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Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road Paperback – September 1, 2002
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"Pearts story reminded me of Theodore Roosevelts 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.
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Top customer reviews
The book details the events that took Neil's daughter and then his wife, and his multi-year struggle to reconstruct his identity and life after his loss. Written as a part travelogue, part memoir, it covers his travelling and his attempts to put the pieces back together.
The look into his process of painfully going back to see who he is now is raw, fascinating and unflinching. It takes him a solid two years to pick up a pair of drumsticks again (and a few years after that to rejoin the band and move forward musically), and he freely admits his flashes of bitterness at seeing couples and families that remind him of what he's lost.
Equally interesting are his observations while on the road. He skewers a lot of the fellow travelers as fat and incurious, and displays a grasp of Western environmental issues (water rights) that many Americans don't have.
His reading rate is equally impressive, he devours books (and writes in his journal and letters to friends and family) at an amazing rate.
The pages all but turned themselves. You don't need to be a fan of Neil or RUSH to connect to this book. It is a very human experience given from a very human perspective. By the time the last words had bounced around in my brain I was smiling and fully satisfied. Not too many books, especially fiction books, can provide that.
The book really only serves one function - getting (a little) into the head of a complex, intelligent musician adored by Rush fans world-wide. For that reason it deserves 3 stars, but DO NOT expect Rush-lyrics-style writing. Maybe we've just been spoiled.
I was also vastly disappointed with Neil's apparent disinterest in his fans, to the point of ridicule. As a contrast, I met Geddy Lee a number of years ago in Cleveland, Ohio - he was at an album-signing, staying hours and hours chatting with fans. He was open, smiling, and seemingly happy to "give a little back" to the people . . . something Neil clearly would not do (at least based on his book). Perhaps his new relationship will help change that attitude.
Also, the book is unfinished really. Suddenly, after over 400+ dark & gloomy pages, two years fly by and the grieving Neil is quickly married and optimistic. Since he decided to write this book, I would much rather have learned of his inner thoughts about his tragedy (as opposed to the books he read and the meals he ate), and maybe even more about Jackie and Selena, especially when his dedication stated "with honor to the past." He is clearly an articulate writer, so such a task should not have been too difficult, unless he thought his brutish, fat American fans could not grasp it.
If you want additional (and better) insight into the mind of Neil Peart, read his other book, "The Masked Rider - Cycling in Africa." Expect the same level of writing, however.
So Carrie: thanks for Vapor Trails. Tell Neil we still love and appreciate him regardless of how he feels about us.