The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

A Novel

Evison, Jonathan

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
After losing virtually everything meaningful in his life, Benjamin trains to be a caregiver, but his first client, a fiercely independent teen with muscular dystrophy, gives him more than he bargained for and soon the two embark on a road trip to visit the boy's ailing father.

Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 1616200391
Characteristics: 278 p. ;,24 cm.


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Oct 16, 2014

The main character is an irresponsible, immature, infantile, whining jerk. I got so sick of his lack of integrity I gave up half way through. He was so obnoxious, tedious I wanted to wretch. Can't possibly believe anyone can put up with his inability to move on and grow up to be bothered finishing the book. Waste of time; give it a miss.

Dec 12, 2013
  • JCLHelenH rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I don't know if Confucious really said "Helping Others is the Best Way to Help Yourself", but it was the beginning for Ben. The thing I loved most about this book is that, as damaged as Ben is, he leaves each and every person he meets a little better off than he found them.

Dec 09, 2013
  • falconroom rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Despite the character's pathos & sympathetic troubles, I just really didn't start caring for the characters until the second half of the book, when the heretofore much-lauded (and quite rewarding) road-trip takes off. After that, even though the cast of characters grows exponentially, it really takes off & becomes something of an odd cross between National Lampoon's Vacation, Rainman & Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. At times hilarious, poignant,bittersweet & even just plain sweet. It can surprise you & even bring you to a few tears as this unlikely cast of characters each find what they really need fromlove to forgiveness,

Jul 31, 2013
  • rosenyny rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is a good summer read. A little over the top in some ways but the story moves right along and is easy to become engaged with the majority of the characters.

Jun 10, 2013
  • SmartRhona rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Terrific read and a very thought provoking book making you think about real life issues.

Jan 23, 2013
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A very good read. I enjoyed this book. I would recommend this book for all to read.

Dec 17, 2012
  • Michael Colford rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I haven't read Jonathan Evison's much-lauded, best-seling previous novel WEST OF HERE yet, but it sounds intriguing, and after reading his follow-up, THE REVISED FUNDAMENTALS OF CAREGIVING, I'm eager to check it out. His latest effort, by the author's own admission, is a more straight-forward narrative, in some ways literally as it's a road novel. Or at least, partially a road novel. The second half takes to the road in the Pacific Northwest. The whole book is a journey for main character Benjamin Benjamin, a man who has suffered a life-crippling emotional blow and really needs the definition of a road, a destination, a quest, even, to keep him on track. The only job Benjamin is able to keep, is as a caretaker to Trev, suffering from debilitating Muscular Dystrophy, and estranged from his father. When Benjamin offers to drive Trev from Washington State to Salt Lake City so Trev can visit his Dad, could the real reason be avoiding his wife's desperate effort to get him to sign divorce papers? Could be. Along the way, Ben rediscovers what it means to really care... how painful and rewarding that can be. Heartfelt and honest, THE REVISED FUNDAMENTALS OF CAREGIVING is about second chances... and who doesn't love those.

Nov 21, 2012
  • Wolfespearl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was one of the best "road trip" books I've read in awhile. Evison has a wonderful sense of humour and he uses it skillfully to balance out the story of lives that have had some serious challenges and tragedy to deal with. The journey of self-discovery for the main character is brilliant. The supporting characters were the perfect balance. This story didn't just amuse or entertain, it touched me and caused me to think and consider. It had all the best that make "road trip" stories such a favourite for me.

Oct 15, 2012

Though you don't learn the details right up front, Benjamin Benjamin has lost everything that he values in life when, nearly penniless, he signs up for a caregiving class. Once licensed, his first client is Trevor Conklin, a wheelchair-bound, frank, and horny 19-year-old with muscular dystrophy who wants nothing to do with his father's tentative efforts to re-establish contact after years of estrangement. But among their other activities (watching movies, buying shoes, ogling women at the mall), Ben and Trevor construct a map of odd Americana - and when Ben decides to take Trevor on a roadtrip, it's that map they follow cross-country, with the end destination being Trevor's father. Humourous, sympathetic, and poignant, this novel is sure to charm.

From October 2012 Next Reads newsletter


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Sep 06, 2012

From Book Group Buzz blog, post by Misha Stone:
Jonathan Evison, author of All About Lulu and West of Here, has a new novel out, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, and it is fantastic. It is a novel full of wit, heartache and redemption. Benjamin Benjamin is looking at 40 with few job prospects, a broken marriage and losses that would rip the average human being apart. Benjamin takes a job as a caretaker for Trev, a teenager with muscular dystrophy. Benjamin and Trev trade jocular banter as Benjamin shadowboxes with his past. A roadtrip occurs between these two unlikely partners, a journey that changes them both and helps them move forward.

It’s always hard to sum up a book you enjoyed and while comparisons never do a book justice, sometimes they can enlighten someone else to reasons why they should give it a try. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving made me think of why I loved the film “Rushmore”–it looks like a silly caper of a movie until you see where its secret and deeply sad heart is buried. Evison’s new novel also made me think of writers like Jess Walter and Jonathan Tropper, two authors that also balance comedy and tragedy on a knife edge. I also loved this book because it captures my childhood stomping grounds–the grungy around the edges Kitsap County towns where people still play darts and smoke dope at parties with strangers and a lonely man can turn himself around despite the odds.


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