Thursday, June 27, 2019

Author Interview & Memoir Review: The Light Years by Chris Rush

The blog has been a bit quiet this week because my father-in-law went into the hospital Monday morning, so we've been spending our days driving back and forth and sitting with him and trying desperately to find a doctor to talk to (hospitals are very frustrating places!). The good news is that he is back at home now, and he's fine. It was just a bad respiratory virus, but at 94 years old, it took a lot out of him for a few days.

So, I finally have a few minutes to tell you about a book that absolutely blew me away! The Light Years by Chris Rush is a very unique memoir that was released back in April (we've had a lot of crises here lately). I had the opportunity to both review the book and interview the author for Shelf Awareness. You can read the author interview here and the book review here (or you can just scroll down from the interview - they are both in the same newsletter). I also wrote a slightly longer review here on the blog.

The memoir is about Chris' very unusual childhood. Feeling like he didn't fit in, after trying two different boarding schools, Chris headed out West at just thirteen years old. He moved in with his older sister and joined the drug counter-culture of the 60's and 70's, dealing drugs, doing drugs, enjoying the southwest wilderness, and experiencing a very unique coming-of-age without any responsible adults around. There are some horrifying moments in his memoir, but it is also very, very funny on almost every page. I was quite literally laughing out loud often as I read, in between the more poignant or frightening passages. You can read my full review here.

My interview with Chris was thoroughly enjoyable. As expected, he has a wonderful sense of humor, and he was thrilled that I "got" the humor in his book. The author interview is almost as interesting as the book itself because Chris has lived such an interesting life and is so open about his past and how it has affected the rest of his life.

I should mention that this book did not come to me through the usual review channels. It was sent to me by another author, Victor Lodato, who wrote the wonderful novel Edgar and Lucy, which I read and reviewed two years ago (review at the link - it's an excellent book and perfect for the Big Book Summer Challenge!). I also had the pleasure of meeting Victor in person at the 2017 Booktopia event, and he and I stayed in touch. He helped to edit The Light Years and also beautifully narrates the audio book (he has a great reading voice!), and he thought I'd like it. He was right!

So, thank you, Victor, for introducing me to this remarkable memoir!

384 pages, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links provide a small commission to me (pennies per purchase), to help offset the time I spend writing for this blog, at no extra cost to you.

Listen to a sample of The Light Years on audio, read by Victor Lodato, featuring the very funny opening scene of the memoir.

You can purchase The Light Years from an independent bookstore, either locally or online, here:
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Or you can order The Light Years from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. Memoirs can be hit and miss for me, but this one sounds good. Any book that causes outloud laughter is a good thing.

    1. Yes, the author told me that not everyone got the humor, but I thought it was hilarious (but also poignant and moving). He just remembers the details of childhood sooo well!

  2. I am never quite sure how I feel about books about drug use. The funny parts sound good, though.

    1. It's mostly a coming-of-age story...though his coming-of-age happened to take place in the midst of the counter-culture. There are plenty of points where it's clear that he suffered for that kind of an adolescence (sometimes horribly) but his tone in looking back is fairly neutral - he had good times during those years, too.