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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
All Walks of Life (and Death): A Behind-the-Scenes Look at 42 Years as a Firefighter/Paramedic, by John Spicuzza, is a riveting and educational memoir about the life of a firefighter and paramedic. This inside view offers slice-of-life stories that may help you decide if this career is for you, and will give the average person a private glimpse at what the day-to-day life of a first responder is like. There are many chapters that cover many topics, from first-time experiences to living and working with red-tape, to the bond that those on the front lines share. This isn't a glossy version of emergency responders, but a no-holds-barred approach, giving you the bad along with the good. This balanced view will be helpful to those considering this career (or is it a calling?).
Spicuzza wears many hats in this book. As a seasoned educator of new first responders, including law enforcement, he shows how to handle different situations, from interacting with strangers in need of assistance, to how to get along with fellow first responders. As an experienced firefighter relaying information to the layperson, he teaches us what it feels like to save a life, what gallows humor is all about, and what life is like behind the scenes. The writing is honest and personal, yet has an educational feel, making this book the perfect choice for would-be professionals, retired professionals, and general reading audiences alike. The unwitting public often glamorizes the life of a first responder, putting these heroes on a pedestal for what they do--saving lives and maintaining public safety and order. But there is much more to it, and this author explains the human part of the job--the part that many of us overlook or don't think about. For example, when John says he was embarrassed because he wanted to leave in the middle of a fire, his partner shamed him into pushing through it. There is so much to admire and appreciate about this well-organized book, from how the equipment works to his unforgettable first-hand anecdotes from decades of service. For a comprehensive, enlightening guide to what life is like as a Fire/EMS professional, All Walks of Life (and Death) by John Spicuzza is a must-read.