A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard

Kevin Hazzard and his wife, Sabrina were living a safe, quiet life in Atlanta in 2001. Kevin was working as a reporter, while Sabrina was working her way up the corporate ladder. In the aftermath of 9/11, Hazzard became restless. He felt the need to step out of his comfort zone, to test himself. It took seven years, but ultimately the author found himself in emergency medical training (EMT) school not because he had a burning passion to be an EMT, but because he wanted to “get hip-deep in the things that matter.”

A Thousand Naked Strangers is fantastic. The journey that Hazzard takes his readers on is moving, harrowing, emotional and darkly funny. You feel his intimidation and terror in the early days as an EMT when he is certain he will be the cause of someone’s death. You celebrate with Kevin when he masters life as an EMT and eventually becomes a medic. But you also follow him in to the depths of burnout when he is simply going through the motions.

This memoir is one of the best I have read in the past year. I gained a new appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to blindly entering life-or-death situations, having to be ready for anything, and they truly do face anything and everything. Truth is much stranger than fiction, and you will discover that fact while reading through Kevin’s journey of self-discovery.  However, I must warn you, A Thousand Naked Strangers is not for anyone who is squeamish over the mere mention of blood. Real life emergencies are described in great detail. I do hope readers can get passed that because this book is about so much more than that. You will be reminded of just how beautiful and fragile life is and laugh along the way.

~ Leslie M.