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The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  5,162 ratings  ·  883 reviews
Jonathan Evison has crafted a novel of the heart, a novel of unlikely heroes traveling through a grand American landscape, and most of all, a story that offers a profound look into what it takes to truly care for another person. Bursting with energy and filled with moments of absolute beauty, this bighearted and inspired novel ponders life’s terrible surprises as well as i ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ben Loory
the secret to jonathan evison's success, i think, is that he's both emotionally courageous AND funny as hell, which is a rare and electrifying mix. i read this book straight through in one sitting and then i went out and ran around the block. (i don't run.)
Carol
Oct 21, 2012 Carol rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Carol by: Robin Beerbower
Shelves: fiction
Thank you, thank you, Robin Beerbower for shouting out this title at the 4th Annual Librarian Shout 'n Share at Bookexpo 2012. I knew the minute I heard Robin pitch The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison that I had to read this book. Robin's shout out was back in June and considering several other GoodReads friends rated it highly,what took me so long? I really don't know but don't make my mistake. Read this book!

Having read Evison's West of Here and liking it, I'm not certain
...more
Julie
Humor is such a delicate thing. Handled badly, it’s like those last tiny shards of potato chips at the bottom of the bag—pointless, greasy, annoying reminders that you should have quit while you were ahead. Humor done well is a bite into an ethereal croissant—a pleasure of taste and texture that is both rich and light—an uplifting of the senses. Of course, broad humor and slapstick comedy return us to the open-mouth, gasping hilarity of childhood, when we laughed so hard we farted, and that only ...more
Caris
Jun 10, 2014 Caris rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Note: As is the case sometimes, the reviewer was full of shit, and the author was kind enough to point it out (in a classy way). Instead of rewriting, I opted to strike the text (which feels more honest).

When I was in community college, I belonged to a writer's group. Every week, I'd gather around a table with a motley assortment of nerds to read our work. I read my first piece at the second meeting I attended, eager for the audience. The short story I read was a slice-of-life thing about a fat
...more
John Luiz
Jonathan Evison has been on my radar ever since I saw All About Lulu in bookstores, but I just hadn't gotten around yet to reading any of his novels. After reading the Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, though, I'll be sure to catch up with what I've been missing by reading Lulu and West of Here. Revised Fundamentals provides everything I look for in a novel - a fully fleshed out protagonist caught up in something that the author explores in both a serious and comic vein, a supporting cast of f ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
This is the kind of book I savor: spectacularly descriptive, literary writing; flawed but likeable main character in need of redemption; a story of internal growth; and a cast of truly unique supporting characters. And because I have a soft spot for geology, I found the landscape descriptions completely delicious and filling. I confess: I didn’t want this book to end!

The voice of the main character, Ben Benjamin, swept me away from the start. Something horrible happened to his young family, caus
...more
Cynthia
Get in the Car

Our guy is a loser. No he’s not but Benjamin Benjamin is definitely at a low ebb in his life. After a family tragedy he and his much loved wife break up. He’s been Mr. Mom and hasn’t been in the job market so when it comes time for him to find a job he hurriedly takes a course in home health care which leads him to a job caring for 19 year old Trevor who’s suffering from muscular dystrophy. Ben actually does quite well with his care giving duties. Ben also bonds well with Trevor th
...more
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
The book starts off with Benjamin Benjamin (yes that's his name) taking a class on care-giving because he is living off his credit card and just taking a break from life. Ben takes a job sitting with Trev a young adult with MD. Trev has routines. He watches weather channel, eats flax seed waffles, doesn't go out much. I fell head over heels for both these characters. They are funny, strong men.
I hate giving away a lot of details in books but this one includes a road trip that changes both these
...more
Les
Does anyone today write with more heart than Jonathan Evison?

Ignore the critics who stupidly focus on the teenage boy elements of the novel. Yes, they are present, but they are not the focus of this novel. The comments, banter, and trash talking lend credibility to two very insecure and broken characters. The subtext of those comments reveals that the comments made about women are just guys being guys (one-upmanship), revealing insecurities, overcompensating, and are not who Trev or Ben truly a
...more
Ed
I am feeling terribly cranky with my reading of late. Well, first I have to remind myself that 3-stars is not "bad," but still I do not usually get through more than a handful of books without being at least a little wow'd by one of them. I was recently a bit disappointed with the latest Jonathan Tropper book (One Last Thing Before I Go), but as I started The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving I thought that perhaps *this* was the Tropper book I had been hoping for. It is my Jonathan Evison book ...more
Lori
from BEA - signed by author


Read 8/14/12 - 8/20/12
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book for ALL THE REASONS
Pgs: 276
Publisher: Algonquin
Release Date: August 28, 2012

Can I just say "Fucking Awesome! Go Buy It" and call it a day? Do you really need me to go into all the reasons why I want you to experience Jonathan Evison's The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving for yourself? Because I will. Oh, you can bet I will.

For starters, it features some of the coolest man-speak I have ever come a
...more
Dan
We’ve come-of-age with Will Miller, traversed the Olympics with Mather and drank kiltlifter with Krig, now Evison is taking us on the road with Ben Benjamin and Trev, a young man cursed with muscular dystrophy.

The book however, is more than the story of a road trip, it is a story of loss, suffering, alienation and redemption with a cast of very real, and flawed characters. While reading I found myself relating to each of the main characters at different points. This is one of the big things I a
...more
Judith
I was actually enjoying this book right up to the time of the road trip, which was the whole point of the story. The narrator is a doofus who lost his wife and two children, and is now employed as a care-giver for a teenage boy who is afflicted with MD, Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Benjamin (the narrator) is a good match for Trevor, the boy in his charge. Benjamin is childishly humorous and I couldn't stop picturing him as Seth Rogan. Everything he said sounded like Seth Rogan, which is probably ...more
Kathrina
This book is a beautiful balance between humor and pathos, deeply felt and a lot of fun to read. One of the benefits we strive for in my prison book group is to read titles that encourage an empathy with the characters, as having this skill is a step towards seeing life outside one's self, and acknowledging that our past mistakes or crimes impact others in ways we may not have anticipated. Benjamin Benjamin does just that here -- he's made a few mistakes or strange choices in his past, one of th ...more
Elyse
Simple -sweet- funny- irresistible warmth - sad....

This story kicks it up a notch when Benjamin and Trevor take a road trip. They take off to visit Trevor's dad who has been an absentee father most of his life. The hitchhikers they meet on the road are quirky & odd ....adding just the right mix of hilarity and irrepressible characters.

For Benjamin and Trevor -- its an ongoing honest and sometimes painful examination of who they are --Who they are in the world and what they contribute to each
...more
C
Recommended by Lisa Casper in an Indie Book webinar.

This book gets it right everywhere. Character development, story, imagery, setting, all of it. There's a perfect balance between wit and pain, awkwardness, insight, and growth. One review of Evison's other book said "tragicomic," which fits, I suppose, but I desperately want a better word for it.

The book is an ode to the awkward, painful "trying to make it right" sort of love of the Dad who screwed up and can't win, can't seem to get it right,
...more
Kerry
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 ch ...more
Becki
AWFUL. JUST AWFUL. Quit at 71%. Supposed to be be funny? No. Most disgusting main character ever. Can't handle it any more. I said I was going to power through but I'm DONE wasting my time. DONE!
Neil McCrea
In the last few years I have been suffering from a surfeit of empathy in regards to my reading, a juvenile tendency to see myself in protagonist after protagonist to a troubling degree. This may explain the increased amount of genre fiction in my reading fare, as I seek a more comfortable distance between myself and those I read about.

Jonathan's book just about did me in, and I wince in over-identification every time I read a review that describes Benjamin as a loser.

Benjamin's problems are not
...more
Elizabeth
Evison's novel is an entertaining homage to little victories. Each of Evison's characters is genuinely, individually trapped, yet capable of celebrating successes and accepting setbacks.

The novel lives up to its title in that you do revise the way you might care about someone whose circumstances have defined them. Evison's Ben sets a fine example for friends everywhere as a relaxed, frayed observer barely nudging you toward your next step.
Ron Charles
Jonathan Evison’s new novel, “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving,” sounds like it’s about as much fun as cleaning a catheter. And that long, textbooklike title — an actual 28-hour course required for people who work in adult family homes in Washington state — is just the book’s first turnoff. The plot involves a young man wasting away from muscular dystrophy. The narrator is bankrupt, depressed and being sued for divorce. His two dead children hover in the background.

I ate it up.

More than 20
...more
Greg Zimmerman
Life is near-constant revision, because even the best-laid plans go awry. Take, for instance, the writing of this review of Jonathan Evison's new novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. I planned to tell you how the novel is part roadtrip buddy comedy, part meditation on parenting, and part blueprint for pulling yourself up by the bootstraps when you hit rock bottom. I hoped to convey how funny and cool and downright irreverent (German Knuckle Cake, anyone?) Evison's writing is. And I was ...more
Jsavett1
Call me sentimental but I LOVED this book. Based upon the quickly crumbling life of Humbert Humbert, ooops, I mean the equally curmudgeonly (though much younger) Benjamin Benjamin, the novel becomes part Little Miss Sunshine, part Garden State. Our narrator takes to the road in a Handicapped Van with his "side-kick," Trevor who suffers acutely from Muscular Dystrophy. To Evison's credit, he does not romanticize Trevor's condition nor does he attempt to make his suffering a metaphor for anything ...more
Judy

Ever since his debut novel, All About Lulu, I have been in love with Jonathan Evison. He wowed me again with last year's West of Here. I am thrilled to say he has done it yet another time with his new one. He is among a handful of current novelists who reassure me that the age of fiction is far from over, no matter what the doomsayers would have us believe. I am going to see him read and regale us next Tuesday night at Skylight, one of LA's ultra cool indie bookstores.

Ben Benjamin is one of tho
...more
Emily Crowe
It seems interesting to me that in the last few weeks I've read two books and seen one very fine film about caregivers and their patients. While this book was pretty good and I'm glad I read it, it was the one for which I cared least among the three.

Slight spoiler ahead:

The last 50 pages or so really made the book worthwhile for me--that's where I finally really clicked with the story. The big reveal behind Ben's tragedy, when it finally comes, is almost anticlimactic and not very revealing at
...more
Leslie
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving had me laughing one moment and on the verge of tears the next. More than anything, I love the characters in this book. Their flaws are beautiful, sad, funny. I found myself loving people who I never thought I would in real life. Evison has the ability to make you love everyone from a chicken-toting "deadbeat" dad to a chain-smoking misfit. Everyone has their story and deserves to tell it. Fundamentals is one of those books that will leave you feeling comple ...more
Ann
I'm about 1/3 of the way through, and I think that's enough. I hate the way the protagonist sees and talks about other people and his environment; it's making me feel bad about myself and the world. Also, I have zero interest in seeing what happens.

There are other, more inspiring books out there for me to read.


Update: On further thought, I suspect that a large part of what turned me off of the book is the way the characters talk about women's bodies. It makes me angry and hits all my buttons abo
...more
Liz Russell
I stumbled upon the novel as an advanced reading copy, expecting something that followed the synopsis on the inside page. What I found was something incredibly different. I expected to find a galley, littered with an occasional mistake, a plot line that followed the typical obscure, witty, and charming novel that I typically find myself burying my nose in. (I mean, the main character's name is Benjamin Benjamin who is the caregiver of a teenage boy with MD and an insatiable desire for women...) ...more
Larry Hoffer
Even though the title of this book makes it sound like a textbook, Jonathan Evison's new novel is a wry, funny, and (dare I say) heartwarming journey of one man's emotional recovery through the unlikeliest of processes.

To say Benjamin Benjamin's life has fallen apart would be an understatement. A former stay-at-home father, in an instant, he lost everything—his family, his marriage, his home, and his livelihood. After a long period of self-loathing and drinking, with no job prospects on the hori
...more
Johnny
Upon realizing that The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving had a series of pre-set questions for book clubs at the back, I expected a sloppy sentimentality and improbable circumstances –possibly even a happy ending. What I found was a handbook on loss, grief, and coping. There may be a tad of forgiveness and redemption that flashes from time to time, but there is no overarching epiphany, there are no easy answers.

“I’ve been thinking about the cruel mathematics of my life, looking at my sums and
...more
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Jonathan Evison is an American writer best known for his debut novel All About Lulu published in 2008, which won critical acclaim, including the Washington State Book Award. In 2009, Evison was awarded a Richard Buckley Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. A second novel, West of Here, will be released in February 2011 from Algonquin. Editor Chuck Adams (Water for Elephants, A Rel ...more
More about Jonathan Evison...
West of Here All About Lulu This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! Days Like This: Good Writers on Bad Luck, Bum Deals, and Other Torments McTeague

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“Listen to me: everything you think you know, every relationship you've ever taken for granted, every plan or possibility you've ever hatched, every conceit or endeavor you've ever concocted, can be stripped from you in an instant. Sooner or later, it will happen. So prepare yourself. Be ready not to be ready. Be ready to be brought to your knees and beaten to dust. Because no stable foundation, no act of will, no force of cautious habit will save you from this fact: nothing is indestructible.” 30 likes
“I'll never stop caring. But the thing about caring is, it's inconvenient. Sometimes you've got to give when it makes no sense to at all. Sometimes you've got to give until it hurts.” 25 likes
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