As you see, this has been a pretty cranky stretch of book reviews. I have been jumbling up my book postings on here, so I don't know if the order is accurate, but in the "real word" 7 of these last 8 books I have rated either 2 or 3 stars. I have to remind myself that 3-stars is not "bad" (according to Goodreads it's "liked it"), but it is pretty unusual for me to get through more than a handful of books without being a little wow'd by at least one of them.
I was recently a bit disappointed with the latest Jonathan Tropper book, One Last Thing Before I Go, but as I started The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving I thought that perhaps this was the Tropper book I had been hoping for. It is my Jonathan Evison book, but there seemed to be all the hallmarks of Tropper: mid-life crisis, witty, poignant, laughter through tears.And while I won't say that I was not emotionally touched by this book, I have to say I felt manipulated. The main character, Benjamin Benjamin (okay, that's another sore thumb), is washed-up in middle-age having never fully recovered from a horrific life event - "the disaster" - who tries to pick up the pieces of his life by becoming a caretaker to a 16-year old with muscular dystrophy. So, if that doesn't pull at your heartstrings what will? But (!!) the symbolic road-trip to find oneself or the attempt to repair mental anguish through a physically disabled person just seemed too transparent. Likewise, I lost some patience with being strung along with certain plot points (trying to keep this spoiler-free). I almost think if the "big" chapter was moved to be the first chapter, it would have given the novel more power and impact.
So, yes... cranky, cranky, cranky... and not doing full justice to that fact that I did like it (again, a reminder that 3 stars = liked it), read it quite quickly (and compulsively) and had affection and pathos for this quirky cast of characters. Will surely consider another/the next Evison book, but this one just didn't have that oomph to push it up a star.