriday

    We read in order that we may live other’s experiences. Peart has succeeded in a poignant depiction of just that in dealing with loss and mourning. Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road is an account of the bereavement of one of Rock’N’Roll’s most acclaimed drummers and his epic journey of over 14000 kilometres across most of North America on motorcycle to come to terms with his grief. He lost both his wife and only child within the span of a year and was left rudderless and aimless RUSH is perh We read in order that we may live other’s experiences. Peart has succeeded in a poignant depiction of just that in dealing with loss and mourning. Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road is an account of the bereavement of one of Rock’N’Roll’s most acclaimed drummers and his epic journey of over 14000 kilometres across most of North America on motorcycle to come to terms with his grief. He lost both his wife and only child within the span of a year and was left rudderless and aimless RUSH is perhaps the most famous band to come out of Canada and also one on which opinion is most divided. Geddy Lee’s screeching vocals are offset by drum virtuoso Neil Peart and guitarist Alex Lifeson’s pyrotechnics. One of the few drummer lyricists in Rock Peart comes across as an astonishingly inquisitive man who concomitantly is an avid reader. The book is peppered with references to Jack London, Shakespeare, Auden and Capote but what stings the reader the most is that for all his virtuosity, erudition and knowledge Peart undergoes the very same struggles that every ordinary mortal undergoes- the need for love, a centre and meaning. The author writes with a sly humour despite his grief with the book being part journal, part travelogue, part biography and part epistolary narrative. The book has vivid descriptions of North America’s flora and fauna and cultural heritage with it even helping us gain insights into the history and geography of North America. What sustains Peart at the end of day are his numerous friendships and his learning to absorb his grief over sustained period of time. It took me nearly 4 years to finally finish this book having a bit of Readers Block but I can say for all my struggles it was worth it. The book ends with Peart remarrying and starting a new life and ends on the note “To the future, with honour to the past” as it rightly should. Strongly recommended to Rock N Roll fans. Those who are dealing with grief may also read it ( Would also recommend they pick up Levels of Life by Julian Barnes)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jared Millet

    Back after Rush's Test for Echo tour in 1998, drummer Neil Peart suffered an unimaginable horror in his personal life: losing both his daughter and his wife in less than a year. Needless to say, he was utterly destroyed - barely able to function any more in any meaningful way. His solution: get on his motorcycle and ride. Peart spent the better part of two years crisscrossing Canada, the U.S. and Mexico with only the vaguest sense of where he was going to guide him, letting the scenery drift by Back after Rush's Test for Echo tour in 1998, drummer Neil Peart suffered an unimaginable horror in his personal life: losing both his daughter and his wife in less than a year. Needless to say, he was utterly destroyed - barely able to function any more in any meaningful way. His solution: get on his motorcycle and ride. Peart spent the better part of two years crisscrossing Canada, the U.S. and Mexico with only the vaguest sense of where he was going to guide him, letting the scenery drift by as the remains of his "baby soul" knit back together. Ghost Rider isn't your usual travelogue of neat places and wacky characters. It's a deeply personal internal voyage through the dark places and the quiet that goes along with intense, heartfelt grief. Like the grieving process, it can be meandering and seemingly aimless at times, until you turn around and realize how much has gone by. That Peart would commit an experience this deeply personal to the public record is amazing. Would I have stumbled across this book if I hadn't already been a fan of the World's Greatest Drummer? I don't know. Ghost Rider isn't by any means a self-help book, but it helped me to no end to have a view of someone else's experience with grief seen from the inside-out.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    This should have been a great motorcycle book. As an established word monger it should have been worthy reading. I heard the author interviewed by the late Peter Gzowski when the book first came out. I am not a big Rush fan (I know heresy for a Canadian) and I didn't know who Peart was until the Gzowski interview. His story sounded so complelling. Peart's tragic losses (no spoilers) should have made me naturally sympathetic to him. He squandered my sympathy with his self-centered selfishness. Mone This should have been a great motorcycle book. As an established word monger it should have been worthy reading. I heard the author interviewed by the late Peter Gzowski when the book first came out. I am not a big Rush fan (I know heresy for a Canadian) and I didn't know who Peart was until the Gzowski interview. His story sounded so complelling. Peart's tragic losses (no spoilers) should have made me naturally sympathetic to him. He squandered my sympathy with his self-centered selfishness. Money can buy lots of things: best motorcycle; no worries on the road; good hotels and food. What it can't buy is heart. In this tale Peart has no heart. His story becomes tedious. He doesn't speak to me as a motorcyclist either. You can ride around all you want but nothing he did or experienced left me thinking more about it. I forgot most of it after I put the book down. I borrowed the book from my son's library so I don't have it to review specifics at the moment. Nothing about it stayed with me though. Indictment alone. Sadly, I think if it wasn't for his celebrity this would not have gotten past a good editor.

  20. 5 out of 5

    George Bradford

    Neil Peart. I will not argue with you about his drumming. I will not argue with you about his lyrics. I will not argue with you about his band or the Music they made. To each their own. But after reading “Ghost Rider” I will suffer no fool possessing the notion that Neil Peart was anything less than a brilliant writer. This outstanding book is all the evidence needed. Wonderful storytelling. Keen detail. Fascinating history. Physical perseverance. Emotional struggle. Great books. And their authors. Neil Peart. I will not argue with you about his drumming. I will not argue with you about his lyrics. I will not argue with you about his band or the Music they made. To each their own. But after reading “Ghost Rider” I will suffer no fool possessing the notion that Neil Peart was anything less than a brilliant writer. This outstanding book is all the evidence needed. Wonderful storytelling. Keen detail. Fascinating history. Physical perseverance. Emotional struggle. Great books. And their authors. Memorable characters. Amazing food. And beverages. Social criticism. Philosophy. Wisdom. Common sense. And adventure galore. All conveyed to the reader in a variety of blended formats. Prose. Journals. Letters. (And plenty of those lyrics.) This excellent book has got it all. And more. The more: Neil Peart. In addition to being a brilliant writer, Neil Peart is a genuinely unique individual. Honest. Earnest. Persnickety. Flawed. True to himself. And courageous. Neil Peart. After reading “Ghost Rider” I am inspired to read all of Neil Peart’s other works of non-fiction. If those books are anywhere near as good as “Ghost Rider” they will be great.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    There is no reason behind for Neil Peart's loss of his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, to a car accident and 10 months later, his wife, Jackie's broken heart contributed to her death from cancer. No 'fairness'. No one 'deserves' the loss of a loved one and recurring pain being left behind. It just is. And somehow, some way, the one left behind needs to move on, find what still brings a measure of peace, a measure of joy and happiness. Peart took the approach that taking a restless and unhappy baby There is no reason behind for Neil Peart's loss of his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, to a car accident and 10 months later, his wife, Jackie's broken heart contributed to her death from cancer. No 'fairness'. No one 'deserves' the loss of a loved one and recurring pain being left behind. It just is. And somehow, some way, the one left behind needs to move on, find what still brings a measure of peace, a measure of joy and happiness. Peart took the approach that taking a restless and unhappy baby for a ride can often soothe them so he bundled up what he called his baby soul - the remains of the man who was - and took a motorcycle ride across Canada, the western United States into Mexico to Belize. Along the way, he maintained a journal which formed the basis of letters to friends, family and his old travelling buddy, Brutus who was under arrest in New York and eventually this book. As months and miles (wait, kilometers since he is Canadian) pass under his tires, Neil tries to put his life back together. He finds joy in bird watching. In the glorious beauty of the great north woods, the stark sharpness of the deserts. The kindness of strangers. The starting pain of a sudden memory. Once he returned to the home by the lake, he rediscovered snowshoeing and cross country skiing during the winter and swimming and rowing come spring before returning to Mexico to bring the motorcycle back to Canada. The total for the two trips eventually settled in at over 88,500 kilometers (or 55K miles). Oh, and yes, I am a fan of the band, Rush. That made me want to read the book with some expectations since Peart is the wordsmith for the band. The majority of the lyrics came from his proverbial pen. His writing style is conversational as he 'talks' about the scenery, the people, the hotels, meals and books read along the way. The only negative I can find, is now I want to buy a motorcycle and go travelling but I certainly don't have the finances to back up such a road trip. Much less two. 2019-112

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    This book took me almost exactly three months, granted I did use it as a "before bed" book which I find travelogues to be perfect for since they are easy to put down and fairly relaxing and positive. I didn't love this book, and while I liked it enough I think it was probably overly long. As well you can even kind of tell that Neil ran out of gas writing it, as about halfway through he basically just starts reprinting letters to his friends and family (primarily his best friend who was incarcera This book took me almost exactly three months, granted I did use it as a "before bed" book which I find travelogues to be perfect for since they are easy to put down and fairly relaxing and positive. I didn't love this book, and while I liked it enough I think it was probably overly long. As well you can even kind of tell that Neil ran out of gas writing it, as about halfway through he basically just starts reprinting letters to his friends and family (primarily his best friend who was incarcerated). Sometimes the letters seemed to include inside jokes which should have been edited out I'd think, because I had no idea what they were about haha. Neil Peart had a ROUGH year losing his daughter and partner several months apart, without any warning either really. I found many of his sentiments about his grief to be quite relatable, and I actually really liked seeing how open and vulnerable he allowed himself to be with his close friends during his time of mourning and path to healing. He's an interesting character, as I first gathered when I watched the Rush documentary. Would I recommend this book? Honestly, probably not, but I don't regret reading it. Will I read his other books? Likely not. He is a decent writer (though probably a better lyricist than memoir writer) but quite long winded and it doesn't appear his books are mainstream enough to be edited adequately for mass appeal.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Khris Sellin

    Who woulda thunk I'd be reading a book by the drummer from Rush? Yes, didn't we all love them back in the day... But then I moved on. Sorry to say I didn't know anything of Neil Peart's life and writing until he passed away recently, and someone I know mentioned reading this book at a dark time in their life and how much it helped them. When I heard it was a road trip book of sorts, I was all in. Right from the beginning, though, I was drawn in for a different reason. Peart suffered two unbelieva Who woulda thunk I'd be reading a book by the drummer from Rush? Yes, didn't we all love them back in the day... But then I moved on. Sorry to say I didn't know anything of Neil Peart's life and writing until he passed away recently, and someone I know mentioned reading this book at a dark time in their life and how much it helped them. When I heard it was a road trip book of sorts, I was all in. Right from the beginning, though, I was drawn in for a different reason. Peart suffered two unbelievable tragedies one right after the other. This is basically him trying to find out how to survive, how to create a new normal for himself, fumbling here and there, and mostly getting on his motorcycle and escaping, just riding and riding, and riding. He travels all over North America, from Canada to the US to Mexico, from west to east and back again. He was a very pensive soul, and a voracious reader. He talks about the books he's reading and some favorite bookstores on his travels, and the books that affected him. He talks about the places he's been, of course, but it was the deeper thoughts and inner turmoil that pulls you in and takes you along with him, hoping he figures it out and gets to a good place (while knowing that of course he did). It's too bad I discovered him after he's already passed on. Lovely man, lovely book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    BWT

    Thoughtful, heartbreaking, Peart really delves into his pain and how he made it through to the other side after his 19-year-old daughter and his wife died, and still manages to give readers a not sad, but hopeful ending. I actually read this book years ago, and every time I hear David Grey's "The Other Side" I immediately think of this book and Peart's journey intellectually, spiritually, and literally. Of course, this morning my iPod was on shuffle, which reminded me of Ghost Rider and I saw I'd Thoughtful, heartbreaking, Peart really delves into his pain and how he made it through to the other side after his 19-year-old daughter and his wife died, and still manages to give readers a not sad, but hopeful ending. I actually read this book years ago, and every time I hear David Grey's "The Other Side" I immediately think of this book and Peart's journey intellectually, spiritually, and literally. Of course, this morning my iPod was on shuffle, which reminded me of Ghost Rider and I saw I'd never left a review. Great book, tragic and hopeful story, recommended to RUSH fans and those who love journal soul baring.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Panzerwolf

    There are things that are nice about this book. I liked the descriptions of nature, of some of the sights and sounds and scents one picks up while in the road. The stories of small mishaps that you go through while you travel and the motorcycling bits. The rest of it, though... While tragedy and loss are personal experiences for everyone and the fact if we are well off financially does not affect the amount of pain one feels, it was difficult to feel sympathy for Neil after a while. He continuous There are things that are nice about this book. I liked the descriptions of nature, of some of the sights and sounds and scents one picks up while in the road. The stories of small mishaps that you go through while you travel and the motorcycling bits. The rest of it, though... While tragedy and loss are personal experiences for everyone and the fact if we are well off financially does not affect the amount of pain one feels, it was difficult to feel sympathy for Neil after a while. He continuously looks down on "normal folks", calling them fat and ugly and hoping they would die (just a thought, I know, but still shows very little regard for the fact that he thinks them way less worthy than himself). He has time and means to spend two years doing nothing but travel and walking around in showshoes observing the nature while feeling continuously sorry for himself and complaining about mediocre food or the wine selections of the places where he stays. Not needing to worry if you can pay for your next lodging, indulging in nice meals and wine and buying whatever he wants while his friends are managing his estate(s) and finances, it's just difficult to completely be on the same level of thinking as the writer was. Mostly it made me consider all the folks who go through horrible things and need to jump right back into normal life the next week (or day!) just to make ends meet. The book is way too long, with a lot of it comprising of letters to his friends where he unloads all of his issues upon others continuously. While my sympathy goes to the late Neil Peart and the tragedy he went through, this book is ultimately just not... that good.

  26. 4 out of 5

    aleshia

    Adam read this book first and if Adam finishes a book, I know it's worth it. And boy was he right! Neil Peart is Rush's drummer who lost his only child and wife in a period of less than one year. It is a sad, yet inspirational book, about the many monthes that followed these two tragedies. In short, Neil sets out on a cross country motorcycle trip after the passing of his wife, which sprawls over a year. During his trip, memories, the natural world and encounters help him come to terms with his Adam read this book first and if Adam finishes a book, I know it's worth it. And boy was he right! Neil Peart is Rush's drummer who lost his only child and wife in a period of less than one year. It is a sad, yet inspirational book, about the many monthes that followed these two tragedies. In short, Neil sets out on a cross country motorcycle trip after the passing of his wife, which sprawls over a year. During his trip, memories, the natural world and encounters help him come to terms with his losses. Ad and I, having lost several people in recent years, appreciated this book emmensely. It touched me deeply and I talked about it for weeks after finishing. It reinforced to me that even though we are not physically the same, when it comes down to it, we all have the same fears, desires and needs as everyone around us. Plus, a book about a drummer AND a motorcycle trip! hello!?! It had my name on it from the start :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dae

    i just couldn't bring myself to finish this book. while the losses neil had to face were indeed crushing, i found his bitterness almost arrogant. everyone in the world must face loss and they don't have the luxury of jumping on the back of a motorcycle, traveling around a continent, writing about what they see (sometimes saying very unkind things about others who did nothing to him other than simply existing), and then all the while contemplating what to do next. the rest of us have to get up an i just couldn't bring myself to finish this book. while the losses neil had to face were indeed crushing, i found his bitterness almost arrogant. everyone in the world must face loss and they don't have the luxury of jumping on the back of a motorcycle, traveling around a continent, writing about what they see (sometimes saying very unkind things about others who did nothing to him other than simply existing), and then all the while contemplating what to do next. the rest of us have to get up and go back to work when our bereavement time has been used up and we go on, forced to cope with life as it happens because that's it - life happens. "ghost rider" is beautifully written. the travelogues are some of the best i read but i couldn't get past peart's selfishness in his grief. it left me feeling too sour and i had to give it up close to the end. he's a hell of a drummer and i'll leave my explorations into who he is at that, which is what i think he'd prefer anyway.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Trainor

    This book blew me away. I picked it up, of course, simply because I am irrationally obsessed with Rush (the band with which Neil Peart proves his status as greatest drummer in rock history.) I figured I'd like his writing style, since I love his lyrics so much... but the greatness of this book goes far beyond the excellent writing. It is insightful and revealing. He lays his soul bare for the reader, and his struggles on the journey to come to terms the deaths of his daughter and wife cut right This book blew me away. I picked it up, of course, simply because I am irrationally obsessed with Rush (the band with which Neil Peart proves his status as greatest drummer in rock history.) I figured I'd like his writing style, since I love his lyrics so much... but the greatness of this book goes far beyond the excellent writing. It is insightful and revealing. He lays his soul bare for the reader, and his struggles on the journey to come to terms the deaths of his daughter and wife cut right to the heart. He has an amazing way of putting feelings into words, which is surprising based on the sometimes over-analytical lyrics he tends to write. This book is sensative, funny and poingant, and his ability to be honest with himself is something everyone can learn from.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jaq Greenspon

    I wanted to like this much more than I did. To be fair, it's a fascinating look at the grieving one man went through, but at the same time, this book would never have been published (at least not in this edit) were that man not the drummer for the band Rush. It was in desperate need of an editor, someone who could catch the repetitions, and focus it down because there was a great story there to be told. That said, Peart sounds like a really interesting, intelligent, well-read, guy. The list of bo I wanted to like this much more than I did. To be fair, it's a fascinating look at the grieving one man went through, but at the same time, this book would never have been published (at least not in this edit) were that man not the drummer for the band Rush. It was in desperate need of an editor, someone who could catch the repetitions, and focus it down because there was a great story there to be told. That said, Peart sounds like a really interesting, intelligent, well-read, guy. The list of books he reads during this journey is impressive.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dirk

    It seemed like an honest account, warts and all. I don't think Mr Peart cares if you like him and I really doubt publishing anything was on his mind when he wrote it. I liked a few of his other books, but this is probably his best. (Although I am a huge Rush fan, I didn't find out much about Rush through reading this - their statement is their music, as always.) It seemed like an honest account, warts and all. I don't think Mr Peart cares if you like him and I really doubt publishing anything was on his mind when he wrote it. I liked a few of his other books, but this is probably his best. (Although I am a huge Rush fan, I didn't find out much about Rush through reading this - their statement is their music, as always.)

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