How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets
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How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  1,867 ratings  ·  277 reviews
“Funny, bewitching, observant.”—The Oregonian

“Hits all the frets of a powerful story: sharp-witted dialogue, vivid characters, insight into medical challenges and prose that snaps like well-placed plucks of guitar strings. . . . I hold up my lighter and turn it full-flame for [Garth] Stein’s latest work. Encore!”—The Seattle Times

“Compelling.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Soho Press (first published April 1st 2005)
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Ruben
Jan 23, 2010 Ruben rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I jumped into this book fresh off The Art of Racing in the Rain, as I'm sure many others have done. It's a great story with a lot of relationships that break and mend and break again. Although I found the main character, Evan, to be sufficiently likable, his character was not different enough from the main character of "Racing" for me to fully identify with him. This is a situation where the order the books are read affects one's appreciation of them, though it's the reverse of the order of publ...more
Jayme
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary
Again I loved Stein's writing. This book was really great and had some good messages in it. I loved Evan and really wanted him to be happy and suceed. At times it was a little frustrating not knowing what was going on with him and Tracy's life after she left. It was all kind of too secretive and a little anti-climatic, because you never really find out what exactly happened to Evan or Dean in their childhoods. But I definitely like Garth Stein and will read more of his books, when he writes them...more
Barbara Chapman
This is one of my all time favorite books. It was by an unknown author and I just pulled it off the shelf of the library. What a delight to find such a page turner. When his ex girlfriend dies, Evan, a struggling musician, becomes an instant father to his 14 year old son. Amongst all this, he is dealing with his own family relationships and with the secrets of his epilepsy. It makes for a very touching read.
Theresa Mannix
Oct 01, 2007 Theresa Mannix rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Northwest fiction lovers
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 stu...more
Hassinger


How Evan Broke His Head And Other Stories is a melodramatic work; character depth, logical cause and effect, and the meaning of the story are sacrificed for the sake of drama. The characters are constantly at each other's throats. Their dialogue is confusing and convoluted and goes on for pages and pages. The story's premise is interesting, but the execution is poor, leaving the story underdeveloped and muddled.

If you are considering reading this book because you enjoyed The Art Of Racing In The...more
John
This book confirmed that I love Garth Stein's books. This story was about a carefree musician who suddenly has to look after his 14 year old son that he has never known. It brings up old family demons and Evan's battle with epilepsy. And it is a bonus that it takes place around Seattle so things are familiar.

Now I am going to look for Stein'sRaven Stole the Moon
Khris Sellin
Evan Wallace is a 31-year-old frustrated guitar player, still trying to make it big in the Seattle music scene. He's also an epileptic, since a car accident at age 12, who's been treated like damaged goods by his family ever since. His father is a heart surgeon, his brother is a lawyer, and his parents have built a veritable shrine to his brother at their house. And, oh, yeah, he fathered a child with his high school girlfriend back when he was 17, but he's never had any contact with him. Sudden...more
L
Garth Stein writes vivid stories set in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest that make a local think that if they don't actually know his characters, they must have at least run into them somewhere (at the Croc, maybe, or getting coffee at B&O Espresso, or in the line at Dick's late at night) or have a friend who knows them. How Evan Broke his Head is the story of an amazing guitarist (Evan) who has Epilepsy and reunites with the a son he had with his high school girlfriend after she dies sudde...more
Evan
I would, if possible, rate this one a three-and-half. I figured, coming off of Stein's "The Art of Racing in the Rain," and having a book with my name in the title, things could not go wrong. And while that remained true, things never really went right with this one either. All in all, it was a decent story, it had a few nice passages here and there, but frankly, I am not expecting to remember a lot about this book the farther time moves me away from it.

The other thing that was not my favorite,...more
Art Tirrell
Oct 04, 2007 Art Tirrell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: alltimefavorites
UNUSUAL SUBJECT HITS HARD

Epilepsy has rarely been examined in fiction.
In How Even Broke his Head and Other Stories, Garth Stein puts an end to the silence.

With cool and measured precision, he introduces us to Evan Wallace, epileptic, and then forces us to watch Evan's ever-so-slow drift toward the inevitable seizure. Along the way, somehow, we find ourselves hoping Evan's efforts to ward it off, control his grip on consciousness, will succeed because at stake is the love of his son - a son he'...more
Stacy
The city of Seattle is a great back-drop to the story. Hip music scene. Very well written.

I appreciate how Evan was finally faced with things that both thrilled and scared him...and how those were catalysts for his transformation into an adulthood of responsibility and accountability.

I like that this is a story about a man's new relationship with his son. It's rocky and nobody's perfect.

Mica seems too good to be true, although the author covered that a bit with an explanation of her desperatio...more
Lisa
It started off slow and ended with my least favorite types of endings: the vague one. The middle was filled with characters making bad decisions that made me want to shout into the book... and you're thinking this is a bad review, aren't you?

Actually I enjoyed the book quite a lot. After the slow beginning I really got interested in the characters and although I wanted to throttle Evan's son Dean and scream at Evan at times, I also couldn't stop reading and always wanted to know more about what...more
Penny
I picked up this book because I read 'The Art of Racing in the Rain', which I absolutely loved. I was amazed at how quickly I went through this book....there is something about the the main character, Evan Wallace; Garth brings him to life. Garth Stein is on my 'must read' list of anything that he has written or will write in the future. Great read.
Lisa
This book was so engaging, I was up til 3:30 this morning finishing it. I simply could not put it down. A compelling story, extremely well written, true dialog, amusing, and it made me cry. The whole package. Read it!
Kelly
I initially got this book because it is set in Seattle and was really quite entertained from beginning to end. It's so fun to read a book and actually live where the characters move through the story.
Kris Gill
This is a story about what it takes to become a father, building trust, and taking chances with people by telling them the truth. Garth Stein is a wonderful writer. I highly recommend all of his books!
Sara Diane
I am ever so glad my friend David told me to read one of Stein's books a few years ago, because Stein is one of those rare writers that just gets life in this lovely way that few people do.

This is a coming of age story, but it's not about a teenager (Evan is 31). It's a story about relationships, about memory, and about how we can't convince ourselves of things that may or may not have happened. It's about growing and learning and discovering what you want out of life.

Mr. Stein, please write mo...more
Larry Strattner
You're going to like this one a little less than Art of Racing in the Rain but if you liked one you may like the other just fine.

How Evan Broke..... is a more frustrating trip because, A. the narrator is not a lovable dog and B. as with all frustrating scenarios, they play out with you yelling to no one who's listening, "No don't do that, say that, go that way!" It's like watching one of those horror films where the idiot character is doing something stupid you can see will end badly, but they p...more
Stephen Gallup
I need more stars to rate this one fairly. Based on the way I've sometimes handed them out in the past, five isn't enough.

I enjoyed it so much, and was so moved by the conclusion, that I turned back to the beginning and am now reading it a second time, just to admire the way it's put together. I now see, for example, that chapter one works like the overture of a musical, in that it prefigures the shape of the overall narrative. I see the first appearances of what will be recurring themes and pat...more
Kristin Tomany
This was a great book: I read it in two days and it has sealed my love of Garth Stein (I read "The Art of Racing in the Rain" last year). That said, this is definitely a "less polished" or less mature work than "Racing" - there were some places he could have gone that he didn't and the book wrapped up quickly, and while I felt and appreciated where he was going, I wish he had gone ahead and taken us there. But, by all means, read the book - its another great story of fatherhood and well worth a...more
Monte
Stein is clearly aiming for Nick Hornby territory in this novel about thirtysomething musician Evan, who is suddenly required to parent Dean, the teenage son he's never even met, when Dean's mom is killed in an accident. Evan, who suffers from epilepsy, is the lead guitar player in a promising Seattle rock band. As he struggles to integrate his son into his routine, he must also wrestle with unresolved issues, including his fractious relationship with his parents and with his straight-arrrow bro...more
Jim
compelling characters, you wanted things to work out for Evan... but, well, you'll have to figure it out for yourself by reading; who could expect to have to come to terms with being a Dad of a 14 year old, when it was thrust upon him at the funeral of the boy's mom!??! That doesn't sound a bit contrived, does it? So, although Evan's son Dean, is stuck in a rough spot... aren't we all -- there were times the sequence of events seemed forced and you almost lose interest, but you really want to se...more
Jenny
This book is comfortably written and although it is male character-centric and voiced, it's enjoyable and relatable for women as well. Garth Stein has a way of injecting the greatest humor without it being noticeable. For a simple description of a multi-function machine, for example, he threw in that it was a copier, fax machine, printer and waffle maker. I had to read the sentence over and over to realize that that was a genius joke...but I assume and am hopeful that other readers will be quick...more
Dana
I like Stein's writing style, and his grounding of his stories in the Pacific Northwest. (In both books of his that I've read, however, there are plot points that confound me or don't ring true for me.)
Evan is an adult who's still a teenager in a lot of ways. He has epilepsy, which is a huge secret he keeps from nearly everyone in his life. (With sometimes predictable consequences.) He is getting to know his 14-year old son for the first time, following the boy's mother's death. Evan's story inc...more
Jen
Sep 08, 2009 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jen by: Julie
Too many loose ends. He tried to clear them up, but it was done inartfully and felt very rushed.

Also, it wasn't written (or edited) very well. There were a lot of changes between first person and third person telling, sometimes right in the middle of a paragraph which was very distracting.

The story itself was new, creative and interesting. I just think it could have been done better. It was a fine read, and I'm not disappointed in reading it, but I think Stein hadn't really hit his stride yet w...more
Nick Iuppa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
Evan attends the funeral of his high school girlfriend, Tracy, who was killed in an automobile accident. They dated for a while, Tracy had gotten pregnant, and Evan was under the impression that she had an abortion and moved away to college. Fast forward 14 years, and Evan discovers that Tracy had a son (Evan's), and Dean has been living in Yakima, unbeknownst to Evan. Evan has not been anticipating being a father. He is a rock musician in a somewhat successful Seattle band, works in a guitar sh...more
Carol Moore
How Evan Broke His Head ** Garth Stein
This book started out just fine. Then it turned into a melodrama.

Evan’s internal dialog reminds me TV Dexter. Dexter never knows for sure what he wants, so he has a lot of internal dialog that “goes this way & that way”. Moody, broody. Evan also reminds me of Youtube’s “Henri the Cat” with his internal, “Noire” dialog. Henri, the cat thinks, “Only I understand this torment.”
Evan is a cross between Henri the Cat & Dexter, the guy who tries to appe...more
Mary Lou
How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets by Garth Stein is about the difference between perception and reality, and how an individual’s perspective shapes his life. The story line slightly diminishes the resonance of the theme, but the novel is thought provoking and worth reading.

Evan Wallace is a thirty-one year old Seattle guitarist with epilepsy who keeps his disease a secret from everyone outside his family. Even his best friend Lars doesn’t know that Evan smokes marijuana to prevent episod...more
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194531
Garth Stein is the author of three novels: The Art of Racing in the Rain (Harper, 2008); How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Soho Press, 2005), which won a 2006 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, and was a Book Sense Pick in both hardcover and paperback; and Raven Stole the Moon (Pocket, 1998). He has also written a full-length play, Brother Jones, which received its firs...more
More about Garth Stein...
The Art of Racing in the Rain Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog Raven Stole the Moon A Sudden Light Racing in the Rain/Enzo Picture Book #1

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“And it is clear to Evan, now: the difference between what is and what has been done; the present and the past. He sees that what he does and who he is isn't based on the past unless he wants it to be... No. That is the past, which has been seen differently through many different eyes and has become hazy and unclear, like a pond when stirred with a stick. Only the present moment is clear and free from prejudice.” 7 likes
“Dad, Mom, Brother. You haven't failed me. But you have all grown up. You have all grown old. And I'm still the same. I'm still fourteen-years-old. And I'm just now waking up.” 0 likes
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