The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

Rating: 3.5 of 5

“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.” (source: book jacket)

Ben has lost everything; his wife, his family, his home, his job. Somewhere below rock bottom, in an attempt to rejoin the world and reconnect with the living, he decides to become a caregiver. His first client, Trevor, is a nineteen-year-old in the advanced stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

While caring for Trevor, Ben realizes how little Trevor is actually living. Compared to what Ben has lost, he can’t reconcile this kid staying hidden in his house constantly planning but never actually doing. Breaking a few fundamentals of caregiving, Ben pushes Trevor to embrace the life he has and to take a few risks. And, in the process, Ben recognizes how much damage his own inability to let go and move on has caused.

The only reason I read The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is I watched its film adaptation, THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CARING (2016), on Netflix 1/10/2017. Unfortunately for the book, I absolutely LOVED the movie. The book was equal parts funny and tragic; the movie just took the book strength’s to a whole other level. Paul Rudd as Ben and Craig Roberts as Trevor made the film’s story more fulfilling than the book. And the ending of the movie — my eyes filled with tears and I laughed out loud at the same time — perfect!

I recommend the book to anyone dealing with grief or experiencing major life changes that leave them feeling lost and paralyzed by the thought of letting go and moving on.

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(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

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