about

There’s a certain kind of lost a boy feels in this world without a father. Tim felt it. I felt it. And we realized our only way out would be together.

In an openhearted memoir of faith on the fringe, Roger Thompson meditates on the life and premature death of his best friend and business partner, Tim Garrety, cofounder of Skate Street Ventura.

Roger and Tim’s twenty-year friendship was forged in the surf and on the streets of 1980s California. Together they hazarded countless waves and every rite of passage—from guitars to girls to God—and influenced the lives of thousands of skateboarders, musicians, surfers, and otherwise disconnected youth in the process.

With unrestrained honesty and a punk-rock soundtrack, My Best Friend’s Funeral is a memoir of friendship, doubt, surfing, and the complex relationships between fathers and sons. If life has ever left you feeling abandoned—or if you simply prefer a rock show to a sermon—My Best Friend’s Funeral is a memoir you won’t want to miss, and a confirmation that you are never alone.

author

Roger W Thompson

Roger W. Thompson advocates for orphans in Haiti with the Hands and Feet Project, and produces surf movies with Walking on Water Films. When not working, Roger can be found fly-fishing, building furniture, and surfing with his sons near the coastal town of Ventura, California, where he lives with his wife, two young sons, one old dog, and seven productive chickens.

endorsements

“My Best Friends Funeral is a remarkable true story of a deep and true friendship. It’s an emotional journey through joy, sorrow and hope. With insight into living and loving more fully, my friend Roger shows us how to find meaning in the hardships we can’t explain, and how love can grow from our deepest loss. Brutally honest and beautifully compassionate, it will inspire you to, once again, tell your family and friends how much you love them. You’ll love reading this book.”

Michael W. Smith, Singer/Songwriter

“With the Pacific Ocean as his backdrop, Roger Thompson paints a firsthand picture of the reality that life is not easy. It's cruel, challenging, and hopeless; and being a Christian doesn't make it easy. He questions God's authority in the face of loss and rejection and draws closer to his Heavenly Father in the process. God has taken him on an incredible journey; one that we can all learn something from. ”

Josh Turner, Multi-Platinum MCA Nasvhille Recording Artist

"Life doesn't always turn out like we expect, and we must learn to celebrate every gift and mourn every loss. My Best Friend's Funeral will teach you to do both with resolve and grace."

Margaret Feinberg, author of Fight With Joy

“Roger has been a close friend of mine for more than a decade. But in some ways this book introduced me to him for the first time. His writing displays incredible insights into life and loss that cut to the heart and will inspire you. His candor, warmth and hope encourages us to become better fathers and mothers—and friends. I think you’ll love this book.”

David Kinnaman, author of unChristian and You Lost Me

“My Best Friend’s Funeral is a profoundly moving, heartbreaking, and surprisingly hilarious story of an extraordinary friendship. Roger takes us to almost unbearable depths of grief and then through laughter and tears leaves us with the assurance that even our greatest suffering can turn to joy. It is a must read.”

Mike Foster, Author, founder, People of the Second Chance

“One of the most captivating, authentic stories I've read to help me discover hope in loss, healing in pain, and joy in sadness. I will recommend My Best Friend's Funeral to thousands of parents, young adults, and leaders who come across our path.”

Dr. Bruce McNicol, president Truefaced, best-selling co-author, The Cure and Bo's Cafe

"A beautiful, poignant memoir of loss and life. My Best Friend's Funeral is a rare gift that will bring comfort, hope and even companionship to those navigating the valley of the shadow whilst aspiring to the heights of a life well-lived."

Pete Greig, Author of God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer

"My Best Friend’s Funeral will take you on a journey through the universal struggle of youth, first love, addiction, loss, marriage, the high’s and low’s of adult life, fatherhood, finding God, and the untimely death of a best friend. Roger’s openness will leave you stretched and challenged to live a life of sincerity and honest humility. In these pages is a beautiful roadmap of how to do friendship well. This story will move your heart in a very deep way, and leave you with much to consider.”

Charlotte Crotty, long-time friend

"My Best Friend’s Funeral is a gutsy and transparent memoir about the most important and difficult issues we face in this lifetime. It’s a true story well told of friendship and fatherhood, love lost and found, grief, forgiveness, and ultimately, redemption. It speaks to me as a father and a man – and inspires me to be better at both.”

Mark Stuart, lead singer of Audio Adrenaline and co-founder of The Hands and Feet Project

“Everybody has a secret fishing hole they are looking for. A place where everything makes sense and puts one at ease. In My Best Friend’s Funeral, Roger takes us on a universal search for the meaning of life. Then he shows us that it may have been right in front of us all along.”

Justin Harding, Professional Fly Fishing Guide – Utah Pro Fly Fishing

“Enter this book. Please. Take yourself and enter. For from within it you will know what the Celts knew, how to be Anam Cara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul; cara is the word for friend, together they equal soul friend. Lost are the days of "soul friends” in our contemporary life, lost are those friendships that cut across all convention and category, friendships that convey deep recognition and belonging, friendships that see each other as whole people and help each other become whole and better versions of themselves. This book, these lives, they teach us, challenge us, carry us, and renew us once again toward the soulfulness of friendship. I know this to be true, for I was taught personally, and so can you. Read. ”

Greg Russinger, Friend of Tim & Roger, and founding pastor of The Bridge Community where Tim served, loved, and taught us to be soul friends.

“A beautiful and brave tribute; casting light onto what it means to grieve and process the monumental loss of a parent and a best friend. I was engrossed by Roger's forthright writing; he lays himself bare about the things that we grapple with the most. What happens when we lose people we care about? What do we do next? Affirming, spiritual without being preachy, and above all, honest. Kudos.”

Mario Calire, multi Grammy Winning Drummer (Wallflowers, Ozomatli)

“My Best Friend’s Funeral is taut with the suspense of life itself, hung precariously between dark winter and brimming springtide. Like the Psalms, it shimmers with both sorrow and hope. The journey is lyrical, haunting, deeply personal yet rich in treasures for all. Amidst it all, Roger Thompson reminds that the place of our greatest ache can be also the source of the greatest gift God gives others through us.”

Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans and author of Becoming Home

“My friend Roger writes a captivating, raw, touching memoir. It will make you laugh and cry, and cause you to regard your friendships as the greater gifts they are.”

Britt Merrick, Founding Pastor of Reality Church and author of Big God, and Godspeed

“I could not put this book down! Such a refreshingly raw, honest, insightful behind the scenes look into a friendship that God worked through to impact this entire generation! Each of our lives are difficult at times but reading this book reminded me of how God uses our pain and suffering to draw us closer to Him and to refine us so we can shine brighter.”

Bryan Jennings, Founder - Walking On Water

“With raw honesty Roger Thompson invites us into his narrative of abandonment, friendship, and redemption. Thompson gives a poignant reminder that our stories shape us, and at the center of every story is the need for relationship.”

Pastor Chris Seay

“This is a beautiful book about friendship, failure, and fighting with God and others over life’s mysteries. Roger provides the reader a poetic, playful, and generous place to marinate in the experiences that flavor our lives. His stories moved me deeply, not only because of his engaging and humorous wit, but because I had the incredible privilege of sharing some of these memories with Roger and Tim. You will be encouraged by Roger’s vulnerability and authenticity, and invited to open up your heart a little more to love and be loved.”

Scott Grabendike, Senior Pastor Westbrook Church

help

If you are dealing with a loss in your life, there are people who want to walk through this difficult time with you. Though not exhaustive, here are few resources that may help:

Local Churches

Even if you don’t currently attend a local church, if you call they can often help find
immediate resources for you.

Compassionate Friends

Providing grief support after the death of a child.
CompassionateFriends.org

People of the Second Chance

Making peace with your past and finding freedom.
SecondChance.org

In my own journey, I have found nature to be both a healer and a place for
perspective. For me this usually means surfing or fly-fishing. Here are some great
folks I know who can get you in the water, whether it’s fresh or salty:

Utah Pro Fly Fishers

Guiding services throughout Utah.
UtahProFlyFishing.com

Walking on Water Surf Camps

Christian overnight and day camps in Southern California.
WalkingOnWater.com

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media inquiries

For press inquiries regarding My Best Friend’s Funeral
please contact Emily Lineberger at emily.lineberger@harpercollins.com