The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
3 journalers for this copy...
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.
Bursting with energy, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is a big-hearted, soulful, and inspired novel that ponders life's terrible surprises and the heart's uncanny capacity to mend and become whole again."
Acquired through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. (Unabridged on 8 CD's; read by Jeff Woodman)
Ben Benjamin (yes, that's his name) is an early middle-aged man who's having a rough time. He's barely getting by after his wife leaves him, he loses his children, and he doesn't have a steady income. He takes a job as a home caregiver for 19-year-old Trev, who has muscular dystrophy, not necessarily because he feels a strong urge to, but because it is a job, albeit a low-paying one.
You get the feeling that this is going to be a feel-good book. In some respects it is, sort of. But not really. The hard truth is that muscular dystrophy is a fatal disease. And Ben, though a likeable enough guy, just keeps becoming a victim to various heartaches. There are several different themes going on in this story. The one that keeps the reader really going is the alluded catastrophe that had previously occurred regarding Ben's children. We know something bad happened, but we're not sure about the exact details until they're gradually unfolded throughout the story via flashbacks. Though sad & horrific, it helps the reader understand what Ben's going through in his attempt to move on, or as is often the case, not want to move on.
The beauty of this book is Evison's ability to combine humor with heartache. There are sad aspects, yes. But there are other moments that are downright funny, with a variable cast of characters. I liked this book a lot. But as I stated up above, the title and cover aren't something that would typically attract my attention on the bookshelf. In other words, don't judge the book by its cover in this case. Read the book based on its good reviews.
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