Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is Jonathan Evison's poignant and funny novel about grief and atonement. It's told in the voice of Benjamin Benjamin, a caregiver for Trev, a young man with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Ben sort of fell into the job. "I was broke when duty called me to minister to those less fortunate than myself, so maybe I'm no Florence Nightingale." "But don't get the idea that just anyone can be a caregiver. It takes patience, fortitude, a background check. Not to mention licensing and a mandatory curriculum of continuing education" which includes "dozens of helpful mnemonics to help facilitate effective caregiving." "To wit:

Ask again"

Ben and Trev have crude conversations about women along the lines of "Would you tap that?" and "Should I ask her out for a pizza and a bang?" They are believable characters, flawed and yet endearing. It isn't hard to see past their macho bravado to the tender hearts within.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving surprised me with its tenderness. The chapters are short and its a quick, rewarding read.

Readalikes: An Abundance of Katherines (John Green) and, especially if you don't mind a big dollop of romance, Me Before You (Jojo Moyes). A movie with a similar feel is Little Miss Sunshine.

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