In her outstanding memoir Conversations With My Dead Rock Star Best Friend, author Susan Daley channels wind chimes to facilitate her remarkable conversations with deceased bassist Howie Epstein, a member of the epic band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for twenty years.
Written in a unique, stream-of-consciousness style, Daley recounts -- often in achingly emotional detail -- her close relationship with Epstein, who died of drug-related causes in February, 2003.
Titillating tidbits surface as the singular conversation in the author's bedroom becomes telepathic: Howie "talks" to the author in her mind and she answers back, making for some hilarious repartee and reminiscences.
This is, first and foremost, a touching tribute to Epstein, and to the impact his friendship had on the author and vice versa. She was, in fact, one of his closest friends, and she still mourns his loss to this day. This book is a testament to that devotion -- a friendship brutally severed by drugs but often buoyed by hope.
Her infectious, self-deprecating wit runs rampant through this piece, infusing it with refreshing candor.
In one particular passage, she refers to the astonishing number of friends whom she has had to bury and mourn:
"It's a wonder anybody wants to be my friend," she says. "If I weren't me, and I met me, and I found out how many dead friends I had, I'd run for the hills lest I be next on the list."
Who can resist that kind of honesty -- particularly in a friend? You as a reader probably couldn't. And, apparently, neither could Howie Epstein.
Bravo, Ms. Daley, for a memorable memoir.