walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Welcome to New Orleans ... How many shots did you hear?_, B.J. Schneider

After I read _A Thousand Naked Strangers_, I thought to myself, Self, you know a guy who rides ambulance. You should FB him and find out if he has an opinion of this book. He had not heard of it, but put it on his to read list, and recommended this one.

Schneider's book and Hazzard's have a variety of things in common and some important differences. Two southern cities, check -- Hazzard's book is in Atlanta, Schneider's in New Orleans and surrounding parishes. Two guys who you definitely do NOT want bored, check. Pranks appear during quiet times in both of them. Stories about fishing bodies out of water, check. Stories about people moving decomposed bodies without understanding what was about to happen next, check. Highly episodic in nature and both men appreciate how the world changed around them during their careers.

But big differences stand out, other than the relentless typos, word-os and other problems in Schneider's self-published (looks like he went with CreateSpace) work. Schneider seems to have traveled more and worked in more places. He seems to have had a much more traditional career path: Army, medic, cop. He had less of a Let's Climb to the Top of the local ladder orientation (Hazzard absorbed some sort of status system associated with working for Grady and pursued it, knowing it would burn him out ... and burning out). Perhaps because of all these differences, Schneider seems less angst-y than Hazzard. Or maybe that's an artifact of something else.

They are both very entertaining reads. Having read them both, I would urge anyone who finds themselves being transported in the care of medics to offer no violence to the medics. Because wow, some of these people apparently arrived at the hospital a lot worse off than when they were first loaded. I'm not blaming the medic -- who would? -- but geez. Don't be That Guy.

ETA: Last Monday, I also told my book group about Hazzard's book, and asked my friend A., who does some volunteer work for MERT (<-- not its real name, but I call the town I go to book group in Mayberry, so the Emergency Response Team in that town would logically then be MERT) if she knew the guy I know who rides ambulance. She does! Small world. In other small world stories, when T. and I were at the Starbucks in the new retail development in Littleton, I came back from the bathroom and realized that the table T. and I were sitting at was two tables away from M., who I know from walking around the block with my walking partner, a different M. We had a lovely chat. Small world, indeed! It makes all those ambulance stories in _Welcome to New Orleans ..._ in which the author goes to a call and sees a family member that much more believable, altho no less tragic.
Tags: book review, non-fiction

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