Book Reviews

Book Review – Far and Away: A Prize Every Time by Neil Peart

Some people might know who the author is right off. Some people might know the name but can’t place it. Some people will have no clue.

Neil Peart is the late drummer from the Canadian rock band Rush. He left behind not only a great gift to fans in his music, but also in his writing as well.

Peart was an avid motorcyclist and took that love on the road with him when Rush was touring. Far and Away: A Prize Every Time is a collection of writing he did about that time on the road and posted on the website he had at the time.

Most of the writing is about his adventures in motorcycling across the United States and Canada. Peart is what is known as a “shunpiker” in that he tries to stay off the main Interstates whenever possible and travel by back roads. Living where I do, I understand that. It’s different to experience the country driving on back roads rather than zooming by on the Interstate.

This makes for plenty of travel stories. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the adventures he had on his motorcycle. It’s a lot like trips I want to make in my Jeep Wrangler. Many of his trips have side-trips where he hikes. Reading about Death Valley was quite interesting, since I’ve never been there and really didn’t have a desire to visit. Now I’m thinking about it. That’s the value in his writings – if you have wanderlust like I have (and he seems to) you’ll pick up a lot of little-known places of interest. He prefers the mom-and-pop establishments to chains for lodging and talks about the places he stays and the food he encounters.

For the most part he seems to move through these adventures with anonymity. The few times he’s recognized, the fans seem to respect his wish to remain anonymous.

There are pictures to go along with the adventures, both on the motorcycle and elsewhere. They are very nice shots that make the stories all the more interesting.

Aside from the travel, he writes about his drumming. I do have to admit, there are times the technical aspects and details of drumming went right by me and he started to lose me. I would think that would appeal more to musicians and fans who are interested in those details. He also wrote about the birth of his youngest child, his time spent at his home in Quebec and the snowshoeing and cross-country skiing he does there, and many personal musings.

If you’re looking for a tell-all or gossip about being in Rush, that’s not here. There are quips about being on the road and songwriting together, but this book is mostly about Peart and what is going on in his life. It’s a series of letters to his fans, essentially letting them know more about him. I think even a non-Rush fan will enjoy his travel writing. Peart is an excellent writer and this was a very fun read. If there are parts that aren’t as interesting to a particular reader, it’s easy to skip over and move to the next chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more that Peart has written.

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