Bad Call: A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance by Mike Scardino

This book is so gross and so irresistible!


Bad Call by Mike Scardino
True Story
Released July 2018
Amazon | Goodreads | Better World Books 
An adrenaline-fueled read that will stay with you long after you turn the final page. BAD CALL is a memoir about working on a New York City ambulance in the 1960s. 

Bad Call is Mike Scardino's visceral, fast-moving, and mordantly funny account of the summers he spent working as an "ambulance attendant" on the mean streets of late-1960s New York.

Fueled by adrenaline and Sabrett's hot dogs, young Mike spends his days speeding from one chaotic emergency to another. His adventures take him into the middle of incipient race riots, to the scene of a plane crash at JFK airport and into private lives all over Queens, where New Yorkers are suffering, and dying, in unimaginable ways. Learning on the job, Mike encounters all manner of freakish accidents (the man who drank Drano, the woman attacked by rats, the man who inflated like a balloon), meets countless unforgettable New York characters, falls in love, is nearly murdered, and gets an early and indelible education in the impermanence of life and the cruelty of chance.

Action-packed, poignant, and rich with details that bring Mike's world to technicolor life, Bad Call is a gritty portrait of a bygone era as well as a bracing reminder that, though "life itself is a fatal condition," it's worth pausing to notice the moments of beauty, hope, and everyday heroism along the way. 

My Thoughts:

This is a morbidly fascinating book if you are into gross and disturbing and strange true accounts of real life horror (yeah, that’s me). It takes a lot to gross me out but this book managed to do it. I do not recommend reading it while eating breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.

Mike Scardino worked as what he calls an “Ambulance Attendant” to help fund his college tuition in the late ‘60’s. I think he wishes he hadn’t because by time the book ends, he seemed truly scarred for life after seeing and smelling some truly revolting and heartbreaking sights. The writing is unpolished but that is not a criticism. It felt natural, raw and almost like a personal journal. I love that it wasn’t scrubbed clean. My only complaint was the lack of question marks throughout the text. The lack of them kept tripping me up.

It’s not uplifting in any way and there’s only a wee bit of humor sprinkled throughout. The overall feel of the book once you’ve finished is pretty bleak, truth be told. People are stupid and have lousy self-preservation skills, yeah, but terrible things happen to everyone and there’s no stopping them usually. Babies fall out of windows, diabetes will come for your limbs, you will die and maybe no one will notice until the flies start to breed. Bad Call (and they’re mostly all bad calls here) is absorbing and once you start it’s oh-so-hard to look away but once you’re done you’ll want to find something to make yourself happy. If you like this kind of thing you’ll know it and you’ll want to get yourself a copy of this book.

Here are a few quotes to ruin your day (you’re welcome):

“What often bothers me more than seeing how people die is seeing how they live.”

And this one, it’s my favorite.

“Something is a little unsettling. It’s his blood. The way it feels.

It feels good. Warm as it is. Running down my hand and arm on this in seasonably cold night. Nice and warm. It feels really good.

God help me. What the hell is happening to me.”


Just pretend there’s a question mark there at the end, ok?!


Comments

  1. Wow, that sounds emotional. That's not a job that I could do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, I could not do it either. It sounds unbelievably grueling. Emotionally and physically.

      Delete
  2. Definitely not something I would like, but I'll have to tell my husband about it since he reads almost exclusively non-fiction. He's a volunteer EMT, so he may actually enjoy it. And I'm almost positive he could eat while reading it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He might find it very interesting lunch break reading, then, lol!

      Delete
  3. I could never do that job! (But I admire the people who can.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds crazy! Not sure this is for me, but thanks for sharing your thoughts?? ha ha I guess that was the incorrect use of ? mark.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, sounds like a tough read! And pretty bleak. "woman attacked by rats" yikes. I thought this might be kind of morbidly funny but after reading your review I guess it's not very funny! Still sounds like a super interesting read, if a little depressing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it would be a little lighter as well as that's how it was pitched to me but it was fascinating so I'm not sorry I read it.

      Delete
  6. Call me morbid, but I'm always fascinated by books or shows like this. I'd like to read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, same here! I hope you get a chance to read it.

      Delete
  7. Wasn't this book great?! Some of the visuals in this book really stay with you. I remember that I kept wanting to read just one more chapter until there were no more chapters. Glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, that guy melted into the carpet? Yikes, that'll never leave my brain.

      Delete
  8. I dread to think the sights they saw on call. It gives me the shudders.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such terrible sights to behold. They can't possibly pay these people enough.

      Delete
  9. So this sounds like a train wreck that once you see, you can't look away from. I'm morbidly curious. I have to admit, when I investigated child abuse and neglect for 14 years, I saw a lot of things I'd like to forget. This sounds like one of those books. I may check it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it's not an easy read but you are probably going to find it hard to put down.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review: The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

Review: Someone to Share My Nightmares: Stories by Sonora Taylor

What I Read In August