Review: The Application of Pressure by Rachael Mead

The Application of Pressure brings a very human--and refreshing--side to the kinds of things that we usually hear about in the news. Tash and Joel are paramedics, the people who work on the front line and see all kinds of things, people and situations during a routine shift. Most of the chapters revolve around an emergency of some sort and the effect that it has their mental health and their personal relationships. Both Tash and Joel have a very different approach to life, but with their shared experiences and dark humour, they may just be able to help one another get through.

Told in short chapters that (usually) involve one emergency or another, The Application of Pressure is a fast paced and insightful read, that shows the very human side to those who work on the front line. Joel and Tash (and a few others,) have experiences that are frightening (at one point, Joel witnesses a murder,) touching (Rob gives his son a call after helping a very similar young man,) and sometimes just show the real person who is doing a tough job. (The chapter where Tash gets kicked out of her book club had me raising my fist in the air and cheering. I love how she handled that particular situation.)  

The greatest strength of the story however, is setting. The Adelaide setting and the author's familiarity with the locations mentioned--whether it be Hindley Street, the Zoo, the Adelaide Hills or the North-Eastern suburbs--shows. There are many small subtle things that will be familiar to anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in Adelaide, and I loved the tall tale about the alligator at Adelaide Zoo. 

Overall, this is a moving, insightful read that shows the humanity behind those who work on the front lines. 

Highly recommended.

Thank you to Affirm Press for my ARC of The Application of Pressure

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2020


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