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152 Reviews
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76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't hesitate. Read it.
I was a little hesitant about this book. It sounded compelling, but the reviews made it sound a little scattered- it's about a guy, and his kid and a band and epilepsy...and, and. But it's not like that at all. It's a peek into someone's very complicated life. Sure, it's about a guy and this kid and a band and epilepsy-- but Stein writes in a way that makes us care and...
Published on July 5, 2005 by Mindy M.

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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit unbelievable...
I bought this book because I absolutely fell in love with The Art of Racing in the Rain. 'Racing' was one of the best books I have read in a long time. Perhaps I had too high of hopes for this book, because I ended up quite disappointed.
I found that much of the book was unbelievable, and not in a good way. Without ruining the book for those who wish to read it; you...
Published on November 29, 2008 by J. Beyer


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76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't hesitate. Read it., July 5, 2005
By 
I was a little hesitant about this book. It sounded compelling, but the reviews made it sound a little scattered- it's about a guy, and his kid and a band and epilepsy...and, and. But it's not like that at all. It's a peek into someone's very complicated life. Sure, it's about a guy and this kid and a band and epilepsy-- but Stein writes in a way that makes us care and feel involved without manipulating our emotions.

It seemed so real. The characters in EVAN have conversations that don't go quite right. They suffer from jumbled and conflicting memories. Evan is cool, he's a hot guitarist, but that doesn't mean he can help behaving like a dweeb now and then.

What I liked the most was how Stein didn't let Evan get too caught up in his own pity party. His life became difficult and he had reason to wallow now and then, but Stein didn't baby him. He made it clear that Evan wasn't the only guy in the world with problems, that once Evan looked up and out of his insular bubble of emotions, he would be slapped with the reality that the world ain't always about YOU. If you ask me, that is what this book is really about.

I was concerned that this book might be an agonizing excersize in self realization. Instead, it was an enjoyable peek into a life very dissimilar to my own. Like Nick Hornby's books, it was a thoughtful and enjoyable journey. And isn't that what fiction is all about?

Don't hesitate. Read it!
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit unbelievable..., November 29, 2008
This review is from: How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Paperback)
I bought this book because I absolutely fell in love with The Art of Racing in the Rain. 'Racing' was one of the best books I have read in a long time. Perhaps I had too high of hopes for this book, because I ended up quite disappointed.
I found that much of the book was unbelievable, and not in a good way. Without ruining the book for those who wish to read it; you find out right away that Evan, the main character has a 14 year old son he has never spoken to. The day he meets his son the grandmother runs out and tells Evan to take the child for a few days because her husband is abusive. To me this is very strange...granted it is fiction, but it is a bit too far fetched for me. There are other instances in the book where conversations are had that are just too strange for me to ignore. They just don't seem to fit.
That being said, I think that Stein did a good job of showing how an epileptic may feel afraid of people knowing about their condition. To me, the book was just okay; it isn't something I would recommend nor something I would read again.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love to read, you need this book, March 12, 2005
This is a book for people who love to read. You'll want to buy several copies-one to keep, others to give to friends. It's original, beautifully written, and deals with complicated subject matter that doesn't easily transcend to literature. The prose is flawless, the imagery gripping, and yet it's still a very human story that will stay with you long after you read the last page.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the Truth, October 23, 2008
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This review is from: How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Paperback)
I read this earlier novel after finishing Garth Stein's" The Art of Racing in the Rain." I find the two novels to be very different yet still sharing wonderful similarities. Two character-driven tales conceived and penned by the same sensitive hand.

"How Evan Broke his Head and other secrets" is the story of Evan Wallace, 31-years old, a brilliant rock guitarist and musician living alone in his late grandfather's small apartment (with a terrific view). Evan is the son of a prominent Seattle heart surgeon and his obedient wife, and is the older brother to Charlie, a seemingly over-achieving attorney on the partner track. Evan is damaged - he has suffered from epilepsy since age 12 when, on a dare, he ran in front of a car, was struck and nearly killed. Evan's epilepsy -- its cause and its symptoms -- is a major aspect of Evan's character. I am very affected by its full burden here and the steady courage Mr. Stein has discovered in Evan, the hero of this story.

In this novel, Evan discovers friends, family, love and opportunity hovering just out of reach. He finds a 14 year old son lost to him shortly after birth and chooses to embrace and care about the absent boy. He finds a woman who sees his worth and confronts him with it. Great responsibilities accompany parenthood; fear and confusion precede commitment; forgiveness accompanies a life that is not solitary. Evan faces his terrible secrets and must choose to understand and reveal them lest he leave them only half-buried. As in The Art of Racing in the Rain, Mr. Stein's prose is dialogue-driven, visual. I find his writing completely engaging and satisfying.

To quote the wise philosopher Enzo (from The Art of Racing in the Rain): "understanding the truth is simple; allowing oneself to experience it can sometimes be terrifically difficult."

All in all, a very cool book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating characters, March 14, 2005
Once again, Garth Stein delves deep into the psyches of fascinating characters. Evan's epilepsy and the effect it has on his life and creativity is beautifully observed and artfully related. And, although his relationship to his new-found teenage son is unique, every parent will recognize the struggle to bring up children, while remaining a person in their own right.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising, May 1, 2007
By 
L. Haverstock (Harstine Island, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The story about a young man dealing with becoming a father was good, but what blew me away was the incredible depiction of the life of a person with a minimal handicap. His epilepsy doesn't show immediately to others, but it haunts every moment of his life. He has completely educated himself to limit the disease as much as it can be limited and if he is control of his life he controls the disease. But none of us can control our lives and the conflict of this book seems to be, can he be heroic enough to risk imbalance and save his son? Can he take the steps to make others in his life recognize that he can handle the handicap and run his own life? I thought there were a couple of other issues - people testing your love by pulling away and how we manipulate our life stories to fit the truths we can handle about ourselves that resonated with truth. There seemed to be a great honesty in this book and I was deeply impressed.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Evan finally grows up, April 26, 2006
By 
J. Fercho (Calgary, AB. Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Imagine meeting your teenage son for the first time at the funeral of his mother who happened to be your highschool girlfriend. That's where our story begins and for the most part this novel is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Evan is a bit of a "lost soul". A thirtysomething guy whose world revolves around his hope to recreate his one-time success as a lead guitarist in a rock band. Evan also happens to be an epileptic and his life is constantly controlled by the inevitable "next seizure". The fact that Evan has now become an instant father to a grief struck teenager is definatly not in his long-term plan.

The author nails the characters of Evan and his son Dean perfectly. I was totally convinced by Evan's frustrations and Dean's adolescence angst. My only criticism would be that some of the secondary characters, especially Evan's "girlfriend" Mica just didn't work for me. Her words and actions seemed frankly laughable given that she and Evan had only just begun a relationship...the two of them together often felt strange and forced. That issue aside, this is an enjoyable novel about finding oneself in some unlikely ways. Check it out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I expected, August 19, 2013
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The other novel I read by this author was excellent. This one frankly was not that interesting. It seemed to bog down and eventually I stopped reading. It was very slow going and the story appeared to be lost in a side adventure unrelated to the synopsis of the story here in Amazon. If you love this author, I would say give it a try by getting a sued copy or through a library for free if it is available.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could have just been a redemption tale -- but is so much more, August 9, 2005
31 year old slacker's estranged 14 year old son moves in with him -- could be the set up for a bad sitcom, but instead the scenario sets the stage for a sincere, emotional study of fatherhood. Stein does a great job of interlacing the Seattle music scene (plenty knowing nods for those who get the references) with the stumbling blocks of fatherhood and of a man reconciling his own issues with epilepsy, family, responsibility, and blame. Added bonus: Stein is funny as hell when he wants to be. The humor, however, doesn't distract from the genuine process of Evan and Dean learning how to be together. The author skips the easy sitcom answers and goes for the gold with this one. I loved it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd like Evan for a neighbor!, September 6, 2010
By 
This review is from: How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Paperback)
You suffer a grievous injury as a boy, leading to a lifetime of epileptic seizures. You follow your dream to be a rock star, with mixed results. You find a wonderful woman who shares your passion for life. And you find out, for the first time and quite suddenly, that you are the father of a 14 year old boy whose mother has just died in a car accident.

Life is hard. And it just got harder.

In Garth Stein's (author of The Art of Racing in the Rain) newest novel, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, you follow Evan and his thought processes over a period of weeks post fatherhood (starting when he finds out that he is, indeed, the father of Dean). Stein gives the reader just enough flashbacks to flesh out the story. Evan is very excited about fatherhood, but Dean's not sure whether he wants Evan in his life, especially if it affects Dean's memories of his mother.

Does Dean trigger even worse episodes of epilepsy for Evan? Does everyone have secrets: Evan, Dean, and others? Is Evan's family oblivious to Evan's dreams and aspirations? Can Evan have a "normal" life that includes hiding his epilepsy?

Stein answers all these questions. This edition also has a reading group guide, although I doubt any reading group will need assistance in discussing the issues raised in this story.
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How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets
How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets by Garth Stein (Paperback - May 1, 2008)
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