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How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets by…
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How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (2004)

by Garth Stein

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1714106,406 (3.63)2
When his son's mother dies and leaves him a single parent to Dean, a fourteen-year-old boy he has never met, Evan Wallace is forced to confront his music career and his epilepsy.

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How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets by Garth Stein
389 pages

★★★

***May Contain Spoilers***

Pretty early on in this novel we learn that Evan is 31, suffers from epileptic seizures, and has just “acquired” his 14 year old son after a tragic death. That’s a lot of drama and that pretty much sums up the whole book.

This is from the same author that brought you The Art of Racing in the Rain but if you’re expecting something similar, move on. It wasn’t a BAD book, it had its good qualities. But Evan seemed overly involved in himself (which I get is the point, he’s supposed to show growth and change and blah blah) and at times that just annoyed me. His romance with Mica just seemed rushed and didn’t honestly make sense to me. And Evan’s son Dean? Whoa, he is a piece of work, again, I get it...he’s a teenager that just lost his mom but I sorta just wanted to smack that kid. I just couldn’t figure out Evan’s HUGE shame in having epilepsy. Maybe it’s because my father had it and it was an open discussion situation, I just couldn’t relate to Evan’s need to tell NO ONE that he had a medical issue. So while the book had good sections, others I was ready to get over. I wasn’t overly fond of most of the characters. The only one I seriously liked was Mica but she just didn’t seem to fit into it all. It had a feel good ending and some things were resolved so high five there. It’s a good book but don’t expect Racing in the Rain quality (How Evan Broke his Head was published first in his defense). ( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
When the story opens, Evan is at the funeral of his first ex-girlfriend, where he meets his 14 year old son, Dean, for the very first time. Dean's mother and grandparents had spent Dean's whole life trying to hide his father's identity from him, but after his mother dies unexpectedly, Evan rescues Dean from his grandparents' abusive family situation. Evan is an ex-rock star who is on the verge of another big opportunity. Until now, Evan had only had to worry about himself and never had to grow up or assume responsibility for another person. Evan's family is also rejecting and patronizing of his musical talent. When both sets of grandparents try to convince Evan to let them raise Dean instead, Evan has to decide for himself if he is able to commit to Dean full-time and grow up at last.

This was an interesting story about a rock musician in Seattle who has to face the decisions he made in the past and make a decision about what is best for him and his son. The backdrop of Seattle's music scene made the story particularly fun. Although I was frustrated by the predictability of the storyline and the bad decisions Evan makes before it all works out, it was overall, a pretty good read. ( )
  voracious | Jul 19, 2015 |
Great author, great writing style, mediocre book at best. I almost gave it two stars but I just like the author too much. It was so much repetitive building up for a very lackluster ending. Very disappointing. ( )
  tealightful | Sep 24, 2013 |
The Pacific Northwest's answer to "About a Boy". At age 30, Evan finds out his old high-school girlfriend has died. He also discovers that her 14-year-old son is his. So, how does this new son fit in with his kind of directionless, very single life? Evan is about to re-launch a once-promising music career in Seattle and he's just started a relationship with a new woman. In addition, he has never been open about his epilepsy. Meanwhile his sullen son Dean is not so keen on this instant father stuff. How can you blame him? So their relationship has moments of sparkling connections and moments of harsh, cruel reality. Along the way, Evan has to figure out his own broken relationship with his parents and his brother. And grow up. I guess I just love all the references to Northwest icons: Dicks Drive-in, Lake Union, the Crocodile Cafe, Magnolia. And I like the music-tinged elements of the book, too. ( )
  tmannix | Jan 27, 2010 |
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