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Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,914 ratings  ·  567 reviews
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. ...more
Paperback, 460 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by ECW Press (first published July 5th 2002)
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Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Dec 15, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Buck Swindle
Nov 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Mar 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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
Scott Carles
Jul 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
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
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Chad O'Donnell
May 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
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,
Michelle Cristiani
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
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
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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
Doran Barton
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it

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
Joe Richards
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing

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
Jared Millet
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
George Bradford
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Khris Sellin
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
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
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
Mar 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on, 2011
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 ...more
Genevieve Trainor
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's lost someone close to them
Shelves: favorites
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
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
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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.) ...more
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Neil Peart (pronounced /ˈpɪərt/) OC, (born Neil Ellwood Peart) was a Canadian musician and author. He is best-known as the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush.

Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Canada (now part of St. Catharines) working the occasional odd job. However, his true ambition was to become a professional musician. During adolescence, he floated from regional band to regi

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“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” 11 likes
“Without knowing it, I had identified a subtle but important part of the healing process. There would be no peace for me, no life for me, until I learned to forgive life for what it had done to me, forgive others for still being alive, and eventually, forgive myself for being alive.” 9 likes
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