What I’m Reading: Riding the Lightning

I was looking for a book that wasn’t historical fiction.  I’ve said before that it’s my favorite genre but it is also taxing to read as it’s often very emotional.  So what did I pick instead?  Riding the Lightning:  A Year in the Life of a New York City Paramedic by Anthony Almojera.


I am often drawn to the First Responder and medical books.  I think that’s because my husband was a volunteer First Responder and Fireman and two of my daughters are nurses.

I love the book…it was so interesting.  The paramedic that wrote the book shares a lot about his own personal family and also shared his experience living and working in New York when Covid 19 first hit.

If I really wanted a book that wasn’t emotionally taxing to read, this is one I shouldn’t have picked.  Oh my.  I feel terrible for the Emergency Medical Services personnel that were on the front lines when we all knew so little about the virus.

Here is what Amazon had to say:
As a seasoned paramedic and union leader, Anthony Almojera thought he could handle anything his job threw at him. Like many medical first responders, he came from a troubled background and carried the traumas of the city as well as its triumphs. He had grown up in the rough-and-tumble Park Slope of the 1980s, been homeless for a time, and had watched murder, addiction, and hopelessness consume those closest to him. But he had dedicated his life to helping people in need, and while every day was filled with tragedy—stabbings, shootings, accidents, suicides—it also brought moments of uplift: births, resuscitations, and rescues that reminded Anthony and his coworkers why EMS was the most thrilling job on earth, even if the pay was lousy and the hours were long.

So when a strange new virus began spreading in New York, Anthony and his fellow medics were ready. They had done the biohazard drills; they knew the procedures, and how to handle the sick and the bereaved. They believed that their lives and training had prepared them for this new challenge. But the months ahead would prove them wrong and would push New York’s EMS workers, and Anthony himself, to the breaking point—and beyond.

Following one paramedic into hell and back, Riding the Lightning tells the story of New York City’s darkest days through the eyes of its frontline medical workers and the community they serve: ordinary people who will continue to make New York an extraordinary place long after it has been reborn from the ashes of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Amazon readers gave the book 4.7 stars.  There are only 50 reviews as the book only came out in June of 2022.  I would give the book the same 4.7 stars.  It was a good one and I loved listening to the story of a true front-line worker told in his own voice.

If you are interested in the book, you can find it HERE.

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