Ben Benjamin used to be a happy man – not merely contented, he was truly happy. His wife, a successful veterinarian, made the kind of money that allowed Ben to stay home with the couple’s young son and daughter, an arrangement both agreed was, by far, their best parenting option. He was doing a good job, the kids were healthy and happy, and the family’s future was bright. But then Ben learned a painful life-lesson, one likely to scar him emotionally for the rest of his life: “…nothing is indestructible.” His wife and children were snatched from him in an instant, leaving him with no family, no home, no job, and just barely enough will to go on.
Down to his last few dollars, Ben decides to try something different to earn his keep. He enrolls in a night school class called “The Fundamentals of Caregiving,” learns the basics of the job, and signs up with a placement agency. Although it is not immediately evident, Ben and his very first client, a nineteen-year-old Muscular Dystrophy patient, will become a perfect match because young Trevor, who is being raised by his single-mom, needs a male role model as badly as Ben needs someone to help stabilize his own life – whether he knows it or not.
Ben is riding a rollercoaster of misplaced blame and emotional fatigue and, at the beginning, he sees caregiving as just another job. After all, it pays only nine dollars an hour, and he has been instructed never to form an emotional attachment to any of the people for whom he finds himself responsible. But, as Ben and Trevor begin to bond, Ben is surprised by how important the job suddenly becomes to him. Then, when Trevor’s mother surprisingly agrees to their plan for a cross-country road trip that will allow the pair to visit as many bizarre roadside attractions as possible, Ben and Trevor do some growing up together.
For Trevor, this is a real coming-of-age experience, one in which some of his dreams and fantasies finally do come true. For Ben, it is an opportunity to change in ways that will permit him to get on with the rest of his life before it is too late, maybe even a chance to start liking himself a little bit again. Trevor and Ben, along with the three misfits they encounter along the way, form a makeshift little family that none of them will ever forget – and all five will be the better for having been a part of it.
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)
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