The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison — Book Review

Aditi Agarwala
4 min readApr 17, 2021

Caregiving- It is more than a word. It is an emotion. It is a feeling. Caregiving doesn’t only mean caring conditionally for people whom you love or are close to. Caregiving is much more than that.

It comes with happiness and sadness. It comes with healing and pain. Yet, a person who knows and understands what caring truly is, still cares for others, unconditionally.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caring written by Jonathan Evison is a beautiful, bittersweet, funny, and refreshing book. Everything about this book is so uniquely and heartily expressed, that not only does it make you smile but it also makes you cry.

Jonathan Evison currently lives on an island off the coast of Washington State. The Revised Fundamentals of Caring is his third novel, and both the previous novels of his are currently one of the top books in the New York Times bestseller category.

Trevor is an 18-year-old boy who has shifted from England to the United States with his mother, Elsa, who works in a bank. Trevor suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) since he was a 3-year-old. Trevor is a short-tempered kid and being a disabled kid always feels low about himself and is always on his edge. He follows a fixed schedule every day, from waking up to eating the same meals, watching the same programs, to sleeping with the same routine.

Benjamin is a 45-year-old retired man who takes a six-week course of caregiving and is then hired by Elsa for his son. Benjamin has been through some bad phases in his life, which has cost him everything in his life. He is a sweet and calm person. Even though he knows he has a lot of pending decisions to take care of, he manages to run away from it every time. Benjamin does not have the guts to face his problems and keeps running away from them.

but because I know that no matter how safe one plays it, no matter how one tries to minimize risk, to shelter oneself or one’s charge from the big bad world outside, accidents will happen.

Despite all this, one thing about Benjamin that would touch your heart is his capability to care about someone whom he’d barely knew.

“The sky maybe big, it maybe blue and limitless, but it’s also far away. Really, its just an illusion. I’ve been wasting my time. We have been wasting our time. What good is this all grandeur if it’s impermanent, what good all of this promise if it’s only fleeting? Who wants to live in a world where suffering is the only thing that lasts, a place where every single thing that meant the world to you can be stripped away.”

Even though Benjamin and Trevor are poles apart, they enjoy each other’s company. They quarrel, they laugh, they talk and even silences are comfortable between the both of them. But the one thing that they truly love doing together is researching about the unique touristy places in the States and mark them on maps. But the question that remains is do they visit the places they have marked on the map? Even if they do, does it bring a major in their lives? Or just nothing happens, and everything becomes worse. Because sometimes roads might lead to you to the best places or the worst places.

It is like deciding something which we want from our heart without thinking it’s wrong or right. It is just like going for it, without worrying about its consequences. It is like walking the journey of life without expecting too much to gain on the way.

Life is full of uncertainties, and what we should try to do is live in the moment, and care for people unconditionally without expecting anything in return. Caring for someone who you know or don’t know, is an act of kindness. While caring for someone you should the mnemonic device — “ALOHA”,i.e, Ask, Listen, Observe, Help and Ask Again. Caring is not just an act. It is the art of being kind and helping others. But one thing you must remember is don’t get so much indulged in this art that you forget to take care of yourselves.

I’ll never stop caring. But the thing about is caring is, it’s inconvenient. Sometimes you’ve got to give when it makes no sense at all. Sometimes you’ve got to give until it hurts. It’s not easy, and it can be downright thankless.”

--

--

Aditi Agarwala

Always curious to learn new things. Grateful for everything that I have in my life.