Monday, August 27, 2012

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving; Jonathan Evison

Author:  Jonathan Evison
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Algonquin
Edition: eGalley
Setting: Wyoming and...
Date Completed: August/2012
Rating: 4.5/5
Recommend: yes

Thirty-nine year old Ben Benjamin was a husband, a father and a stay-at-home dad, before "the disaster" that took the lives of his two young children. Now estranged from his wife, he is unqualified for most jobs, and hasn't even interviewed for a job in eleven years around the time his daughter Piper was born. A broken man, Ben feels like he has very few options when it comes to jobs, so he decides to register for a twenty-eight-hour program called, "The Fundamentals of Caregiving."

His first job assignment is to care for a nineteen year old young man named Trevor who has Muscular Dystrophy, and their beginnings with one another are rocky to say the least. Trevor is mostly paralyzed and angry with the world about how his life has turned out.  His father left him and his mother shortly after he was diagnosed with MD. As a result, Ben quickly realizes that there are certain things that happen in caregiving that you just can't learn about in a short program like the one he attended.

Before long Ben and Trevor do find a rhythm that works for them.  The two even embark on a road trip with Trevor's wheelchair van to visit Trevor's sick father, the man who left him when he was very young. Wackiness ensues and the quirky people they meet along the way makes for some colorful and entertaining reading. The road trip is an uplifting experience which allows both Ben and Trevor to make peace with what has happened to them and begin to accept and heal. 

This novel is worth reading, in my opinion. Sometimes I find reading about emotionally damaged characters to be extremely difficult, but when humor is infused which was the case with this novel, the experience can be ultimately uplifting.   I was surprised to learn that the author was inspired to write this novel, at least in part, by a tragic situation involving his sister some thirty-nine years earlier when she was just sixteen years old.


  1. I do enjoy books like this even when they leave me feeling sad. It sounds like this book is full of emotion - I'm glad to know the author uses humor to lighten things up.

  2. I have been interested in this book since seeing it on a few blogs for the past two weeks. It seems like it would be a really great read for those looking for something a little emotional, but also healing as well. Great review today!

  3. I was just listening to a local bookseller review this book on our local NPR station yesterday morning. I guess two mentions in two days means I need to read this one.

  4. I'm quite intrigued by this one. I picked up a galley at ALA after reading the first page, but I haven't made time to actually read it yet.

  5. I keep getting drawn to this book and your review is making me think it is one I need to read.

  6. This sounds so different that it's tempting.


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