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In Case of Emergency
by Courtney Moreno


Overview - What do you do when you can't function? After rookie EMT Piper Gallagher responds to a call outside a Los Angeles shopping mall for a man who can only tell her, "I can't function," the question begins to haunt her. How will Piper continue to function despite the horror she sees working in South Central, and despite her own fractured past?  Read more...

 
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More About In Case of Emergency by Courtney Moreno
 
 
 
Overview
What do you do when you can't function? After rookie EMT Piper Gallagher responds to a call outside a Los Angeles shopping mall for a man who can only tell her, "I can't function," the question begins to haunt her. How will Piper continue to function despite the horror she sees working in South Central, and despite her own fractured past? And how will the woman Piper loves continue to function as she experiences the aftershocks of her time spent serving in Iraq? Piper's experiences as a rookie break her down and open her up as her genuine urge to help patients confronts the daily realities of life in the back of an ambulance and a hospital's hallways. This vivid and visceral debut is a rich study in trauma--in its causes and effects, in its methods and disguises, in its power and its pull.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781940450261
  • ISBN-10: 1940450268
  • Publisher: McSweeney's
  • Publish Date: September 2014
  • Page Count: 274
  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women
Books > Fiction > Medical

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-06-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this confident, well-paced debut novel, Moreno uses the story of a young woman involved in the exacting world of medicine, biology, and first-response care to examine themes of family and romance. After a devastating breakup and a string of dead-end jobs, 28-year-old Piper Gallagher finds work as an EMT, serving violence-riddled South Central Los Angeles. Piper stumbles through her first weeks on the job—freezing during emergencies, bungling CPR, mistaking stabbing victims for loved ones—but gradually establishes a sense of confidence and acquires extensive knowledge of human biology. Along the way, she offers expositions on various organs (ears, lungs, skin, heart) in language both lyrical and eerie (for example, the “lapping of cerebrospinal fluid bathing your brain”). The theme of trauma, meanwhile, extends to Piper’s personal life. Her new girlfriend, Ayla, is a brain-damaged Iraq War vet fending off vestigial symptoms of PTSD, and Piper and her brother, Ryan, are haunted by the memory of their mother, who abandoned them as children and subsequently died. Moreno deftly weaves the themes of medicine and family together, probing the extent to which science can and can’t help us care for one another. Piper and Ryan lack definition as characters, but a cast of fully realized supporting actors, including Piper’s no-BS instructor, Ruth, and case-hardened partner, William, keep this story’s heart beating. (Sept.)

 
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