Read me… or not.

Written By: sherridaley - • •

I liked The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, by Jonathan Evison and I am going to go out and get his other books, All About Lulu and West of Here.kI’m a snot when it comes to books. There are so many really bad ones out there.  Sometimes I get about 60 pages into a book, and I think, ” Clearly the author is sleeping with the intern who is reading through the slush pile.” and I have no respect for the intern because I would never sleep with anyone who was such a bad writer.

But back to Evison.  I like his book. This is an unusual plot line.  The main character is a stay-at-home dad until his successful wife decides to move on, and then, lost and lonely with no discernible job skills, he becomes a caregiver to a disabled teenager.

A road trip ensues, complete with a runaway girl teen, estranged fathers, broken hearts, and wheelchair accidents. I hate books with tidy endings, and this book does not have one. Like real life, things are not quite resolved at the end of the book, and perhaps never will be.


Then there’s Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck. I became a fan of Larson when I read Isaac’s Storm and, shortly thereafter, In the Garden of the Beasts. The first is about a murderous storm that practically wiped Galveston TX off the map, but it also the history of the United States weather service. The book flips from one story to the other until they meet, and the reader  (well,me, anyhow) can barely wait for each installment.

It was the same with In The Garden of the Beasts, which juxtaposed an American ambassador’s family in Berlin and the rise of Nazi power.

But when it came to Devil in the White City, which told the stories of an architect and a serial murderer during the Chicago World’s Fair, I flipped over the architect’s progress and focused on the fiend who lured women into his clutches and did horrible things to them.  I was, metaphorically, one of those people (you are, too, I know it.) who slow down to look at a highway accident.  The architect was a bore.  The fiend was irresistible.

So it was with Thunderstruck.  Read about Marconi’s invention of the telegraph?  Or the self-effacing doctor who peddled snake oil and was completely pussywhipped by his voluptuous and selfish wife until he … but I don’t want to spoil it.  Just flip past the Marconi stuff.

What’s really great about Larson is that his books are entirely non-fiction.  The research he has done is more than admirable. It’s unbelievable. They read like pulp fiction, but I guess real life does, too.

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