Summary and book reviews of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

A Novel

By Jonathan Evison

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
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  • Hardcover: Aug 2012,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: May 2013,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

hooked on mnemonics

I was broke when duty called me to minister to those less fortunate than myself, so maybe I’m no Florence Nightingale. And maybe in light of all that happened with Piper and Jodi, I’m not qualified to care for anybody. The fact is, at thirty-nine, with a gap in my employment history spanning the better part of the technological revolution, I’m not qualified to do much anymore.

But don’t get the idea that just anyone can be a caregiver. It takes patience, fortitude, a background check. Not to mention licensing and a mandatory curriculum of continuing education, as evidenced by my certificates in Special Needs in Dementia 1, Positive Crisis Management, and Strategies in Nonverbal Communication. The bulk of what I learned about being a licensed caregiver, I learned from the Fundamentals of Caregiving, a twenty-eight-hour night course I attended along with fourteen middle-aged women at the Abundant Life Foursquare Church right behind...

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Reviews

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In his third novel, Jonathan Evison takes another look at the ways individuals and families can fracture in modern American life. The novel is recommended to readers who are not averse to strong language and who find a look at the underside of the 21st century male an interesting proposition. Any reader who has found caring for others difficult or burdensome or even near impossible will find Ben Benjamin’s story riveting and hard to put down.   (Reviewed by Judy Krueger).

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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Evison is a skilled, perceptive writer.

Kirkus Reviews

A lively narrative with a poignant core and quirky, lonely characters.

Library Journal

...Ben's wry retorts, blending humor, sharp dialog, and a rich and detailed backstory into a sympathetic, bittersweet novel. This is one of the more successful entries in the 'Sad Dad Lit' sub genre.

Reader Reviews
CarolK

A Road Trip not like Thelma & Louise
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. came highly recommended to me so I'm not certain what took me so long to read it. I had read Evison's West of Here and liked it, and yet I'm not certain I was quite prepared for The Revised Fundamentals of ...   Read More

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What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy encompasses a a group of usually inherited disorders that involve increasing muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue over time. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a rapidly worsening form of the disorder that affects only males. The usual cause is a defective gene carried by the mother, but about one-third of cases appear to be spontaneous mutations in the male's genes. Many mutations of the gene can cause DMD but only some common ones have been identified. Symptoms of DMD, which include fatigue, learning difficulties, muscle weakness and progressive difficulty walking, usually appear early in life around age 5.

DMD's gene inheritance map Diagnosis is primarily accomplished by DNA testing though a muscle biopsy test is sometimes required...

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