The Caregiver is not your typical novel, so my typical review just would not work for it. We have the story of Dan, told both in present and in story form. He is shopping his book The Caretaker to his agent, who tells him it’s not salable. The book then launches into Dan’s story itself.
Dan Calzolaio was driving to his appointment with the Tampa AIDS Alliance buddy program, where he’s assigned to a 26-year-old man who is dying of AIDS; his name is Adam. Adam is sarcastic, funny, and occasionally dresses like a woman. Along the way, Adam teaches Dan about life, love, and friendship. Adam has a partner, just as Dan does. Dan’s partner is a drug addict, who ends up being kicked to the curb when Dan gathers the strength to not let him take advantage anymore. Dan finds himself attracted to Adam’s partner, Sullivan. When Adam dies, both of these men will grieve and grow closer.
I love how Rick R. Reed has made Caregiver both a story, and a semi documentary of Dan’s life. The careful attention to detail and realism made this story a very different experience for me, an experience I really enjoyed too. I felt the passion, the sorrow, the laughter, and the entire grieving process these characters went through. While in places this story can drag just a bit, overall it is a must read. This story is amazingly well done and makes me want to just tell Mr. Reed, “You are a remarkable author who has touched my heart.”