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Fighting Fire Paperback – October 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Paul conveys the emotions of both fear of and attraction to danger that she believes drive dedicated firefighters.
From School Library Journal
YA-When Paul graduated from Stanford, her degree in journalism and her application to graduate school seemed to indicate a career path other than the one she actually took. On the spur of a moment, she decided to apply for a position as a firefighter and go through the testing and training required, planning to use the firsthand information as material she could talk and write about. She then chose on firefighting as a career. Her journalistic training results in a readable writing style that's filled with description and action. Important moments become alive with emotion and clearly defined details; the dangers inherent in the job, as well as the courage and bravery and physical and mental strength are all in evidence. The author is quick to point out the many difficulties about being a female firefighter, along with the positive aspects. Not only must she continually prove to her coworkers that she can indeed do the job well; she must also prove it to herself. Her easy-to-read narrative that's filled with real action and true situations should appeal to young adults. Paul presents herself and all firefighters, male or female, as dedicated professionals who put their lives on the line everyday.
Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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First of all, she begins the book by mentioning her sexual escapades with a girl in college. Is that really necessary to the tale of becoming a firefighter, or did she just throw that in to sell a few extra copies of this book?? Next, not only does she take her testing with SFFD lightly, she repeatedly insults the profession throughout the book, all the way to the end. She grimaces with distaste and embarrassment that it is "blue collar work", god forbid! What will her Stanford friends think? Gasp!
Furthermore, she seems high maintenanced and hyper sensitive when relating to the men of the department. She waxes on for years about some stupid fire station prank that a captain pulled on her. In my department, if you never have any good natured pranks pulled on you, you basically are not perceived as part of the family! It's a GOOD thing to be part of the jokes, and a healthy boost to morale.
For a Stanford graduate, she seems to really have a hard time grasping simple concepts. "What does this mean?" seems to be her mantra throughout the book. This is not rocket science, it's firefighting. While academy certainly gives us a lot of information to process, it's pretty basic concepts!
Finally, I find it hard to like her as a person due to her seemingly high level of conceit, which she unsuccessfully tries to disguise as modesty. She never fails to inform the reader of how beautiful or talented she is. Granted, the female firefighters of yesterday deserve to pat themselves on the back for making it a bit easier for us now, and I am truly humbled when in the presence of those female captains today. But Paul is a far cry from those aggressive women who refused to let a boys club like the fire department keep them out, fighting for their profession because they saw it as a noble and meaningful one. Paul is the opposite of the kind of women I seek out to train and mentor me, and I feel she gives women in the fire service the kind of negative press that anti-diversifying departments crave.
SF has unusual challenges to the firefighter, such as: tall, steep roofs on crazy-quilt 3-story buildings; lead and other toxics from the 19th Century; crazy people getting into chemical problems, and so much more.
Quite an intellectual memoir, unusual in this genre. An objective account and interesting reading, even if you disagree with the current bureaucratic fire hierarchy and their "fire brigade" ideas.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm doing this book as my book-club-book. I've told the members to read either this edition, or the revised one.