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Friday, October 05, 2012

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving  (ARC from Algonquin) ranks as my favorite work of fiction this year.  It charms, elicits thought, evokes compassion, and avoids maudlin sentimentality.   The characters are living, breathing entities that engage the imagination and make you laugh even as you sympathize with the situations in which they find themselves.  A character study, a road trip, an examination of grief, a philosophical treatise on love and loss, and an irreverent and wonderful ride.  

Completely different from West of Here which I also loved,  The Revised Fundamentals is straight forward and beautifully written, filled with characters you wish you could know and will not forget. 

I love this quote in which Ben is encouraging Peaches, the twenty-one year old, unmarried, unemployed, 8 1/2 month pregnant woman whose boyfriend is back in jail:
"Peaches, I say, take heart my mountain wildflower!  There is life beyond Henderson!  There are pleasures and mysteries unfathomable to your young heart!  Do not measure out your life with coffee spoons nor lay waste your powers--live, I say!  Invent yourself!  Let your reach exceed your grasp!  And pass the hummus while you're at it!"
Eliot, Wordsworth, and Browning, capped by the humor of "pass the hummus" -- how appropriate for the message Benjamin is trying to deliver, combined with the nonsense of the situation.  Love it!  Love the book.

 Don't Miss This One!

Fiction.  Contemporary Fiction.  2012.  276 pages.


  1. This one looks great. I love the quote. Quirky stuff.

  2. Bybee - It really was a good read! Evison is one of my new favorite authors!