The second collection of Tom Reynolds' bloggings about being an ambulance driver in Newham, east London, this is a catalogue of tragedies, triumphs, comical mishaps, and the best and the worst of human behaviour.
Reynolds removes a dead dog from a pensioner's flat on a stretcher, attends more stabbing incidents than you can shake a stick at, saves lives, is sent to pick up an 11-year-old boy who's faked an asthma attack to get a day off school, is abused by patients, and rails at pregnant women who use ambulances as "matern-a-taxis". He has decided preferences – social workers, drunks and druggies are out, police officers and sensible patients are in. He likes animals more than people and children not at all.
While you may not agree with all his judgements, a strong sense of character comes through – and there's no arguing with his commitment to his job, nor that it is essential. The style is chatty rather than literary and the punctuation not all it could be, but this is a memoir with a distinctive voice about the sides of life most of us are fortunate enough to know very little about. It would make a wonderful radio series.