• Ghost Rider

  • Travels on the Healing Road
  • By: Neil Peart
  • Narrated by: Brian Sutherland
  • Length: 15 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,636 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In less than a year, Neil Peart lost both his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, and his wife, Jackie. Faced with overwhelming sadness and isolated from the world in his home on the lake, Peart was left without direction. That lack of direction lead him on a 55,000 mile journey by motorcycle across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and back again. He had needed to get away, but he had not really needed a destination. His personal odyssey is chronicled with his travel adventures, meeting up with friends and family, and the grieving, thinking, crying, and storytelling of life as he rides. Along the way, he plays music from his internal jukebox, yet nothing seems to let him find peace. And without peace, all he could do was keep riding until he found it.

©2002 Neil Peart (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about Ghost Rider

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not happy, but fascinating

I was vaguely aware of the existence of a band called 'Rush', but I couldn't recall hearing any of their music, my tastes in music go in a different direction.

I was unaware of this Neil Peart person. I've since learned he is considered a Living God by many people, including members of my own family.

The two things I do have in common with Mr Peart is that we were both born in 1952 and we both like to take a long motorcycle ride when we feel the need to clear our head. It was motorcycles, not music, that attracted me to this book.

This isn't a particularly happy book, but it is a fascinating one. It's a good motorcycle travelogue. It's an interesting look behind the scenes of the life a famous musician. And it's a tragic story of a man dealing with what has to be about the worst loss one can imagine.

Mr Peart doesn't always come across as particularly warm or tolerant. He does come across as brutally honest with himself and his readers.

The narration and production values are excellent, the story is compelling.

I can't say I 'enjoyed' this book, the central tragedy precludes that adjective.

I am glad I read it.




42 people found this helpful

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A very personal view of a very private man

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes. I have always been very interested in Mr. Peart - so it was for me... although, at times the "letters to Bruno" format was tiring.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

More log entries and less letters - I didn't care for the balance between the two as presented, but it was still enjoyable.

What about Brian Sutherland’s performance did you like?

He has a similar voice to Neil's so that was a definite plus - although a tad monotone at times... then again, with the subject matter, its understandable.

What else would you have wanted to know about Neil Peart’s life?

More details regarding drumming in general - and his new relationship with Carrie Nuttall. I felt the last chapter was too much of a whirlwind - i.e., lets wrap this thing up quickly...

Any additional comments?

All in all - a good read for the determined fan. Casual listeners will tire after about 3 hours.. I enjoyed the first 1/3 and last 1/3 the most... It seems that he was more philosophical in the beginning and then simply gave way to letter writing as opposed to journalizing in the middle... I wanted more of the Broken Man to New Found Life conversion details... although - its very possible there were none and it was simply the "time that did its healing".

Definitely reads more as a travelogue than a introspective view into his life. The introspection is there, but at times it gets tedious waiting for the details..

At this point, I want to address folks who are trying to decide if they should get this book and may have formed a negative view based on other reviews..I've read many Amazon reviews that are quite negative regarding Mr. Peart's attitude and the appearance of "Self centered narcissism of a rich man". I think this is absolutely untrue. Yes - he is in a different place in his life than most of us, but he also has a job that is MUCH more demanding than many people would ever dare to take on. He is travelling away from family and home most of the year and had to scratch and claw his way in the early years when they got literally NO radioplay. It was NOT an easy road - but his persistence paid of and he now has the comfort that so many people give him a hard time for.

Also - regarding his "attitude" toward others in the book - calling them "fat, obese, etc"... How about we try and be a bit empathetic for a minute - you just lost your entire family - and have nothing to look forward to - you are near the point of cashing it in and just eating a bullet as it were... and you expect him to be anything except apathetic, withdrawn and downright cynical? Please... he gave us a raw look at how he felt - and then people want to sit back on their laurels and criticize. Get back to me when you deal with such tragedy in your life and let me know how it went.

I applaud Neil for giving us this insight - and I hope my review is not overly critical - because I do believe that it is important to be critical if one is to gain insight and grow. So - here's to looking forward to another installment in the "Life and times of Elwood".

39 people found this helpful

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Don't Meet Your Heroes

This book was tough to listen to. it was hard to remind myself of the position Mr Peart was in when he wrote it. Although this book is a window into Mr Peart's journey from the most difficult places a person would visit and back to normal life, I certainly got the impression that it was written for no other person except the author himself. I think I am fine with that.

Mr Peart will always have my gratitude. And I am glad to have shared in this painful journey with him to the small extent that I have in listening to this book. Rest in peace, Ghost Rider. And rest in peace, Mr Peart.

6 people found this helpful

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Ghost Rider review

Thank you Neil Peart for sharing your rawness! Spoke to my soul! Fellow grief survivor after losing my husband, my daughter and my boyfriend over the past 8 years. Sure makes me want to get a motorcycle. I’ll stick to running 5ks and half marathons!

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Little Baby Soul

An enjoyable book about getting away from grief. Neil is a world class drummer as well as writer, and while his writing is impressive with this tragic tale of escape and acceptence of the death of his daughter and wife, it dose sometimes get long in the tooth- especially with his letters to everyone and his constant telling of caring for his ‘Little Baby Soul’. The front half of the book moves faster than the second half and I felt myself speeding up the audio book to 2X just to move on from letter afeter letter.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story of heartbreak and the process of healing!

As a fellow man who understands the call of the road. Having driven most of the western states I know how it’s alluring! More recently riding a motorcycle as well! This heart wrenching story is written in such a way as that you can experience the motorcycle trip and also feel great empathy for someone’s pain and healing as well. Understanding that you don’t fully understand what you have not personally experienced!
Thank you Neil for sharing your story with us!
It is a great privilege to be let into your pain and healing!

5 people found this helpful

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  • PT
  • 04-21-18

Surprising… At First

From reading reviews I was expecting a lot of philosophizing. At the beginning there wasn’t much of that. In the latter part of the book, which I suppose is the Letters section, there was a lot of philosophizing. Being a “philosophizer” myself I didn’t mind too much, but it wasn’t as good as the travelogue pieces.

Having ridden probably only a fraction as much as Mr. Peart (350 K miles in 40 years) I found the travel log more fun than most. So many of those tales are “We Went Here, We Saw That, We Ate Something. We Went There, Saw That, Ate Something.“ I did like the philosophizing more than I did in Pirsig’s book. Being a technical writer who also reached the end of the road, I never found Pirsig very affecting.

At least Peart only called his bike a “steed“ three or four times. (My pet peeve. 😉 )

A lot of effort went into this book and I think it is worth a read.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A man's journey to accepting his. it is, what is

This book by Neil Peart the drummer for the band RUSH tells the story of how even the "Rich and Famous" are affected by the loss of those you love. The opening chapters are riveting as he lights the fuse of his journey rocket. The feelings and emotions are raw, real and, let's face it quite sad.

Neil's only recourse..... "Keep moving"

It's important to note that this story didn't start out to be a book. Like many books it was a personal collection of his thoughts and feelings in the form of a journal. It wasn't until sometime after he collected this thoughts and put them in the form of a book.

So the story begins, with lost love and his journey to accepting "what is" his chosen method is the Motorcycle. His bike becomes a metaphor for his personal, emotional, and spiritual survival. As long as he keeps moving, his mind remains occupied.

The early parts of the book were great. His travels across Canada, to Alaska, and the Arctic circle. His trip continues back through Alaska, and into Washington, California and then the deserts of the Midwest, then to Mexico. Each of these "mini trips" told with great detail. Detail so clear you can almost be riding with him...

For me as the story continued it started to become ... Bla Bla Bla... His letters to his best friend Brutus seemed to be a crutch for actual writing a book. Perhaps because it wasn't a book originally...

Towards the end, Neil takes you at times on what seems like a day by day account of his life in the late 1990's both on and off his bike. Life as a famous drummer, Friend and human. Then he kind of skips a few years, says he got re-married and they live happily ever after..

I was left with a WTH just happened moment. In my mind he kind of "punted" the ending... After a long journey you often look back, and after the Ghost Rider journey I looked back and could easily see the wake of the writing.

Phase 1 A lot of detail, feelings emotions, and suffering

Phase 2 I'm getting board now but I have to make more pages

Phase 3 Page count hit... We all lived happily ever after

In short, it is a good enough book that I gave it 4 stars across the board. I'm glad I listened to it, but it is not one I'd listen to a second time.

5 people found this helpful

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save yourself and read this review instead

What disappointed you about Ghost Rider?

I was expecting an interesting travelogue and a story of a man overcoming hardship. Instead what I got was a rich man moping and feeling sorry for himself. His travelogue is mostly a list of the birds he saw, the motels he stayed in, what he ate and what he drank. Mostly he complains and complains. I recognize that he had some very rough stuff happen to him, but f*cking come on already. Until that point he had led an incredibly charmed life, the sort of life that anybody would dream of. He seems to have no sense of perspective or awareness of that, just a brooding self-pity that goes on forever.

The second half of the book is apparently just letters to acquaintances, still brooding and complaining about snowshoeing and x-country skiing and hiking around on his woodland estate. I have about 5 hours of this book left and will not finish it.

Would you ever listen to anything by Neil Peart again?

I have heard that his earlier books are good. There are a lot of books out there though, and I doubt I'll come back for more of this.

Which scene was your favorite?

He has some good descriptions of interesting places at the very beginning, when he was still in the Yukon and Alaska.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Ghost Rider?

The last 3/4 of the book.

Any additional comments?

I realize I am probably being hard on this book. The narration is good and really captures the self-pitying tone of the book and in fact may have magnified it. I really think this book was for Neal to work through his own grieving process and can't imagine why anybody else would want to read it.

5 people found this helpful

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I truly unique book!

I don't think you have to be a fan of the band Rush in order to love this book. granted he covers 50,000 mi, so there are times when you might be tired of the road and you might want to take a break, but Neil is such an amazing writer with such a gift for words with such an amazing memory and the ability to describe the things that he sees, it's truly unique I think. You could listen to this book and just build or reading list of the things that he reads, build a map of the United States end of the best roads in America. He's an observer of wildlife, of Flora and fauna, and I'm very happy to say he loves good food, good restaurants, and he tends to review every place he goes to including hotels.
some of my favorite parts where when he was not on the road, in his house in Toronto, and free to think and to ponder the deeper meanings of life that he is so familiar with, and so skillful at explaining. while reading this book I actually opened up a separate page on my phone and I would stop and I would record quotes that stood out to me, and there were so, so many. did he talk about what it was like to be on the road or to be on the stage with Rush? No, almost never.
The little snippets and quotes from songs that I've long been familiar with, that might open or close a chapter, hit me with such newfound meaning when simply read in the context of the story. now I understand why on his tombstone, or his monument, he has written Neil Peart, author.
I now understand that his amazing career as being one of the greatest drummers of all time, voted drummer of the year at least 10 years running, and one of the greatest lyricists of any rock band ever, Was only one small portion of his life, and as he got older it's possible that his life is a musician became even more eclipsed by all the other things that he set out to achieve.
a gifted writer, a tremendous observer of life, of people, and of the situations that we all find ourselves in, Mr. Peart receives only a the fraction of the credit that he deserves.

4 people found this helpful

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  • mr Roger I Hunt
  • 01-15-20

Inspired by a man's courage to live.

Last week Neil Peart passed away.
I felt a deep sadness and wanted to listen to my hero's story. I've cried, I have laughed and I've connected with him on places I've been and seen. Thank you Neil for sharing your life when it was the hardest and may you for ever shine in the heaven's.

13 people found this helpful

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  • flying_fin
  • 02-07-16

Epic Motorcycle Journey to heal a broken heart

If you'd been through what Neil Pearl had been through you might be tempted to throw in the towel. Instead he gets the urge to go - somewhere, anywhere on his bike a day ends up travelling thousands of miles up and down Canada, USA and South America. The book comprises his attempts to come to terms with his new situation whilst recounting his adventures on "the healing Road."
I loved the book, though some of the description gets a bit long. I'm not normally Into travel writing but this is exceptional Disclosure: I am a massive Rush and Neil Pearl fan.

8 people found this helpful

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  • John B.
  • 08-06-20

Your life will be better for reading this book

Honest and compelling.
It’s hard to imagine what the loss of a partner, and a daughter (or son) would do to somebody, but this book allows you a small insight into that world, and the road back from such a tragedy.

4 people found this helpful

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  • John Stephenson
  • 03-21-19

Sublime

This is a modern masterpiece from Rush's chief lyricist. Well written, witty and prosaic travelogue.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • FosseFox
  • 02-12-20

Very poor narration

Love the content, hate the narrator.

Neil's story is worth telling, but not by this reader.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-20

My first ever audio book...

Painful, difficult and with multiple personalities, I have loved the ‘Baby Soul’ ‘Ghost Rider’ journey across Canada and North American on the Healing Road.
References to Rush songs, along with beautiful scenic setting descriptions, gave a real insight into what someone might do, by getting on a red BMW and simply riding, when faced with complete despair.
I feel like I have a lost a friend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Moshe Cohen
  • 12-27-19

depressing tale

his old book, cycling in africa was a bit better but still full of surly attitude towards his fellow riders. in this account, following a terrible personal tragedy, he is so melancholic I couldn't finish it .

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marcus
  • 08-17-21

Closer to the Peart

An intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of a notoriously guarded creative following the double tragedy of losing his wife and daughter mere months apart. I've been a Rush fan for decades but knew little of their lives outside of the band. This was a comforting listen, having had some recent bereavements myself. The narration is sensitive and warm, befitting the subject. Recommended to Rush fans, and non fans alike.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Graham
  • 08-22-18

Writing and narration all wonderful

Writing and narration all wonderful. Hats off to Mr Peart. A very talented creative guy.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Macstiv
  • 07-01-22

hard start

I knew from the description it was going to be about a bike ride after a tragedy but even so I almost gave up as it was so depressing. Having found out more of his life after the period in the book, I decided to stick to the end.
I cannot decide if the voice artist showed how the author felt during this period or if it was just flat!
Not one of the travelogues or bios I will revisit and will not be listening to the author's other works.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-12-22

Never in a Rush to finish it. inspirational.

A solitary journey, heartfelt and poignant.
A must for Rush fans but also anyone who understands grief and the power of self healing.

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  • Alex
  • 01-22-20

Amazing

An amazing story of an amazing human being. A must read.

Rest In Peace Neil Peart.

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  • Glen Ironman
  • 01-18-20

Generous and meandering

As a drummer- musician- a lyrical listen nearly- a father and husband Neil keeps giving when away from music... no wonder he's so good writing songs. ..... he's endearing, engaging and creating freedom for the listener. Open, fluid and available as a writer and human. Thinking and feeling human being putting words - all those words- and thoughts into something you can reflect upon and enjoy

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