Excerpt from The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

A Novel

by Jonathan Evison

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2012, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2013, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Round and round we go. I reel them off. He declines them. It’s our daily exercise in independence, something I might have done with Piper when she was four years old.

Thursdays are something of a highlight, particularly that hour before the matinee, when we come to the food court at the mall to ogle women. Few spectacles are more conspicuous and ungainly than the masculine figure in crisis. Trev, at least, has youth in his defense. I’m just pathetic, I guess. From our preferred vantage opposite Cinnabon, we objectify, demystify, belittle, and generally marginalize the fair sex, as though we weren’t both completely terrified of them. “Look at the turd-cutter on her,” he says, of a poodle-haired blonde in tight jeans. “Would you tap that?”

“In a heartbeat,” I say.

Lolling his head to the side, he looks me in the eye. “I’d give her a Gorilla Mask.”

“I’d give her a Bulgarian Gas Mask,” I counter.

“I’d give her a German Knuckle Cake.”

“That’s fucked up,” I say.

“Thanks,” he says. “Should I ask her out for a pizza and a bang?”

“A bang and a pizza.”

“How about just a bang?”

“No, trust me, the pizza part is classy.”

Poodle Hair breezes by toting two Cajun corn dogs and some curly fries, with a boyfriend trailing in her perfumey wake. They take a table in front of Quiznos and begin eating together silently, as though they’ve been eating together their whole lives.

“What is she doing with that tool?” says Trev.

I wave them off. “She’s probably a psycho.”

“Yeah, they’re all psychos.”

We lapse into silence, and I wish I had a smoke. Strip away our routines, and we are little more than our hypotheticals. Last year, in this same food court, I asked Trev what he’d do if he awoke one morning with all of his muscle functions, which is about as hypothetical as it gets since his condition is progressive and incurable. I was thinking: Climb a mountain, run a marathon, chase a butterfly down a hill. He said: Take a piss standing up.

Poodle Hair and I exchange brief glances. Or maybe I’m imagining it. When I go fishing for a second glance, she is evasive. She’s getting cuter by the second. She looks good holding a corn dog. I’m now convinced I could spend the rest of my days beside her. Then we lock gazes. And for one delicious instant there is a spark of possibility. Possibility of what? Of getting my ass kicked by a two hundred pound cuckold? Or more pathetic still, the possibility of being loved again, by anyone?

Now Poodle Hair is whispering something to her boyfriend who lowers his corn dog midbite. I was wrong — he’s at least 220. He’s staring holes in me. All I can do is look at Trev’s checkered Vans and feel the heat of my face.

“What?” says Trev.

“Showtime,” I say.

And without further delay, we stand to leave — I stand to leave, anyway, acutely aware of the boyfriend’s eyes in my back like daggers. Trev hunches his shoulders to buttress the weight of his head, clutches his joystick with a knotted hand, and whirs around in a semicircle, piloting himself toward the exit.

“Regal or Cineplex?”

“Regal,” he says.

It’s always the Regal.

Excerpted from The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison. Copyright © 2012 by Jonathan Evison. Excerpted by permission of Algonquin Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Good Me Bad Me
    Good Me Bad Me
    by Ali Land
    Is a psychopath born or made? This is the terrifying question that author Ali Land explores in her ...
  • Book Jacket: Five-Carat Soul
    Five-Carat Soul
    by James McBride
    In the short story "Sonny's Blues," from the 1965 collection Going to Meet the Man, African-...
  • Book Jacket: This Blessed Earth
    This Blessed Earth
    by Ted Genoways
    For the Hammonds, a farming family in Nebraska, the 2014 harvest season started with a perfect storm...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Never Coming Back
    by Alison McGhee

    A moving exploration of growing up and growing old, and the ties that bind parents and children.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.