Kurt L. Kamm,
One Foot in the Black: A Wildland Firefighter's Story
(Lulu, 2007)

Kurt Kamm knows very well what it means to be a firefighter.

His book is an account of a firefighter's life story that unfolds in the childhood years of the main character, Greg, who suffers abuse by his violent father, who also is a firefighter. The whole story revolves around this traumatic experience of Greg, who consequently becomes a firefighter himself.

The story involves social issues that assist in shaping the hero's behavior and personality and shed light into the issue of domestic violence. Despite the abusive family surroundings, Greg manages to live and find the courage to start a new life. The author makes his hero brave enough to go on with his life and seek the love and happiness he was deprived of during his early years at home.

The characters in this story come to life and "speak" as if real persons. Written in the first-person, this story reads a bit like a personal diary -- more lively, intimate and direct than third-person prose that helps bridge the distance between the characters and readers.

The author uses clear, everyday language, so this story is easy to read and can keep the reader's interest intact from start to finish. It is interesting to learn about firefighting and get to know the rules and lifestyle of a U.S. firefighter. There are some hard scenes at times -- but sensitive ones, too -- as the hero of the story makes the reader feel his emotions and expectations of life. Realistic as it is, it could be read as a nonfiction story rather than fiction. This story touches the hearts of readers who sympathize with the plight of Greg, who seems to be so desperate for love. Was it this need that made him become a firefighter?

It caters to a wide audience, and especially to those who love to get informed about the firefighters' lives.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Liana Metal

31 January 2009

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