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Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road Paperback – September 1, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 467 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Peart’s story reminded me of Theodore Roosevelt’s travel West to overcome the sorrow of losing his wife and mother..." -- Mike Fink, CNN Headline News

About the Author

Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush and the author of Masked Rider. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550225480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550225488
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (467 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I find it interesting and sad how many people read this book looking for a story and insight about RUSH. I personally was deeply saddened after the Test for Echo tour to have heard about Neil's tragic losses, then just recently in December of 2002, a week before Christmas, I lost my 32 year old wife to cancer, and immediately have been thrust into a fraternity that nobody should have to join.
A friend was kind enough to give me the book as a gift, and what a profound gift it was. As a lifelong fan of RUSH, Neil, and being a drummer myself, I took that book everywhere with me...it almost became my security. On planes, in my car, etc...until I finally forced myself to read the book closely.
I feel much closer to Neil and certainly identify with his emotions, his feelings of anger, frustration, self-loathing, his "little baby soul" and everything else. Sure, the book delves too deep into certain things that may come across as "WHO CARES" to the reader, but that's the way grief is. You try to fill as much time with WHO CARES so you don't just sit around and cry and be miserable. I know, because I'm there RIGHT NOW.
At this point, I'm almost feeling an additional loss from having finished the book. I agree that there was unfinished business in this book, but I can't help but feel happy for the guy for getting to the point of moving on. That was bittersweet reading for me and quite hard.
Thanks Neil, for sharing your moving story, and making this reader feel and understand your pain, and through that process, anticipate and justify the feelings that I currently am going through. Well done.
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Format: Paperback
In the interest of full disclosure, I admit to being a long-time Rush fan, which by extension makes me a long-time fan of Neil Peart, the author of this work and drummer and lyricist for Rush. I had been aware of the tragedies that he and his family had experienced, and knew that it was the reason behind the several-year gap between albums (Test for Echo released in 1996. Rush's next album, Vapor Trails, would not release until 2002.). However, I didn't know the story of what brought Neil back to Rush, and thus Rush back to the world until I picked up this book at a concert in July of 2002.
When Neil Peart lost his daughter to a traffic accident in the fall of 1997, and his wife to cancer (though, really, he knew it was a broken heart that took his wife), he was an empty man, a man with no reason to live, and little desire to do so. To save himself from the loneliness and the emptiness of a life alone, Peart took to the roads on his motorcycle on a journey that would cover Canada, much of the western United States, and parts of Central America. As he wrote:
"My little baby soul was not a happy infant, of course, with much to complain about, but as every parent learns, a restless baby often calms down if you take it for a ride. I had learned my squalling spirit could be soothed the same way, by motion, and so I had decided to set off on this journey into the unknown. Take my little baby soul for a ride."
This book is a compelling combination of travelogue, literary journal, sarcastic wit, and honest soul- searching. It provides a number of insights to a complex and intriguing man, one who would be interesting even without his fame. His humor, his pain, his reflections, his irritation, his impatience, his fear... All of it presented for the world to see, and to learn from.
I recommend this book not only to Rush fans, but to anyone interested in seeing how someone survives the losses Peart experienced and emerges a whole person on the other side.
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Format: Paperback
I recently picked up a copy of this book at a Rush concert. Partly, I was curious to see how well Neil could do as an author. Partly there was a karma connection: I lost my brother to cancer about ten years ago, and had gotten through it with the help of Rush's music, so I wanted to know how such a painful loss affected the man who wrote the lyrics to "Bravado".

Not surprisingly, Peart's writing on the page-to-page level is witty, literate, and frank. As a travelogue, Ghost Rider is fairly interesting, peppered with details about the various locales he visits and the people who put them on the map, and pithy observations about the local culture. I'm sure he'd do well as a writer at a travel magazine (but being in a successful rock band probably pays better).

As an account of an emotional journey, though, Ghost Rider feels like a journal that was transfered into book form without benefit of a good editing job. It seems like I spent as much time reading about what Neil ate for dinner, what repairs he made to his bike, what (briefly described) old friend he met, etc., than about the process of coming to grips with grief. Understandable that he preferred dealing with day-to-day details to take his mind off the hurt while on the road, but as a final narrative, it gets a bit tedious to the reader who doesn't have much emotional connection to these things, at least not as they're told. Though he clearly misses his wife and daughter, he doesn't say much about them, which makes it hard to empathize with his breakdowns along the way. Flashes into the struggle of the soul are there, but they often get deflected into self-conscious banter which likewise gets a little old.
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