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review 2016-09-02 00:00
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving - Jonathan Evison Very slow. Made a better movie. Check it out on Netflix and save yourself the hours of tedium with this book.
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review 2015-10-07 14:38
Book Review: The Art of Being a Healing Presence by James E Miller, Susan Cutshall
The Art of being a Healing Presence - James E Miller,Susan Cutshall

"The Art of Being a Healing Presence: A Guide for those in Caring Relationships" is inspirational, practical and useful. With simple but profound wisdom this short book reminds us that healing begins within. An important theme throughout the book is that healing of both body and spirit is an art, not a science. Like all the arts, healing oneself and others requires self-mastery: that ability to still the noise of the mind so that the soul's sacred whispers can be heard.

Using easy-to-read language, inspiring quotes, short chapters broken down into quick paragraphs, and ending with a summary of the steps necessary to be a healing presence, this book is essential reading for anyone who is in a caring position, whether a professional carer, or home-carer for a loved one.

"The Art of BEing a Healing Presence" is a book that "practices what it preaches" - by the time I finished reading it, I was filled with the sense of calm and purpose that can often be stripped from us in the course of our stressful days and too-busy lives.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-11-18 15:03
If I wanted to spend time with a man like this, I could just leave my house: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving - Jonathan Evison

[A Note: I've marked this with a spoiler because at times it refers to things which happen quite far along in the book, but any actual spoilers and specifics have been put in tags].

 

I have a particular pet hate about books: I really hate misleading blurbs.

 

I hate blurbs which make really good literary books sound like chick-lit due to the author being female; it often means great books end up with a lot of negative reviews. See the Goodreads page of Joanna Kavenna's Inglorious for a good example. It won the Orange Award for New Writers but one edition had a fucking ceramic dog figurine on the front.

 

I also hate blurbs which tell you what happens in the book more than 15-20% of the way through.

 

The blurb for The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving tells us that Benjamin Benjamin and his charge Trevor, a 19 year-old with MD, travel across America to see Trev's dad.

 

They set off at around 47%.

 

Happily, the preceding hundred or so pages are spent showing us what kind of person our narrator is while very, very slowly trying to build up tension about the exact circumstances in which his kids died. Unfortunately, he's a casual misogynist who needs to spend some time googling Schroedinger's Rapist. If it made a difference to the story in some way, great, no problem, but I didn't feel it did. If it had felt deliberate, again, great, no problem, but this didn't.

 

At one point I was ready to put it down unfinished: Ben stalks a woman he went on a date with (he was supposed to go out and get laid - the assumption is she's fine with that) to her place of work and then mentally calls her a bitch because she - having previously signalled her disinterest in him - arranges for a colleague to serve him.

 

But, people like this exist. Lots of them. And having one exist in fiction is not a bad thing any more than having serial killers and paedophiles is, it's just not what I want to read. The bad thing was that after those first hundred pages *poof*, he's no longer like that. And maybe you could argue this was his character arc, that he was redeemed by the decision to take Trev to visit his dad and by the hours spent in a car with the Spiritually Noble White Trash Girl - (c)The Ghost Of Charles Dickens - but actually what happens is that they spend some time in a car together and he isn't the jerk he previously was. Maybe she farts sedatives.

 

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review 2013-06-22 00:00
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving - Jonathan Evison At times an adventurous road novel and others an examination of what it means to be crippled (both in terms of physical disability as well as being stuck in a rut with life), The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving displays Jonathan Evison's ability to weave together different elements into a complex and readable whole. Benjamin Benjamin is stuck: he Facebook stalks his soon to be ex-wife (if he ever agrees to sign the paperwork), has lost his job, and goes back to retrain as a caregiver. After a fairly basic course, his hope at getting his life back together lies with Trevor, a nineteen year old with a particularly crippling form of muscular dystrophy. He is not able to tie his own shoes or go to the bathroom on his own, both crippling to the psyche of this late teen male, whose two goals are to become more independent of his mother and also talk as much about dirty sex as he is able to with Ben. Trev has some emotional baggage as well, since his father decides to show up only after Trev has taken a turn for the worse. Trev takes Ben on a road trip to visit the father (who himself gets into an accident) in an old van, capable of accommodating Trev's physical impairments. The cast of characters that Ben and Trev encounter is staggering, from a runaway, a man who looks like a skinned weasel, his very pregnant girlfriend, and a man in a car who appears to be following them. These characters at times act as exaggerated versions of themselves, but when confronted with major life issues they show a surprising depth. The road trip, while it forms only the latter half of the novel, is a way for Ben and Trev both to work out their issues. Ben recounts this trip as well as alternating with another one he took years ago with his wife and two children, fleshing out Ben's character in a heart-wrenching way. While less complex (read: shorter) than [b:West of Here|7865197|West of Here|Jonathan Evison|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1295568021s/7865197.jpg|11025005], Evison is again back with the quirky characters of the Pacific Northwest but with the same emotional depth.
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review 2013-05-02 00:00
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving - Jonathan Evison Heartbreaking. Uplifting. Characters I want to find in real life to see what they are doing now. So good. Just read it. You won't be disappointed.
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