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This road gets a little long...
on June 30, 2004
As a long time Rush/Neil Peart fan I may not be the most objective reviewer of this book as I tore through its pages with the mindset of a fan and not as a casual reader. Being a Rush fan and a motorcyclist, I'm probably as captive a reader as any author could hope for, so perhaps I grant this book some liberties where others may feel it falls a little short.
The passing of Peart's daughter and wife starts the book on it's haunting footing as the author takes you on a two wheel ride over miles and miles of road while simultaneously allowing you to feel his pain, recount his memories, think his thoughts, and bask in his ultimate healing. All while the odometer keeps clicking away.
What is immediately striking is the author's raw emotional openness - as though his motorcycle were the couch and the reader the psychologist listening to him poor it all out. The down side of this is that in his honesty you see him as not always being the most sympathetic of characters - often he comes across being uptight, anal, and often self indulged. Rather than recounting memories of his lost loved ones, allowing his devastation to be more concrete and real for the reader he regales in story after story of past motorcycle trips with his best friend Brutus. By the end of the book you know more about Brutus than the loved ones he lost.
The beauty of this book is experiencing the world as viewed through the eyes of a well-read, thoughtful artist. He has such a poetic sensibility about the world that the sights, sounds and smells of the passing countryside take on a fresh life. Throughout the book he is searching, but never out of control - he grieves as you would expect, but not driven by his emotions - instead he rides and thinks.