EDDIE ZITTNER'S obsession began when he was a teenager. When his father suffered a massive heart attack, and his mother went half-crazy with worry, he immersed himself in the music of Steely Dan. Now, fifteen years later, Easy Eddie is all grown up, married, and living in Somerset, New Jersey. And his life is going nowhere. His marriage is a mess. He's bouncing from one dead-end job to another. His parents and wife are constantly on his case. And his obsession is stronger than ever.
His wife, ALISON, finally has enough when a silly fight leads to Eddie moving out. Alison (a successful career woman) blames their problems on Eddie's lack of ambition, and his continuing obsession with “The Dan.” Eddie knows he's sexed up, and wonders what life would be like without “the love of his life.”
Looking for inspiration, Eddie decides to literally track down Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, the reclusive founders of Steely Dan. After spending the night at his parent's home—and getting a large serving of guilt from his mother—he decides to move to Manhattan, where his brother has an apartment. “Why Manhattan?” his father asks; “You hate Manhattan!” Eddie explains that he needs to “get away” for a while. But he has an ulterior motive: Manhattan is where Fagen and Becker spend most of their time.
Thus begins Eddie's adventure. He moves in with his brother, and quickly lands a job at a bookstore. He gets a tip from a new friend that he meets on the internet; she gives him what she thinks is Fagan's address in Manhattan. Days later, Eddie is parading up and down the sidewalks, carrying a Steely Dan Rules sign, hoping that Fagen will come out of his apartment, say hello, and give him an autograph. That doesn't happen; but Eddie persists. Soon an attractive newspaper reporter, LOIS LANE SMITH, gets wind of the story and decides to feature him in the New York Post and a string of articles follow.
The articles strain the already-strained relationships with his wife and parents. It is Lois' second article, entitled “Behind Steely Bars,” written after Eddie's parading gets him arrested that sends Eddie's relationships with his wife and parents plunging toward crisis mode.
Things begin to settle down; Eddie swears off parading, pacifies his parents, and begins a casual romantic relationship with Smith. He is finally feeling “inspired,” and he starts writing short stories again. And, surprise, Smith knows an editor at Rolling Stone magazine. Eddie is introduced to BERNARD STERLING, who gives Eddie some insights about Steely Dan, Fagen and Becker, and “celebrity behavior” in general.
The next few days are filled with ups and downs. Alison, upset by yet another newspaper article, tells Eddie she's filing for divorce. Meanwhile, Eddie's relationship with Lois is heating up. As Eddie tries to sort out his feelings, he is faced with a real crisis: his father has another heart attack and dies later that evening.
In the final chapter, Bernard Sterling offers Eddie a job writing for Rolling Stone magazine. The book ends with Sterling inviting Eddie into his private office. “There are a couple of fellows,” Sterling tells Eddie, “I'd like you to meet.”
In the epilogue, we find that Alison has divorced Eddie, married Eddie's best friend, and now has left him, too. She's moved on; rumor has it that she's having an affair with her boss. Eddie, now a full-time writer at Rolling Stone, marries Lois. In the summer of 2001, they move to the New Jersey suburbs, and are expecting their first child.
This report prepared by Julie Peregrine