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:
In this new novel, Jonathan Evison, author of the New York Times bestseller West of Here, has crafted a story that is as grounded in the stark reality of its characters' struggles as it is filled with the kind of hopeful joy that enables them to make it from one day to the next. A novel of the heart, a novel of unlikely heroes in a grand American landscape, it is most of all a profound look into what it takes to truly care for one another.
For Ben Benjamin, all has been lost—his wife, his family, his home, his livelihood. Hoping to find a new direction, he has enrolled in a night class called the Fundamentals of Caregiving. There he learns the basics of the art of inserting catheters while avoiding liability, and he is instructed about professionalism and how to keep an emotional distance between client and provider.
But when Ben is assigned his first client—a tyrannical nineteen-year-old boy named Trevor who is in the advanced stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy—he soon discovers that the endless service checklists have done nothing to prepare him for the reality of caring for a fiercely stubborn, sexually frustrated teenager who has an ax to grind with the whole world.
Over time, the relationship between Ben and Trev, which had begun with mutual misgivings, evolves into a close friendship, and the traditional boundaries between patient and caregiver begin to blur. The bond between them strengthens while on a road trip to visit Trev's ailing father—a journey diverted by a series of bizarre must-see roadside attractions that propels them into an impulsive adventure disrupted by one birth, two arrests, a freakish dust storm, and a six-hundred-mile cat-and-mouse pursuit by a mysterious brown Buick Skylark. By the end of that journey, Trev has had his first taste of love, and Ben has found a new reason to love life.
Bursting with energy and filled with moments of absolute beauty, this bighearted and inspired novel ponders life's terrible surprises as well as the heart's uncanny capacity to mend.