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Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

beware

If you're fan of Peart because of his drumming (such as I), and are looking for something related to drumming, you're not going to find it here. If you're a motorcyclist looking for stories about a motorcycling adventure, you're not going to find it here, either. This b...
If you're fan of Peart because of his drumming (such as I), and are looking for something related to drumming, you're not going to find it here. If you're a motorcyclist looking for stories about a motorcycling adventure, you're not going to find it here, either. This book was written from the perspective of a man that lost his whole world and was attempting to find himself and his way, by escaping into the 'unknown', and traveling 55, 000 miles using his 'vice', a motorcycle. He wasn't on the road simply touring north american highways and hotels. He was on a journey of self discovery, hoping to find something left inside of himself, to let him know he really did have continued purpose, and to carry on. Along the way, he let us in on many private letters, thoughts, and emotions. Also along the way, he included very nice imagery and descriptions of the landscapes he was traversing. I enjoyed the book very much and found it to be very revealing of Peart in a most personal way. I've been a fan of his, and Rush for some 25 years, so I was acutely aware of his passion for reading and writing. As much as I've respected him as a musician and player, I have even more respect for him as a human, dealing with tragedy. I would recommend this book to someone looking for a deeper insight into who Neil Peart is, aside from the person we, as music fans, think he is. Hope you enjoy.

posted by Anonymous on November 13, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Disappointing

This book was nothing but disappointing. After reading Mr. Peart's previous book, 'The Masked Rider,' I had high hopes for this one, only to have them dashed by over 400 pages of what I can only call 'not much.' What makes the book even more disappointing is to see th...
This book was nothing but disappointing. After reading Mr. Peart's previous book, 'The Masked Rider,' I had high hopes for this one, only to have them dashed by over 400 pages of what I can only call 'not much.' What makes the book even more disappointing is to see the clearly talented author's writing gone to waste on this material. There's very little story here or plot in a traditional sense in this book. Instead, what the reader gets is a slice of the inner workings of Mr. Peart's mind from a period covering a little more than a year during which the author attempts to recover from the deaths of both his wife and only child by removing himself from town and driving around North America on his motorcycle. Readers will undoubtedly understand just what he saw on his travels and just how he felt. This is what the reader gets, plain and simple. It is an unfiltered, raw, painful, intimate and very honest account. This is no lightweight material. The author has terrific talent for putting words together and conveying just exactly what was on his mind at the time. The book's brazenly and almost proudly unapologetic style is unmistakable; the author really doesn't care what the reader thinks. Most of these things are promising ingredients for this or any book. But after a while, one is reminded of a teenager far too full of his own bluster and self-purpose not to share it with the rest of the world, yet too immature to understand that the rest of the world has its own share of problems and that life does not and should not revolve around himself. When reading the book, one eventually feels like saying 'enough about you already, what about something for me!' And that's the main problem here and the key ingredient that's missing: the author has nothing to say that's of real interest to anybody. There's nothing for a general audience. They can't learn anything or grow from anything in this book because it doesn't seem as though it's written for the actual people who will be reading it. It seems to be a gift to a husband or a wife only; an intimate sharing of oneself that is satisfying and full as an offering to someone close, yet empty and meaningless as an offering to strangers, presumably the vast majority of the readers. It's as if only a mother or a lover could enjoy this book. To sum it all up, one can only wait eagerly for the next book and hope that it will be much better.

posted by Anonymous on September 23, 2002

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2008

    BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ

    I cried uncontrollably throughout the first chapter as he talks of Selena and Jackie's deaths. I laughed at all of his little pitfalls he enounters on the road. I feel a big connection with him because he writes and describes details in the same manner in which I would and I have also suffered a major tradgedy however not nearly as devastating as his and the fact that he made it down the healing road and found a second soul mate is a god send, and a beautiful happy ending. I love how he is so shy and reserved about women, despite the fact that he is an international known musician. I am still on my personal healing road, and this book has even helped me some. I laid out a map of Canada to help me follow him along so I would know exactly where his travels took him. I recommend this book to everyone because it makes you think, laugh, and cry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2003

    Neil Peart is a Genius

    This book is not just for fans of the rock band 'Rush'. Neil Peart, the band's lyricist, takes you on an unforgettable journey. From the two tragedies that shatter his life, through the unbelievable motorcycle trip he takes to find the means to keep living. For anyone who has lost someone close to them, a must-have book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2003

    The Toronto Tonto

    Unlike, So many rock bands Rush sets a very high example of Intelligence, Especially Neil Peart. Growing up in Toronto during the 70`s I saw Rush play High schools and free shows on the water front(lake Ontario) Alex lived next door to my girlfriend and Geddy I always saw out at the clubs listening to other bands. During this time Neil was not with Rush yet and when he finally hooked up with Alex and Geddy it was magic 2112, A Farewell to kings. These albums just blew everything away. Becoming friends with Alex and Geddy was very cool because they went to school with my 2 older sisters, They were rock stars at 18-19. Neil is by far a huge influence and if you know all 3 the intelligence is amazing, We lost touch and they had the world at their feet and it all began. I saw Alex back stage at a concert in Florida and he was so excited to show me the model plane he was working on, We talked for a while and I remember they loved sports and my father was a Canadian football super star in his own right Dick Shatto who passed this past march. The time I spent with these guys was great if you love conversation and music. They were always funny and I always got them tickets to football games and them concert tickets for me. Neil was a happy and faithful man and I was not surprised when his first book came out, I was very impressed to say the least! We all go through life and it eventually ends sometimes too early. I always wish them the best.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Awesome!

    Ghost Rider was truly a mesmerizing journey of a deeply effected by tragedy father and husband that I could relate to. Everyone has tragedy in their lives and deal with it differently. In some ways you never fully recover and unfortunately tragedy strikes the people who are suffering. Neil was close to that. You learn here how one copes in his own way, and pulls himself from his own tragedy after a long journey across Canada & the US. The story gives you a defined picture of that journey. You will learn not only about places you may never hear of and their beauty, but how one person fights to keep his sanity while trying to find answers to why this has happened. Yes Neil Peart is a very wealthy successful man. Many people strive for that in their own lives. This book will show you that family is everything and not a trillion dollars could replace what was taken or cure the deep hurt that one encounters when losing a family. Awesome book!

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  • Posted December 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am a lifelong Rush fan from the first time I heard "Worki

    I am a lifelong Rush fan from the first time I heard "Working Man". I knew the basic story behind this book Neil Peart lost his wife and daughter within a 10 month span of time and took to the road on his motorcycle as part of his healing process after those tragic losses.



    As a Rush fan I wanted to know where the lyrics for the last three albums came from. How do the lyrics relate to Neil's experience as the Ghost Rider. Some lyrics on the "Vapor Trails" album seemed obvious like "Ghost Rider" but others were more obscure like the reference to Tarot in "Peaceable Kingdom" or what inspired "Earthshine".

    Reading "Ghost Rider" answered those questions and gave glimpses into others such as, "Faithless" from the "Snakes and Arrows" album and even "Halo Effect" from "Clockwork Angels".

    Not only is Neil Peart an exceptionally gifted Lyric writer and musician, he is an equally gifted prose writer. After reading "Ghost Rider" I feel that I know Neil Peart. I feel like he has allowed me into his life in a personal way. I laughed at his humor and I wept for his pain.

    In one passage Peart writes to an author friend congratulating him for the ultimate feat as a writer, which is to make the reader wish that the activity that he enjoys was over so that he could go back to reading the author's work. I felt that way about this book, of all places at a Rush concert. Now that is powerful writing, I congratulate you Mr. Peart.

    Mostly I would like to thank you Mr. Peart for sharing your story, your pain, your thoughts, your humor, and your adventures.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    a ghost of a man left after the unexpected death of Neil Pearts nineteen year old daughter, followed by the death of his devastated and broken-hearted common-law wife, all that's left is survival instinct to just get moving.

    a profoundly sad but true story as told by Neil Peart after the deaths of first his daughter as she drives back to school and his wife just fourteen months later from cancer, his dog dies and his best friend goes to jail. From his lake-front home in Quebec, survival mode kicks in telling him to just move, just keep moving.thus the beginning of a five-month motor-cycle journey thru Canada, Alaska, America, Mexico to Belize.This moving tale of moving thru grief by just moving. Decriptions on beautiful scenery, wild animals,good food , interesting places and people and a suprisely good reading list of books as not only does Peart move, but he also reads and shares, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who appericates travel and non-fiction. A good meaty book with plenty of substance. I would also place Neil Peart in the same league with Paul Theroux.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

    Ghost Rider

    After I read the book I wanted to know what else was in stored for neil peart. He went through alot and travel on the motorcycle that his wife bought him. The story for me meant alot to me because as I was reading it I was losing someone very dear to me and it help me through it alot. The person I lost was like a father figure to me because he was there alot when I need it him but also he was my grandfather on my mom father. But I hope that who ever pick-up this book it is an awesome book every time I readed it I was there with Neil Peart Riding with him so I could find my way back. Right now I am reading his another book done by him and so far it is still good it seem's again that I am there right there with him again.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2005

    this book rocks!!!

    i've been a fan of rush since 1978 i've seen rush a least 21 times,when i read this book i was amazed of how this man was able to get thru with this and have the courage to write about it. god bless you mr.peart rock on

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2003

    This book is a healer

    Neils account of the double tradgedy and his way of dealing with it was very insipring. I could of not handled it. His book was instrumental in my own healing after the senseless murder of my sons schoolmate, Danielle van Dam. Neil helped me put in perspective the feelings I was experiencing. The futility in trying to understand. But yet showed how hope can still exist when all seems hopeless. A good read that took me along his journey of healing, all the while not knowing if he ever 'heal'. Thanks, Neil

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2003

    As wondrous and heartwrenching as I anticipated

    <p>I knew of Neil's personal tragedies long before having read this book, but I still desired to see what lay in his mind during the healing process. I was fortunate to purchase both books at the May, 2002 Rush show at Riverbend Music Center (Cincinnati), but I was already in the midst of another large book series at the time, so I didn't read either of Neil's 'til January, 2003. I first read <i>Masked Rider</i> as more of a prelude, and found it enjoyable - I felt I was on the bike with the troupe through their trials in the African heat. Thus, I was incredibly excited to begin <i>Ghost Rider.</i></p> <p>As I began <i>Ghost Rider</i>, I again became immersed in Neil's world, reliving the horrible day when the police officer came to the door to deliver the news about Selena. I felt both Jackie's subsequent hopelessness and Neil's helplessness, and I gained more appreciation for the lyrics to the song 'Ghost Rider' as he told of Jackie's passing. I can sympathize with his need to just get away, and applaud his desire to 'keep moving' to avoid falling into a pit of despair, drink, and drugs. I could see how confused he was and I identify with that need for space, for the walls and memories in that house would have otherwise closed in on him. I think I would have had to get out as well, and as someone who is something of a loner, I would have been 'shouldering that invisible load' myself, thinking no one could help me through it but myself.</p> <p>I used to live out west, so I selfishly took in the landscapes as he described them and wished I could be there, though not with the same motivation. I am glad, though, to see he brought some educational materials with him (the book on birds) in order to continue his self-education - I know others who foolishly ridicule him for being a high-school dropout, but his writing makes it clear that the lack of a diploma has been no hindrance to him. I think such self-reliance helped through his travails, and I'm not sure I know anyone who would have the fortitude to travel 55,000 miles to find healing. Most might just wallow in self-pity instead.</p> <p>This is a wonderfully written book. I can see how the short-sighted might find his numerous letters a bit cumbersome, but these were the letters he sent to many people, and he wanted to credit each and every one of them for being there for him, even though they may have only been there to 'listen.' Of course many of them would contain the same information, but they were all different in subtle ways. He wrote the letters and this book as if he had nothing to hide, for the best way to heal was to be fully open with his feelings.</p> <p>As a fan of Rush, I am naturally glad he found someone and was able to resume his drumming. Now, however, I realize how close we all came to not having that anymore, and their music has more value to me, and not just because of my own selfish desires for more quality music in a time devoid of it. It's because of the inner strengths of the men involved in the band Rush, especially the drumming 'ghost' who seems to be once again whole. And as when I listen to a Rush album, I was saddened to finish <i>Ghost Rider</i>, and I cannot wait to enjoy it again.</p>

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2003

    A great book about what life is

    I am not a book reader at all. I am a huge fan of Rush though. I felt that I would be able to learn more about this man that has been my idol along with the other members of RUSH for over 20 yrs. Unfortunately it took a book about sadness....but it told me a lot not only about him...but what is really important in life....to be happy. Bravo to Neil and I highly recommend the book to anyone...not just fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2003

    Beyond Simple Description

    Being a Rush fan for over 2 decades, I figured 'this should be interesting'. I was correct, in more ways than one. From deeply personal anecdotes (rare for Mr. Peart's usually guarded demeanor) to simple travel logs and introspection, a truly emotional work, makes for interesting, but not casual reading. One feels his pain, loss, joys, and eventual victory over his life challenges. There are a lot of esoteric literary references in the transcribed correspondences with his friends, but a lot of funny stories and good natured ribbing between them as well, showing a sense of humor below the writer's usual 'serious' songwriting. Overall, a great book, but definitely not for fans of fluff pieces about rock stars. Definitely deserves wider distribution and promotion, but alas will most likely be treasured by Rush fans only, and the literary world will be the poorer for it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    You might not get it.

    I won't bore you with yet another description of the book; read the synopsis above for that. Many reviews for this book call it "shallow" - and you will, if you come into it with the wrong mindset. Don't read this book to learn about Neil Peart, musician. Read this book for the journey of a man, stricken with grief, learning to understand his world "in the after." Read it for an excellent travelogue and learn a great deal about the out-of-the-way places that are there only if you have the courage and the will to find them. If you have never experienced grief, loss, depression, or sorrow, you will not understand this book; it is not for the blissful, nor the ignorant. There are differences between traveling and vacationing, sadness and despair, acquaintances and friends, living and merely existing. If you've never considered that, you won't "get it."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2003

    Great Book!

    Neil Peart is brutally honest,giving the good and bad experiences fair chance.He goes on a seemingless endless journey in search of inner peace.He apreciates all the beauties of nature,holds great affection for his friends,and tells of his annoyance of strangers.One must realize his annoyance with strangers is not due to a character flaw,but the state of mind that someone grieving might display.I love the fact that he is so truthful,like it or not!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2002

    awsome inspiration you give us hope

    this book is heart wrenching, sad and beautiful, but at same time joy and happyiness. The music world and drummers from all around the world are inspired by his talent for drums and lyrics to music. We as fans are happy that you have come full circle, and found a renewed spirit. Thanks for coming back to us all, keep playing. The book shows you are a changed man, but it shows in your playing and your new love for life has change for the better. This is a man a musician that has emerged from tragedy to an even greater human being. Good luck to you my friend though the journey of life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2002

    Wow...should I cry for or celebrate this journey?

    Read it and you will understand why I give this 5 stars. The book is inspiring. Seldom do you you get such a deep look into the depths of another human. As a reader you are offered the relentless journey of the rollecoaster in reverse healing process coupled with the eloquently described scenic beauty of North America. I will read it again...but not right away as I must savor its potency. It can be a dark journey you see.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2002

    Outstanding!!!

    Congrat's to Neil Peart...A man who can inspire people (me) to take a look within to see how lucky we are everyday. Without question a book that inspires and makes you think all at once!Thank you Neil for making me understand how fortunate I have been in my life. I'm happy for your new found happiness!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2002

    Ghost Rider a must read for anyone whose lost a loved one.

    I had no idea what I was in for when I added Ghost Rider to my ever-growing book collection. I picked it up simply because Neil Peart wrote it. But, as I have learned over the last five days (a personal record for me), this is a healing book. It begins with a man and his wife rocked by the death of their nineteen year old daughter. Then, the man loses his wife to a broken heart (in the guise of cancer) less than a year later. What is left of the man is a ghost with nothing more substantial than grief. With nothing left to live for, the man rides off on his motorcycle and heads wherever the road takes him knowing that motion is the one obsticle keeping from the 'deep, dark hole'. While much of Ghost Rider reads like a guidebook to the North American landscape by motorbike, what you find in between the magnificently described landscapes and towns along the journey are genuine insights into the pain of devastating loss. For all of us who have lost people we love, this story reminds us that the process of healing is a long and perilous journey that never really ends, only changes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2002

    The Professor of Writing - Neil Peart!

    Neil proves that one does not need a formal education to be a good writer and to be educated, because Neil did not graduate from High School. His story is inspirational and teaches us to look within for our own esteem and to keep improving in our lives. Great work Neil!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2002

    Inspirational and uplifting!

    As a Neil Peart fan, a Rush fan and a drummer, I could not wait for this book to come out. This book covers 55,000 miles of hurt, anger, saddness, rebuilding and learning to live again. I envy Neil for his travels across Noth America. Not for what he has lost, but for what he has learned and gained from his experiences. This is a must read for anyone who has suffered a loss or for anyone wanting to travel our great land. Hats off to Neil for his incredible bravery and for sharing part of his life with us.

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