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The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

by Jonathan Evison

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5276133,343 (3.79)52
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.
  1. 10
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (ReluctantTechie)
    ReluctantTechie: Both books deal with long-term issues of grief and the protagonists both come to closure following a journey. The situations presented are unusual but the human emotions ring true.
  2. 11
    This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both feature main characters that don't have a lot left to lose.
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» See also 52 mentions

English (61)  French (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
The narrator's attitude towards women was so unpleasant that I actually couldn't read any more - the final straw was commenting that a woman who was wearing leggings needed a Brazilian!
  AHouseOfBooks | Oct 28, 2020 |
The trick of this novel is the fitting together of people who don't fit at all. The characters are all pretty much totally unlikable on paper. The author finds the totally likeableness of each. It is all improbable and really charming. The occasional reference to the area I live in was also fun and nice. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
"I'll never stop caring. But the thing about caring is, it's inconvenient. Sometimes you've got to give when it makes no sense to at all. Sometimes you've got to give until it hurts."

Benjamin Benjamin (Ben) hasn't worked for a number of years and is broke so decides to retrain to become a caregiver. His first client is Trev, a 19 year old Duchene Muscular Dystrophy sufferer who is sarcastic, stubborn, angry and scared. The first rule of caregiving is 'don't get emotionally involved' however, Ben gradually tries to encourage Trev to live a little. Eventually Trev agrees to embark on a road trip.

Trev isn't the only one who needs a change of scenery. Ben has recently suffered a devastating loss and is probably suffering from PTSD. He is also being harassed by his wife to agree to a divorce. The story is told in short chapters alternating between flashbacks and the present and the road trip will cover five states, two arrests, one birth and four of America's strangest landmarks.

I'm keeping the plot hints to a minimum because I want you to feel the same impact that I did. The story is bursting with energy. There are moments of sadness but also of unexpected laughter when you least expect it. The book deals with loss, regrets and moving on. There are the thought provoking insights into the battle with a life-limiting disability fought by the sufferer and anyone else that loves them and whilst the details of the accident which devastated Ben's life has been hinted at for quite a while when it arrives it is nonetheless moving. Similarly the ending feels satisfying and apt.

This could have been a simple 'unlikely buddies' road trip story but perhaps the author's real skill is that he has given Trev a real personality. Trev is not a cripple to be pitied, he is a real person with real shortcomings and strengths of his own. This road trip will break all the supposed rules but will transform two lonely, broken men into friends and between them will create a family of their own formed with misfits that they meet along the way.

If I had one slight complaint is that for me it took too long for the road trip to actually get under way. There are similarities to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but I would recommend it all the same. ( )
  PilgrimJess | May 7, 2020 |
This is a tremendous book. The author has managed to layer a heartwarming, witty, at time funny and poignant story on top of tragic premise.

( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 26, 2019 |
This wasn't for me. I didn't like the disjointed circularity of the narrative nor the heavy-handed foreshadowing nor the cast of bumbling characters. I ended up skimming the second half just to hit the major plot points for resolution. ( )
  NML_dc | Aug 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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For Case, a genius and an inspiration...
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I was broke when duty called me to minister to those less fortunate than myself, so maybe I'm no Florence Nightingale.
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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.

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