Synopses & Reviews
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 Trevs ailing father, a new camaraderie replaces the traditional boundary between patient and caregiver.
Bursting with energy, this big-hearted, soulful, and inspired novel ponders lifes terrible surprises and the hearts uncanny capacity to mend and become whole again.
"To avoid facing his past, Benjamin Benjamin sets to helping others as a caregiver.Â After taking a class called the Fundamentals of Caregiving at a local church, his first job lands him with Trevor, a 19-year-old with advanced muscular dystrophy who has disengaged from the world. But a road trip and a series of exploits find the two men returning to worlds they thought were lost. Narrator Jeff Woodman's portrayal of Benjamin captures his contradicting self-awareness and self-deceit as well as his vulnerabilities. But his rendition of Trevor's voice is the most impressive.Â Woodman avoids the pitfall of trying to portray the character's disability, instead using a minimalist approach that captures Trevor's essence. Additionally, Woodman lends the supporting cast distinct, vibrant voices and provides narration that will keep listeners engaged until the very end. An Algonquin hardcover." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A lively narrative with a poignant core and quirky, lonely characters.”
—Kirkus Reviews AudioFile
“Evison injects some levity . . . blending humor, sharp dialog, and a rich and detailed back-story into a sympathetic, bittersweet novel. . . . A worthy purchase.”
—Library Journal The Boston Globe
“Woodman skillfully navigates between the humor and sadness of the story and neatly telegraphs Ben and Trevs complex feelings of resignation mixed with hope for something better. Listeners will be captivated by Woodmans performance of this wonderful novel about finding ones way in an unfair world.”
AudioFile [Earphones Award Winner] The Seattle Times
“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, Evisons novel is worth the voyage.”
The Boston Globe Fiction Writers Review
“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 BookPage
“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 Express Milwaukee
“Evison has the enviable ability to weave together a funny, tragic and very entertaining story.”
BookPage The Washington Post
“An inspiring tale on lifes surprises and the hearts capacity to mend, filled with a perfect blend of humor and sadness.”
Express Milwaukee The New York Times
“Moving and funny, and, my God, how refreshing it is to read a story about someone caring for a disabled person that isnt 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 Under My Apple Tree
The bestselling author of West of Here proves that the long road home can sometimes be elusive and heartbreaking, but with a friend in the passenger seat, you just might find your way.
About the Author
Jonathan Evison is the author of four novels, including The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, West of Here, and All About Lulu. He lives on the coast of Washington State with his wife and two children.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 and 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".