I knew of Brian’s friendship with David Reilly of the band God Lives Underwater, through various Facebook posts and chatter on a Facebook group we are both part of. Through this, I also knew the basics of the story. I knew the way it was going to end, but still wanted to know the ins and outs, the ups and downs of their friendship. The ups and downs are generally relating to David’s drug addiction problems. You learn of Brian’s immense disappointment and fear for his friend and his immense pride and love for him, when he overcomes his addictions and the sadness Brian feels after his friend’s death.
Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts starts by following Brian and his friend to a God Lives Underwater gig and Brian’s first encounter with David. While standing outside the venue, they spot David and Brian points him out to his friend who dares him to approach. It is a super-fan meets rock-star moment. You hold your breath along with Brian when he speaks to David for the first time and wait for David’s response. Part of me expected a cold shoulder or a brush off. You feel the moment the same way Brian did. Great stuff.
From that moment on, a friendship is born and grows throughout the years. Each encounter with David is covered, from the times GLU toured to Brian’s neck of the woods, to David’s solo show at T.T. the Bear’s Place, which Brian and his then-girlfriend were responsible for setting up. With each meeting, the pair’s friendship grows stronger and develops into more of a bromance than a friendship.
While reading the book, I became hooked around the death of David’s girlfriend, Monica, known to most as Seven. I found this part of the book to be extremely emotive and I was gripped from that moment on. When David plays the solo show at T.T. the Bear’s Place, you feel the emotion when he mentions Monica’s death before playing the song ‘Whatever You’ve got’ and he breaks down. I have to admit that I was so engrossed in the story that I almost broke down too.
The next time that emotion is portrayed so beautifully is when Brian is learning of David’s death. Even though I knew what was coming, I felt sick to my stomach while reading about David’s death. I could feel the feelings that Brian felt. He captures these moments perfectly for the reader to be immersed in the roller-coaster of emotions he felt when he lost his best friend.
After David’s death, Brian strikes up a bond with David’s sister Gretchen and nephew Billy. Brian and his friend Mike visit Gretchen and Billy to visit the David’s grave and spend time in the area he lived. Without giving away too much, I loved this part of the book a lot and found the things that happened on their visit a mixture of bizarre and fascinating.
After reading Dreams, I felt I knew David Reilly, just as well as Brian grew to know him. I also felt the same sense of loss; after getting to know David and ultimately growing to love him as much as his best friend did, I felt I had lost a friend too. If anything, this is credit to Brian’s powerful writing and ability to convey exactly how he felt during the important parts of their friendship. I also feel I got to know Brian better too.
So Brian: Great job, me-han!