Lew Bracker’s memoir Jimmy & Me of his 16-month friendship with James Dean made me cry. I mean I knew it was coming yet I still cried when Lew described that horrible night on September 30, 1955. In fact, Lew’s account had such an effect on me I ordered the record for East of Eden, so I can also be comforted by it – Lew listened to the score from East of Eden the night and day after Jimmy died to feel closer to him.
Lew met Jimmy (James Dean) through Lew’s brother in law, Leonard Rosenman, who was a friend of Jimmy’s and who wrote the scores for East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause. Lew was also into cars and racing just like Jimmy, and they became fast friends. Lew waited over 40 years to share his story and even waited 40 years to open the box he took from Jimmy’s place a few days after his death. Lew said he wrote with tears in his eyes about the night of Sept 30, 1955 when Jimmy died (and i was also crying while reading it).
Lew’s book was a very personal, very true account of his friendship with James Dean. He did not embellish and did not try to tell anyone else’s story, just his own – just those experiences he was present for. I loved how Lew broke narrative and told you want he was thinking at the time and also gave thoughts on today looking back on it. I REALLY enjoyed this book! It is definitely a must-have for any James Dean fan.