The Light Years: A Memoir

The Light Years: A Memoir Review

The Light Years is a joyous and defiant coming-of-age memoir set during one of the most turbulent times in American history

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.

His older sister Donna introduces him to the charismatic Valentine, who places a tab of acid on twelve-year-old Rush's tongue, proclaiming: "This is sacrament. You are one of us now."

After an unceremonious ejection from an experimental art school, Rush heads to Tuscon to make a major drug purchase and, still barely a teenager, disappears into the nascent American counterculture. Stitching together a ragged assemblage of lowlifes, prophets, and fellow wanderers, he seeks kinship in the communes of the west. His adolescence is spent looking for knowledge, for the divine, for home. Given what Rush confronts on his travels--from ordinary heartbreak to unimaginable violence--it is a miracle he is still alive.

The Light Years is a prayer for vanished friends, an odyssey signposted with broken and extraordinary people. It transcends one boy's story to perfectly illustrate the slow slide from the optimism of the 1960s into the darker and more sinister 1970s. This is a riveting, heart-stopping journey of discovery and reconciliation, as Rush faces his lost childhood and, finally, himself.

Title:The Light Years: A Memoir
Edition Language:English

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    The Light Years: A Memoir Reviews

  • Michael

    I read and reviewed this memoir for Lambda Literary, where my full review can be found.A fast-paced coming-of-age tale about growing up gay during the sixties and seventies, The Light Years recounts a...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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 flawl...

  • 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 un...

  • Shelli

    When I first saw the Goodreads Giveaways listing for The Light Years, Chris Rush's memoir of growing up in let's-just-say-unusual circumstances, I was under the impression that this book was going to ...

  • 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 ow...

  • Cassie (book__gal)

    I’ve really gotten on board the memoir train this past month and The Light Years sealed the deal for me - I’m officially a fan of memoirs now! I used to never read them. This particular memoir is ...

  • Bert

    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...

  • kelly

    DNF @ pg. 90.Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad book. Chris Rush tells the story of his drug days in the late 60's with a razor-sharp wit and keen insight. It's nothing personal, but after awhile R...