Dear Evan Hansen – Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
If you’re a fan of musicals like I am, you’ll know all about Dear Evan Hansen. Being based in the UK, I am desperately waiting for the show to come to the West End so I can finally see all the songs I love in context! Thankfully, I was sent a copy of the novelisation to tide me over until then!
If you are someone who likes going into stuff with no ideas whatsoever, come back to this after you’ve seen the show, like for real, don’t even look at the blurb if you don’t want to know what the story is about. You have been warned!
From the show’s creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the Broadway smash hit Dear Evan Hansen. Dear Evan Hansen, Today’s going to be an amazing day and here’s why…When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore–even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be? No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.
If you’re still with me, I’m guessing you’re already a Deat Evan Hansen fan or someone who likes knowing what they’re getting into (seriously, I sat next to a woman at Book of Mormon who didn’t realise it was a satirical look at religion. It was brutal.) I only had a brief understanding of what this story was abut – I had the soundtrack to go by – but now having read this, I want to see the show even more!
This story is a wonderful exploration of mental health issues among young men. Evan Hansen has an anxiety disorder, Connor Murphy, who narrates his own parts of the story, is lost and alone and has a debatable substance abuse problem. It explores how even the seemingly happiest families have issues and it takes a hard look at social media and how things can snowball.
Having read this and gotten a deeper insight into Evan’s character and Connor’s thoughts I am so excited to see the show. This novel will make the whole thing a much richer and more immersive experience. The novelisation is a wonderful addition to the story of Evan Hansen but even if you’re not interested in musical theatre or seeing the show, you’ll still enjoy it – it works just as well as a standalone story. It is well written and is heart breaking as well as charming.
If you’ve been here before you’ll know I like to give trigger warnings (I’d hate to recommend something that upsets anyone) while you might not think the promo posters for Dear Evan Hansen looks like something that would need trigger warnings, this does deal with themes of suicide and self harm so bear that in mind if those topics are difficult for you.
My final thoughts are that this is great, I’m even more excited to fight for tickets when it finally comes to the West End and I’m off to listen to the original cast recording now!