Author: Anita Shreve
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
EMT Peter Webster is worried he is losing his daughter, Rowan. She is a high school senior, and has been making bad choices. Peter has done the best he can with her, but he can’t help but think of her mother, Sheila, who left them when Rowan was just a baby. As things begin to spiral out of Peter’s control, he considers reaching out to the one person who might be able to help Rowan – Sheila herself.
I’ve read a few Anita Shreve books, and I do admire her as a writer. While I haven’t loved everything I’ve read by her (A Change in Altitude being a prime example), Testimony was an impressive and powerful book that still is with me today. After hearing mixed reviews of Rescue, I wasn’t sure what to think, so I went into the book with an open mind. While I didn’t love this book, I did enjoy the process of reading it.
I loved the character of Peter. Just as he rescues people in his job as an EMT, trying as hard as he can to save people’s lives, he wants to rescue those around him as well. This is what happens with Sheila – from the beginning, the reader knows that Peter tried (and failed) to “save” her. When Rowan seems to be starting down the same path, Peter is understandably worried. After all, Rowan is all that he has left.
Rescue was an interesting look into the life of an EMT. It’s a difficult life, and Peter describes the burnout that affects most people after just a few months. That is completely understandable, after seeing what Peter faces on a day-to-day basis. I appreciated this insight into working as an EMT, and for me it was the most interesting part of the novel.
There were also aspects I didn’t love about Rescue. It was predictable and a little bit cliché towards the end. It was simultaneously a quick read, yet very slow because overall, not a lot happens in the book, even as Shreve’s smooth writing helps the reader journey through it quickly. That being said, I still enjoyed the process of reading it. I got involved in Charlie’s journey, and though Rowan never endeared herself to me, that was enough to keep me interested in the novel. If you’re looking for a personal story, light and quick, but that will still make you think, this is a good novel to pick up.