The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

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For the first hundred pages, not much happens...trotting out his Urban Dictionary-level expertise about increasingly absurd sex acts....
-NPR

Synopsis

In The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (releasing June 24, 2016 as a Netflix Original Film titled The Fundamentals of Caring, starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez), Jonathan Evison, author of the new novel This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! and the New York Times bestseller West of Here, has crafted a novel of the heart, a story of unlikely heroes in a grand American landscape.

For Ben Benjamin, all has been lost--his wife, his family, his home, his livelihood. Hoping to find a new direction, he enrolls in a night class called The Fundamentals of Caregiving, where he will learn to take care of people with disabilities. He is instructed about professionalism, about how to keep an emotional distance between client and provider, and about the art of inserting catheters while avoiding liability. But when Ben is assigned his first client--a tyrannical nineteen-year-old boy named Trevor, who is in the advanced stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy--he soon discovers that the endless service checklists have done nothing to prepare him for the reality of caring for a fiercely stubborn, sexually frustrated teenager who has an ax to grind with the whole world.

Over time, the relationship between Ben and Trev, which had begun with mutual misgivings, evolves into a close friendship, and the traditional boundaries between patient and caregiver begin to blur. The bond between them strengthens as they embark on a road trip to visit Trev’s ailing father--a journey rerouted by a series of bizarre roadside attractions that propel them into an impulsive adventure disrupted by one birth, two arrests, a freakish dust storm, and a six-hundred-mile cat-and-mouse pursuit by a mysterious brown Buick Skylark. By the end of that journey, Trev has had his first taste of love, and Ben has found a new reason to love life.

Bursting with energy and filled with moments of absolute beauty, this big-hearted and inspired novel ponders life’s terrible surprises as well as what it takes to truly care for another human being.

 

About Jonathan Evison

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Jonathan Evison lives on an island on the coast of Washington State. His first novel, All About Lulu, won the Washington State Book Award. This is his third novel.
 
Published May 7, 2013 by Algonquin Books. 287 pages
Genres: Romance, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Gilmore on Sep 07 2012

The lyrical aspects of this novel might get lost in the mayhem, but a sense of place anchors the story, connecting it to Evison’s previous, best-selling book, “West of Here.”

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Aug 27 2012

Even the book’s potentially cute detours...turn out to have real resonance.

Read Full Review of The Revised Fundamentals of C... | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Jennifer Weiner on Aug 28 2012

For the first hundred pages, not much happens...trotting out his Urban Dictionary-level expertise about increasingly absurd sex acts....

Read Full Review of The Revised Fundamentals of C... | See more reviews from NPR

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