This week we look at an intriguing book about a female firefighter dealing with fires both physical and metaphorical. This week, we’re looking at Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center.
One of my favorite songs growing up and even to this day has been Garth Brooks’ Standing Outside the Fire. For me, it has always been a source of inspiration to overcome any obstacle set before me – no matter what it is, where it comes from, how hard the solution is, or anything else. But what does it have to do with a book about a female firefighter? Don’t firefighters make it a habit of standing inside fires?
Well, in this book our heroine has a problem. You see, we open up with her being awarded her city’s most prestigious award for valor for her efforts in saving a group of kids no one else could. She truly is among the best, if not the best, firefighters in her (not small) town – of any gender. But she’s standing outside the fire in her relationships. She got metaphorically burned pretty damned severely on her 16th birthday by multiple people, and a decade later she hasn’t managed to move on. She’s acted like she has, and she’s become a “model citizen”. To the outside world, she is perfectly awesome. But because she’s been outside the fire and has yet to actually deal with the burns she got on her 16th birthday… her life is about to spiral out of the tight control she’s maintained over it for the last decade.
In the process, she’ll grow. She’ll learn things about everyone involved in the dumpster fire of her 16th birthday, she’ll meet new people and learn about them, and most importantly she’ll learn things about herself.
Overall an excellent tale that uses a reliable and relatable first person narrator well. Very much recommended.
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Standing Outside the Fire. Wow. This tale about a female firefighter’s struggles both personally and professionally was simply amazing. Told almost in memoir format, the tale picks up when our narrator is at an awards gala to receive the highest honor her Department has to offer. When things go a bit awry, she heads thousands of miles away to help her sick mother and hide. Little does she know that in the process of doing both, she will find things are more complicated than she ever dared imagine – and find strength even she never knew she had. Firefighters try to stay outside of fires unless necessary, and tend not to stay in them longer than absolutely necessary to do the job. But this tale gives new life to the old Garth Brooks song, in all the best ways. Again, simply amazing.