How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets by Garth Stein is the story of Evan, a man in his early thirties who has never had to grow up. Ten years ago, Evan had a one hit wonder with his band. These days, Evan still plays his guitar with his new band, and works casually in a music shop.
The story begins when Evan attends the funeral of his high school girlfriend, who died in a car crash. After the funeral, Evan meets his 14 year old son Dean for the first time since Dean was a baby. When Dean’s grandfather attempts to beat Dean in an inexplicable burst of anger, Evan takes off with his son.
Evan and Dean start to get to know each other, although Evan keeps the fact that he has epilepsy a secret from Dean.
As the story evolves, Evan meets Mica, a highly successful musical engineer. She becomes Evan’s girlfriend after engineering a recording session for his band.
Evan’s not a bad bloke, although he has never committed to anyone or anything. He took no responsibility for his son until the situation forced him to, even though he is in his thirties he goes out of his way to annoy his parents and he blames his younger brother for the accident which caused his epilepsy.
The developing relationship between Evan and Dean is often rocky and Evan finds being a parent to be difficult. The story is told almost entirely from Evan’s point of view, so when other characters contradict what Evan believes, it can come as a shock, to him and to the reader.
I enjoyed this story, (raced through it actually), and was pleased that all of the characters grow and learn as the story develops, which was satisfying. The only character I really struggled with was Mica. She really had her act together, which made it difficult to understand why she fell in love with Evan. The author provides an explanation for Mica’s choice later in the story, but I still struggled with believing it.
How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets is an entertaining story, although it would probably make a better movie than a book. I would go and see it. The soundtrack would probably be great too.