The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison(5 out of 5)
One of the best books I’ve read this year!
Benjamin Benjamin(yes, you read the name right)is on the last rung- he’s terminally unemployed, being sued for divorce by his estranged wife, debt-ridden and living on one last credit card, restless and bored, struggling with grief over losing his two children(you don’t get the full story until the end, and it will make you cry, but believe me when I say it ADDS to the plot). Suddenly, for reasons that aren’t quite expressed beyond grief, Ben decides he wants to get a job working as a caregiver. He does what he needs to do, and his first interview is as a caregiver for Trevor, a young man with a form of muscular dystrophy. He gets the gig and begins an unusual friendship with Trevor. Trevor and his mom know what happened with Ben’s family and how his kids passed on, but don’t judge him over it. If anything, Trevor uses this as a chance to heal(at least, that’s what I got out of it). This whole premise may sound depressing as fuck, but believe me when I say it’s quirky, touching, and downright un-put-downable. I could not put the book down at all- so much so that it only took me 4 hours to read it. Trevor’s daily agenda is watching the Weather Channel obsessively, and letting Ben Google unusual places in the US. Ben gets a map and they begin to pin likely places to visit. Of course, Trevor’s health is precarious at best, so it’s an unlikely dream, but it’s an idea that keeps Trevor focused on anything but his deteriorating health, and it helps Ben as a daily function. Trevor is an oddly enduring, extremely realistic and downright blunt at times, but you see him fighting to keep his body and spirit intact while the disease does a number on him. Things get worse for Ben, however, when he continues to refuse to give his wife the divorce. The lady in his building is accusing him of feeding her cat chocolate and leaving cigarette butts in her plants(despite him not smoking). There is a process server staking out his apartment, to a ridiculous extent(That whole scenario is hysterical, when you see how Ben dodges him). Ben talks Trevor’s mom into letting him take Trevor on a road trip to see all the sights, and lift his spirits. After much goading, she agrees. Trevor and Ben disembark, and are joined by an unlikely cast of characters- Dot, a runaway who forms an attachment to Trevor, Elton, an unhappy former parolee who’s a mad inventor, his fiancee Peaches, who’s 8 months pregnant and ready to pop, a mystery man in a brown Buick Skylark(who Ben believes his ex has following them on their trip), and plenty of other supporting characters in various towns. It all ends with many revealations, as well as an awakening for Trevor, and acceptance of what needs to happen for Ben to move on. I can’t tell you how funny, downright unpredictable, yet unfailingly realistic and heartwarming book. I can’t tell you enough how much you need to read this.