The Revised Fundamentals of Caregivingby Jonathan Evison, Jeff Woodman (Read by)
Benjamin Benjamin has lost virtually everything—his wife, his family, his home, his livelihood. With few options, Ben enrolls in a night class called The Fundamentals of Caregiving taught in the basement of a local church. There Ben is instructed in the art of inserting catheters and avoiding liability, about professionalism, and how to keep physical and
Benjamin Benjamin has lost virtually everything—his wife, his family, his home, his livelihood. With few options, Ben enrolls in a night class called The Fundamentals of Caregiving taught in the basement of a local church. There Ben is instructed in the art of inserting catheters and avoiding liability, about professionalism, and how to keep physical and emotional distance between client and provider. But when Ben is assigned to nineteen-year-old Trev, who is in the advanced stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, he 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. As they embark on a wild road trip across the American West to visit Trev’s ailing father, a new camaraderie replaces the traditional boundary between patient and caregiver. Bursting with energy, this big-hearted, soulful, and inspired novel ponders life’s terrible surprises and the heart’s uncanny capacity to mend and become whole again.
“Moving and funny, and, my God, how refreshing it is to read a story about someone caring for a disabled person that isn’t gauzed in sentimentality or bitterness. . . . Evison once worked as a personal care attendant himself, and this novel is dedicated to one of his clients. The experience seems to have taught him just what true caregiving is all about, and that insight along with his plaintive sense of humor had me alternately chuckling and wiping my eyes through much of his book.”
The Washington Post
“The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving weaves back and forth in time, propelling toward Ben’s uncertain future as well as reversing into his past. Evison is a steady driver, and both stories are equally compelling.”
The New York Times
“The book manages to be both an entertaining picaresque and a moving story of redemption.”
—The New Yorker
“Narration that will keep listeners engaged until the very end.”
“Woodman shines in his voicing of a dauntingly large and varied cast of characters . . . including a goth girl whose adolescent angst is perfectly nailed by Woodman. Both humorous and poignant, this will please listeners familiar with Evison’s fiction.”
“An inspiring tale on life’s surprises and the heart’s capacity to mend, filled with a perfect blend of humor and sadness.”
“Evison injects some levity . . . blending humor, sharp dialog, and a rich and detailed back-story into a sympathetic, bittersweet novel. . . . A worthy purchase.”
“Woodman skillfully navigates between the humor and sadness of the story and neatly telegraphs Ben and Trev’s complex feelings of resignation mixed with hope for something better. Listeners will be captivated by Woodman’s performance of this wonderful novel about finding one’s way in an unfair world.”
AudioFile [Earphones Award Winner]
“Even-keeled, big-hearted, and very funny, and full of hope. Through Ben, missteps are made, and human foibles are exposed. But we also glimpse that distant shore of hard-earned redemption. For that, Evison’s novel is worth the voyage.”
The Boston Globe
“The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving deals with sorrow and disability and all the things that can go wrong with life. But mostly Evison has given us a salty-sweet story about absorbing those hits and taking a risk to reach beyond them. What a great ride.”
The Seattle Times
“With prose as snappy as a bumper sticker, a pace like a wide-open interstate, and a heart as big as a van, . . . Jonathan Evison rides again.”
Fiction Writers Review
“Evison has the enviable ability to weave together a funny, tragic and very entertaining story.”
- HighBridge Company
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Unabridged; 9.25 hours
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.13(w) x 5.94(h) x 0.88(d)
What People are Saying About This
“The funniest and most tough-minded novel I’ve read in a long time . . . This is his best novel yet.”—Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
“Sly and surprising, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is both a goofy road trip and a mission of atonement. Jonathan Evison has the singular ability to make the heartbreaking seem jaunty.” —Stewart O’Nan, author of The Odds: A Love Story
Meet the Author
Jonathan Evison is the author of four previous novels, including All About Lulu, West of Here, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, and This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! He lives with his wife and family in Washington State.
JEFF WOODMAN originated the title role in Tennessee Williams' "The Notebook of Trigorin" and won the san Francisco Critics' circle Award for his performance in "an Ideal Husband" In addition to numerous Off-Broadway credits, his TV appearances include Law & Order, Sex and the City, and Cosby. His more than 200 audiobook narrations has earned him numerous awards, including a People magazine "Annual Top Five" citation and a spot in AudioFile magazine's "Top Fifty Voices of the Century".
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I found this book to be thoroughly enjoyable. The main character was just the right mix of unlikeable and yet redeemable. I found myself rooting for him. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a story about a man trying to pick up the pieces of a life that he was solely responsible for derailing.
I really tried to like this story, especially having read so many positive reviews on Amazon. But I just couldn't get with it. Firstly I tried to like Benjamin Benjamin Jr., the main character but seemed to find him too much of a loser. He spent many years with no ambition and then when his funds are running out, he takes a job as the caregiver to Trev, a boy with a degenerative disease at virtually minimal pay. Benjamin and Trev like to make fun of other people and ogle women at the mall. They use expressions that were hard to understand even knowing the reference like "I would like to give her a Gaylord Perry." Now I know that Mr. Perry was a baseball player known for putting foreign substances on baseballs but I couldn't figure out what it meant in the context of the story. Benjamin's and Trev's conversations are rife with expressions like this. I did find slightly interesting the map that the two put together of interesting places to visit and Trev's weird encounter with the lady "acrobat." Things like this kept me from rating this book lower but I still struggled through this book and found it dragged in many places. Overall I give it three stars.
Well written and a good message
With each new novel, Jonathan Evison proves that he can’t be pigeonholed as an author. You want an atypical bildungsroman? Read his All About Lulu. Looking for an ambitious historical epic? Read his West of Here. You want a buddy, road trip story that transcends that clichéd description? Read his new novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. Evison writes with humor, honesty, and a snappy cadence that propels you through the story even when you’d like to take your time relishing his rich characterizations and vibrant landscapes. Each of his characters is trapped by circumstances that are seemingly beyond their control but the joy of this novel is to see how they all begin to wrestle that control back from the beyond, little by little. They are all ready for it, they just have to find the courage and tenacity to do it. Evison reveals a true knack for writing these wayward, flawed characters in such a way that makes them completely relatable and worth rooting for. He writes with depth and heart and even a little bravado, showing the beauty in tragedy, the humor in life, and the power of connection.
Enjoyed the book and was surprised with the ending.
I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK WITH ITS CLEVER ROAD TRIP FORMAT, ENGAGING NARRATOR, AND ITS THEME OF REDEMPTION.
Benjamin Benjamin is in the middle of a typical mid-life crisis. Hoping to make his life change, he decides to take a class on how to be a perfect caregiver and is assigned to teenage Trevor, who suffers from muscular dystrophy. Benjamin begins to realize that life alone is the teacher and sadly there is no class to prepare him for the lesson. The road trip to visit Benjamin’s past will help change and strengthen his and Trevor’s relationship, with several hilarious bumps along the way. Jonathan Evison weaves an emotional tale of finding one’s self, while facing the past and caring for someone who uses humor as a way of coping. Readers will find themselves laughing numerous times and they will impatiently read each page as they search for the truth behind Ben’s past. Flashbacks and quick-witted responses will keep readers on their toes. Recommended for fans of emotional life stories with light-hearted twists, who are willing to take a road trip called life. Notes: This review was written for My Sister's Books. This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.
I wanted to like this more but the characters felt a little one dimensional to me until the last quarter of the book. If the first 3/4 would have had the same emotional punch as the remainder, I would have given it 4 stars. I had trouble connecting with Ben until more of his past was let out.