A paramedic’s memorable experiences working the streets of New York City provide the backdrop for a collection of tales.
Debut author Larkin has seen it all in over four decades of prehospital emergency medicine, handling calls that ranged from miscarriages to car wrecks. But her most compelling memories often focus on seemingly simple human interactions. The author reminisces about drinking tea with an elderly woman who just felt lonely. Larkin recounts the time she inexplicably packed an extra pair of socks for work one day, only to pass them on to a homeless man who requested that very item. She may not know what happens to her patients after she leaves them at the hospital, but their stories stick with her. The message of her memoir is clear: It’s the small, everyday occurrences that impact people’s lives the most. Tales of tragedy are common, but Larkin balances the darkness with light by including the stories of patients she helped to save and the deep appreciation of their families. In an especially moving tale, the author responded to a car crash involving a young boy who was close in age to her own brothers. She managed to stay focused on the job and then returned home to a heart-wrenchingly normal evening with her siblings. The short but impactful anecdote deftly shows the challenges of separating work life and home life as an emergency responder. Larkin has a wealth of captivating stories to share and a clear passion for her work. But while her tales are interspersed throughout a relatively chronological account of her life, the author fails to tie them together in a larger narrative sense. She drops them into the memoir and then moves on. Readers will understand that these stories are the threads that form the tapestry of her life, but it’s hard to gain a clear sense of Larkin herself, as the completed textile. How she managed to maintain such a positive attitude and rosy outlook on life, despite all the traumas surrounding her, would be a thread worth pursuing.
An emotional and touching but disjointed account of a paramedic’s hard-earned and valuable life lessons.