Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review // Blood, Sweat and Tea - Tom Reynolds

Published - 28th May 2009
Publisher - HarperCollins
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - A beautifully written insight into the stresses, strains and successes of working for the London Ambulance service.Is there anyone who hasn't wondered about the state of the occupant of an ambulance, screaming along with its sirens on and blue lights flashing? Have you? And have you wondered about the other people inside the ambulance, maybe fighting to save the patient's life? Or have you considered that the ambulance may be another 'maternataxi' ordered by a woman who can't be bothered to book a real cab and who then complains she can't smoke on the way to hospital? And that the medical technician inside might just be desperate to get back home from a busy shift, to have a cup of tea and catch up with his blog?Meet Tom Reynolds. Tom is an Emergency Medical Technician who works for the London Ambulance Service in East London. He has kept a blog of his daily working life since 2003 and his award-winning writing is, by turn, moving, cynical, funny, heart-rending and compassionate. It is never less than compelling.From the tragic to the hilarious, from the heartwarming to the terrifying, the stories Tom tells give a fascinating - and at times alarming - picture of life in inner-city Britain, and the people who are paid to mop up after it.
Tom Reynolds began work for the NHS when he was 23 and specialised as an A&E nurse. He moved to the London Ambulance Service when he discovered that 'he wanted to 'torture the patients in A&E'. In his own words, this is 'not healthy'. He has kept his critically-acclaimed blog since 2003 and is frequently quoted in the national press. This is his first book.

Brianna was actually the one who told me about this book after she spotted it during her time doing work experience in a bookstore and honestly, it didn't really interest me until much later. After she told me a few choice quotes from the book that had me tearing up with laughter, I decided to take advantage of the fact that it was a free ebook and see what it was like.

Right off the bat, this book is hilarious. After reading around 20% I told everyone I could think of that they just needed this book. At one point I was visiting my mum and we were both sat next to each other, Kindles in hand, laughing at the book and all of the crazy things that 'Tom' faces on a daily basis.

It's definitely a 'British' book, right down to humour, language and every day perception but that shouldn't deter any one else from reading it. Each chapter only spans 2 or 3 pages, and is basically a retelling of whatever madness happened that day on shift. Blood, Sweat and Tea deals with minor incidents that will have you laughing to the point of tears but that's not all. There are some serious issues dealt with in the book such as the death of babies and miscarriages, so be prepared for that if you decide to read it for yourself. It IS an enjoyable book though (for the most part) and gives a real insight into what the Ambulance Service in Britain has to deal with. I've since got 3 other people to read this book and nobody was disappointed!

I recently discovered there is a second book too so if you enjoy Blood, Sweat and Tea, make sure to check it out.


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