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A rare insight into a private person
on 25 October 2003
Neil Peart is a walking anomaly in that he is a very private person that exists in the high profile music industry . Reading the lyrics to the old Rush song " Limelight " makes you aware that here is a person who wants to put up a barrier against the intrusions of fame - a stranger is a long awaited friend indeed . So even more remarkable then that Neil bares his soul to the outside world through the pages of this book as he recounts the pain and anguish of his twin loss of only daughter and wife within months of each other and his epic motorcycle journey around North America to find some glimmer of inspiration to carry on living . There is a happy ending - indeed if there can be in these tragic circumstances - that he does find inspiration on his travels and eventually meets a new soul mate and gets married .
I bought the book for an insight to Neil Peart the man , and found that he is just an ordinary person who finds recognition and intrusion a very uncomfortable experience . He is obviously a naturally shy person and you can tell that he prefers reading and observing rather than participating . So from that point of view I found the book a marvellous testimony to the man and the incredible misfortune he had to endure . At times it was a difficult read when his early dark moods made it heavy going . But then he tells it like it really was - and life wasn't pretty at that stage .
I found the travelog style a bit unrewarding as it was written in a diary and letter writing prose ( to Brutus , one of his mates put to prison for " herbal " importing ) and to be honest was not all that exciting . It was on almost a " day by day " recounting of the journey and as he was travelling up to 500 miles in one day sometimes he was obviously not pausing to soak up the views and recount vivid detail to the reader . Most of it is recollections of encounters with small town Alaska , Canada and USA . Mexico was a better read but maybe it was just that his mood and spirits had lifted by then .
In conclusion , a rare insight into a private person who is very articulate , sometimes amusing , principled but also shy , introverted, and wary of unwanted company . However , to his friends and band mates he comes across to me as faithful , open , and generous ( his loyalty to his jailed friend , Brutus , seems typical of his nature ) . As a travel book, however , is was slightly disappointing as it was a little too detailed sometimes about not an awful lot quite frankly . But then again I suppose that was not really the intention of the book . Lets hope he has had enough tragedy for a life time .