The Light Years: A Memoir

The Light Years: A Memoir

The Light Years is a joyous and defiant coming-of-age memoir set during one of the most turbulent times in American historyChris Rush was born into a prosperous, fiercely Roman Catholic, New Jersey family. But underneath the gleaming mid-century house, the flawless hostess mom, and the thriving businessman dad ran an unspoken tension that, amid the upheaval of the late 196...

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Title:The Light Years: A Memoir
Author:Chris Rush
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Light Years: A Memoir Reviews

  • Shannon A

    Thinking I would just read the first few pages while waiting for the bus, I knew I had gone down the rabbit hole when I finished nearly fifteen pages in less than an hour and nearly missed my stop for home.

    A journey of wild times, unbelievable twists & turns, hitchhiking, drugs, near-death experiences and self-discovery that is hypnotic & full of emotion. Told at near lightning pace, every page will leave you in some form of suspense; daring you to read the next page, while leaving you i

    Thinking I would just read the first few pages while waiting for the bus, I knew I had gone down the rabbit hole when I finished nearly fifteen pages in less than an hour and nearly missed my stop for home.

    A journey of wild times, unbelievable twists & turns, hitchhiking, drugs, near-death experiences and self-discovery that is hypnotic & full of emotion. Told at near lightning pace, every page will leave you in some form of suspense; daring you to read the next page, while leaving you in a state of wonder of how Chris managed to live to tell the tale that lead him home.

  • Amy Bruestle

    I want to start of by saying that I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

    5 stars! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ WOW!

    Honestly, I am really picky when it comes to memoirs. I enjoy them, but personally, the more real, raw, down to earth, and deep they are, the better they are. Nobody wants to read a memoir full of a perfect life. At least I don’t. I can truly say that Chris Rush’s memoir is the absolute BEST memoir I have read to date! That being said, I have only read about a do

    I want to start of by saying that I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

    5 stars! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ WOW!

    Honestly, I am really picky when it comes to memoirs. I enjoy them, but personally, the more real, raw, down to earth, and deep they are, the better they are. Nobody wants to read a memoir full of a perfect life. At least I don’t. I can truly say that Chris Rush’s memoir is the absolute BEST memoir I have read to date! That being said, I have only read about a dozen or so memoirs, but none of them come close to competing! Reviewing memoirs is strange. It’s not like it is a fiction story that you can offer advice on how the author “should have, would have, or could have”. The genre is full of the author’s LIFE and life experiences. How can you pull those apart and judge or critique them? You simply can’t. So For me, I just go by my own personal taste, and whether or not the book “moved” me per-say. And this one certainly did! I am a recovering drug addict, with almost three years clean (on July 21st, 2019), so I can profoundly relate to the struggles Chris went through in regards to drugs and emotions and family life/relationships. Though my situation was very different in many aspects, the underlying loneliness, need to escape reality, and depression is spot on identical!

    Thanks for the incredible read! I feel like a better person for having read this book! Any book that makes me feel like that afterwards is definitely a 5-star book in my eyes! I hope you come out with more books in the future Mr. Rush! Personally, I would hugely appreciate a book dedicated to addiction and the mental illnesses (dual diagnosis) that accompany most people with them! It is ALWAYS awesome to read a book about such things coming from a fellow addict versus the typical “text-book” account of the same thing. Not only is it more relatable, but people trust it more because they believe that you truly understand them. “Text-book” accounts might understand the surface level issues, but until you’ve been in our shoes, there’s no way you could possibly understand and/or identify with the rawness and depth of the disease of addiction. Sorry, now I’m just blabbing. I guess you could say I am pretty passionate about the subject. And I am so happy, proud, and in awe of you for not only sharing your story publicly, but for doing so with complete honesty, bluntness, truth and ease! Thank you again!

    Lastly, anyone who reads this that may be struggling with addiction, please feel free to message me anytime. You are not alone! There is help! It works if you work it, so work it, you’re worth it!

  • Michael

    I read and reviewed this memoir for Lambda Literary, where

    can be found.

    A fast-paced coming-of-age tale about growing up gay during the sixties and seventies,

    recounts a tumultuous adolescence and muses about what it means it to find self-acceptance as a queer teen. The memoir centers on the author's fraught relationship with his feuding parents, but the bulk of it focuses on the time he spent away from affluent New England home as a teen. In vivid prose, Rush brin

    I read and reviewed this memoir for Lambda Literary, where

    can be found.

    A fast-paced coming-of-age tale about growing up gay during the sixties and seventies,

    recounts a tumultuous adolescence and muses about what it means it to find self-acceptance as a queer teen. The memoir centers on the author's fraught relationship with his feuding parents, but the bulk of it focuses on the time he spent away from affluent New England home as a teen. In vivid prose, Rush brings to life a series of disorienting experiences: clandestine affairs at boarding schools, poorly planned cross-country trips, drug dealing in California, journeys about the Sonoran desert. The author's incisive humor livens up his bleak narrative, and he captures the eccentricities and quirks of the many people he encountered as a teen, whether or not he liked them. Rush's written an expansive life story, full of brilliant observations, and it’s hard to believe that this is only his first book.

  • Karen Kay

    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

    Chris Rush was born into a prosperous, fiercely Roman Catholic, New Jersey family. But underneath the gleaming mid-century house, the flawless hostess mom, and the thriving businessman dad ran an unspoken tension that, amid the upheaval of the late 1960s, was destined to fracture their precarious facade.

    Wow, it's amazing the author is still alive to tell his incredible story. Well written, very interesting. Must read. Warning: adult si

    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

    Chris Rush was born into a prosperous, fiercely Roman Catholic, New Jersey family. But underneath the gleaming mid-century house, the flawless hostess mom, and the thriving businessman dad ran an unspoken tension that, amid the upheaval of the late 1960s, was destined to fracture their precarious facade.

    Wow, it's amazing the author is still alive to tell his incredible story. Well written, very interesting. Must read. Warning: adult situations, extreme drug use and really broken people.

    5 stars

  • Kasa Cotugno

    Every now and then a memoir appears that makes anyone who has experienced parenthood wonder What the Hell? How did this person survive, and how could parents allow their child to disappear into the unknown? The events in Chris Rush's personal history take place almost 50 years ago, and given the bifurcated nature of the home he grew up in, one can only wonder at his resilience in becoming the respected, honored artist he has evolved into. Chris is the middle child of seven of a successful contra

    Every now and then a memoir appears that makes anyone who has experienced parenthood wonder What the Hell? How did this person survive, and how could parents allow their child to disappear into the unknown? The events in Chris Rush's personal history take place almost 50 years ago, and given the bifurcated nature of the home he grew up in, one can only wonder at his resilience in becoming the respected, honored artist he has evolved into. Chris is the middle child of seven of a successful contractor and his complicated wife whose fiercely Catholic lives include raucous parties attended by members of the diocese of Trenton. The father's work mostly involves construction of churches, but it is his alcoholism that drives the family. Each of the seven goes in a wayward direction, seemingly without any reaction from the parents.

    But this is Chris's story, and his life of deeper and deeper involvement into the drug culture of the seventies, his being cast adrift while still in his teens and while he is coming to grips with his own sexuality, tells more about his character than that of those loathsome parents. He actually professes love for those two, and more understanding and acceptance than they are possibly entitled to. As he says toward the end Life Shapes a Face, makes it what it is. It is worthwhile to take a peek at his website and see the beautifully unsettling examples of the art he has created.

  • Roberto

    I loved every moment reading this extraordinary book about an extraordinary life, and I raced through it grateful that Mr Rush was still alive alive to tell his story. It is a profound, and profoundly sad, memoir but one full of love and the search for love. My favourite read of 2019 so far.

  • Bethany

    ***An early edition of this book was given to me for review. I'd like to thank the author and publishing company for this opportunity. All opinions, however, are my own.***

    Typically, I'd write my own back-cover-type synopsis here, but I think the one on this book's page does it well enough alone. The bulk of the synopsis is below:

    ***An early edition of this book was given to me for review. I'd like to thank the author and publishing company for this opportunity. All opinions, however, are my own.***

    Typically, I'd write my own back-cover-type synopsis here, but I think the one on this book's page does it well enough alone. The bulk of the synopsis is below:

    I'm shocked to learn that this is a debut novel. I'm even more shocked to learn that the author decided to debut with a memoir of all things. Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone chooses to tell it before people know their name. Memoirs are not typically what I reach for, but for some reason I always love the ones I pick up anyway, no matter how dry they seem. That being said, this book was not dry for a second. Rush's trials and experiences were so vivid and eccentric that I sometimes found myself doubting the truth within the pages. However, it is important to remember that what actually happened and what someone perceives to have happened are equally true, and this book, I think, is a beautiful example of this. This book will cause you to examine and reexamine every scene, and try to put yourselves in the shoes of someone with experiences that seem out of this world in today's standards.

    It is difficult to rate this book because it makes me feel like I'm putting a rating on Rush's life. His emotions and experiences are valid, and ratings have no place there. Instead my rating is solely on how these experiences are conveyed. Rush penned a page-turner. He built tension and manipulated his story so expertly. The only reason a star was taken away, was purely my fault. A lot of the experiences aware lost on me, simply because I don't think I'm the target audience for this novel. There is heavy drug usage throughout the novel. Rush does a pretty good job of explaining what this all fells like for people who have no idea, but there were simply moments that I couldn't fathom, and I save 5 stars for all-time favorite books of mine. This is still a very solid read, and likely a five-star book for you. I recommend you try it!

  • Shelli

    When I first saw the Goodreads Giveaways listing for

    , Chris Rush's memoir of growing up in let's-just-say-

    circumstances, I was under the impression that this book was going to be akin to

    , minus the pathological lying. You know the sort: horrible depravity, shady characters everywhere, life-threatening overdoses aplenty, and of course, jail stints full of institutional abuse and shower rape scenes.

    It was nothing like that at all.

    Although there were

    When I first saw the Goodreads Giveaways listing for

    , Chris Rush's memoir of growing up in let's-just-say-

    circumstances, I was under the impression that this book was going to be akin to

    , minus the pathological lying. You know the sort: horrible depravity, shady characters everywhere, life-threatening overdoses aplenty, and of course, jail stints full of institutional abuse and shower rape scenes.

    It was nothing like that at all.

    Although there were a few moments of the expectedly serious types of darkness: drug overdose; violence and its long aftermath; grownups who had decidedly unseemly intentions toward him in this era of "free love"; homophobia – the harder-hitting pathos came, unexpectedly, from more ordinary moments. My heartstrings were pulled tautest during the most relatable hardships of young Chris's life: finding one's place as the "different" kid in his school and family; too-frequent moves from place to place; craving the love and approval of the adults around him, especially his adoring sister, his distracted mother, and his frighteningly disapproving father; trying to sort out his sexual orientation, not to mention his entire spiritual disposition, against his love of the structure, rituals, and comfort of his Catholic upbringing; and of course, navigating the fraught course of young love. The only difference was that Chris was going through all of this while tripping absolute balls, and dealing enough drugs to amass several incarcerated lifetimes worth of Class A felonies.

    As with many people whose primary drug of choice was LSD, Chris and those around him were, to varying degrees, spiritual seekers, who believed in the drug's power to open and enhance their minds and their hearts. Even after Chris began partaking of less "pure" drugs, most detrimentally cocaine, he still exuded a sense of goodness and innocence: even the high-level dealer for whom he moved product seemed to believe that they were doing people a vital service by providing them with the means to cope with the negativity and banality of every day life and reach a more exalted state of being.

    It was unexpected to find, in a narrative completely steeped in the middle of drug culture, that most of the people around Chris had good intentions, or at least not cruel ones. The book blurb talked about the end of the optimism of the 1960s and the slow slide into the "darker" 1970s. I am only a little bit younger than Chris, but honestly, compared to the events and the motivations of people today, the 1970s not only don't feel "dark" to me, but rather a damn utopia by comparison. I don't know if my take on the times then and now significantly slanted my opinion of

    , but I found so much goodness and hope, love and optimism within its pages, that my overall takeaway is a feeling of upliftedness, the power of caring and kindness and engagement to buoy us above adversity, something so incredibly lacking in our lives today. Maybe if his formative years has been 40 years later, Chris wouldn't have survived.

    And finally, I'd be leaving out something important if I failed to mention the setting, so dominated by desert landscapes, that serves to emphasize an important practical dichotomy: sometimes, that which is spectacularly beautiful can be harsh and unforgiving, but the converse is also true.

    Author Chris Rush is today a celebrated artist in a variety of media. Although it was an agonizing exercise in self-deprivation, I forced myself to refrain from Googling him before finishing his book; I wanted to know everything I could about him before viewing his art for the first time. I'm glad I did; it forced me to really

    at his work in a way we rarely do at art.

  • Diane S ☔

    Thoughts soon.

  • Kristen

    Brutal. As a mom it’s very difficult to read at times. I had to remind myself periodically that he was clearly alive to write the memoir, walking away from disaster time and again. Horrible parents or a sign of the times or both...gah!

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