- This one caught my eye from the few reviews I’d seen.
Summary from GoodReads:
Benjamin Benjamin has lost virtually everything-his wife, his family, his home, his livelihood. With few options, Ben enrolls in a night class called The Fundamentals of Caregiving in the basement of a local church. There Ben is instructed in the art of inserting catheters and avoiding liability, about professionalism, and how to keep physical and emotional distance between client and provider.
But when Ben is assigned to tyrannical nineteen-year-old Trev, in the advanced stages of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, he soon discovers that the endless mnemonics and service plan checklists have done little to prepare him for the reality of caring for a fiercely stubborn, sexually frustrated adolescent with an ax to grind with the world at large.
Though begun with mutual misgivings, the relationship between Trev and Ben evolves into a close camaraderie and the traditional boundaries between patient and caregiver begin to blur as they embark on a road trip across the American West to visit Trev’s ailing father. A series of must-see roadside attractions sidetrack them into an adventure highlighted by one birth, two arrests, a freakish dust storm, and a six-hundred-mile cat-and-mouse pursuit by a mysterious brown Buick Skylark.
With The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving I was treated to a somewhat snarky, somewhat endearing, and fully heart-breaking story as I followed Benjamin Benjamin (yes, you read that right) through the passage of healing from a terrible tragedy.
Benjamin’s life is pretty much in shambles, and now he has completed his training to take care of folks in need in their homes – and as a result fortune favors him with a young man with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Their meeting was fortuitous … for both.
With enough humor to take what would have otherwise been a dismal story, Jonathan Evison weaves the story of Benjamin’s present and past into a story that had me flipping pages quickly. There was crude humor (but really hilarious stuff) and enough touching moments that I actually said “aww” out loud and had to catch my breath before I started to cry.
Evison gives us a full cast of characters, ranging from the teenage runaway, to the ex-wife, to the strange neighbor lady and her pets. There’s high speed chases, road-trips, family bonding, and accidents that will make your heart seize up as you consider the implications of it all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it’s not often I recommend a book by a male author for one of those beachy, summer reads but I think that The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is easily one of those books I can recommend for just that.
Don’t just take my word for it! Check out what these bloggers say!
- The publisher provided this review copy via NetGalley.
- Published by: Alonquin Books of Chapel Hill
- Release Date: 8/28/2012