Dear Evan Hansen
By Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul
Published October 9, 2018 by Poppy/Little, Brown
I went into Dear Evan Hansen not knowing much about it. I’d heard of the hit Broadway musical, and the book sounded interesting, so I picked it up. I found the book very gripping at first, and I was quickly sucked into the story. But about halfway through, I began to feel very uncomfortable.
The premise is an intriguing one: Evan Hansen, a teen suffering from severe anxiety, gets involved with the family of a dead classmate after a (tragi-) comedy of errors leads the family to think he was their trouble late son’s secret best friend. He gets sucked into their lives and then doesn’t want to leave. He becomes a more confident person and sheds his anxiety. But everything he’s doing is a lie, and I just couldn’t get past that.
It’s a mistake that causes the Murphy family to think Evan was their son’s secret friend, but after that, Evan works hard to maintain the lie. He fakes emails, spins elaborate stories about the dead kid, and worms his way into the family’s lives, all the while telling himself he’s helping them. There were so many points at which he could have told the truth or backed away, but he doesn’t and it made me really dislike his character.
I thought the book was pretty well written, but since the whole premise really bothered me, I think this book just wasn’t for me. The concept probably works very differently on stage and maybe the issues I have with the book wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
I received an ARC from Amazon Vine.