Series: Blood, Sweat and Tea #2
Publisher: The Friday Project
Released: May 1, 2009
The sequel to the bestselling memoir Blood, Sweat Tea.
Tom Reynolds is an ambulance worker.
On any given day he can be attacked by strangers, sworn at by motorists, puked on, covered in blood and other much more unpleasant substances. He could help to deliver a baby in the morning and witness the last moments of a dying man in the afternoon. He deals with road accidents, knife attacks, domestic violence, drug overdoses, neglect and suffering.
And you think you’re having a bad day at work?
Tom blogs about his experiences at the end of each shift. His Random Acts of Reality website has a huge following with over 30,000 visitors every day. He is an internet legend and a remarkable writer.
His first book, Blood, Sweat Tea came out of nowhere to be a surprise bestseller in 2006. Readers were stunned by the stories he had to tell and impressed by the sheer quality of his writing. Critics who sneer at blogs-to-books have never read this one.
More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea charts the past two years of Tom’s life as an ambulance worker. He is tired, he is frustrated and he is more pissed off than ever but he still manages to capture the more moving, heartwarming and inspirational moments alongside the chaos.
More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea is the followup to Blood, Sweat and a Cup of Tea, and has the same format: a collection of blog posts from the guy known on the internet as Tom Reynolds. Tom works in the London Ambulance Service, and through his blog posts he tells the stories of the dramatic, scary, funny, tragic, and silly things that happen during his work hours.
As with the first book, this book gives a behind the scenes look at how the ambulance service works. In itself that makes the book worthwhile if you are a bit of a behind-the-scenes geek. One of the things that struck me with the first book, and stuck with me for some time after, was the increased awareness of mortality, accidents, death, tragedy, and so on. This book does have some heart-breaking and disturbing stories, but fewer than what can be found in the first book.
What the book does have are more stories that are heart-breaking in a different way. In place of second-hand accounts recounting the pain of those who have lost their loved ones, we get the first-hand account of an ambulance worker who feels trapped in a system that doesn’t allow for him to help people as much as he wishes he could. Quite a few of the blog posts make powerful political points which are made all the more poignant by the real-life stories that back them up. This probably makes the book harder to like, but in the best way possible. I wouldn’t say it is more challenging than the first book, but it is challenging for different reasons.
(Yes, I am implying that a handful of people will probably be more disgusted by views that differ from their own than they would be by stories about internal organs falling out of bodies.)
In any case, I came away from the book feeling extremely thankful that people like the author care enough to do the underpaid, thankless and extremely important job that they do. I also came away from it feeling sorry for the author, appreciating his frustration at not being able to help as much as he would like to. However, having browsed over to his blog I found that he has since moved on to a different job where he gets to provide deeper care for society’s most vulnerable, rather than having to perpetually save their lives due to a lack of proper care. He is probably still under-appreciated and underpaid, but hopefully he is happier, and an invaluable help to those fortunate enough to get it.
Both the Blood, Sweat and Cup of Tea books are available for free in a bunch of e-reader formats (including through Amazon), and I recommend them both.