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A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard (BOOK REVIEW) 4/5

I am a reader of strange things, but for all the strange things I read, this was not one of them. With the title, you would think it would be- and perhaps it should have been- the story of a paramedic’s experiences within his years working the job, it would be reasonable to expect a good deal of weirdness. I was, instead, shown something more realistic than I expected, even for a non-fiction book.

Mr. Hazzard’s recounting of his career was pretty standard. I learned about the process of becoming an EMT versus becoming a Paramedic, the types of people who applied for a job like that, the difference between a private ambulance service and a hospital ambulance. I learned the ins and outs of humanity and what situations might arise, though many were less shocking than I thought they would be.

Despite that, I enjoyed this novel quite a bit, enough to give it a four. I enjoyed the journey, the show of how life changes- of taking things when they come in stride, of it being okay to be nervous or afraid and how you slowly grow more capable with time, and of when to say enough is enough. The burnout, as Mr. Hazzard recounts, is real, and he goes through several stages of both being in love with his job and the high of it, and then crashing from it. Some of the most interesting parts of this book were simply the people he worked with and their unique descriptions and impressions of the job. I think that the best message out of this novel is simply how things change, how you have to roll with the punches, and how your perceptions of things change with time.

While I can’t say this novel was overly entertaining or funny, it had its good moments, and I did feel like I got to see through the eyes of paramedics. There was just enough content to tip the scales for me, and I would urge people who want to go into the medical field to read this book- you just might learn a thing or two about what it takes.

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