Review of ‘Fire Woman’ by Josephine Reynolds

I finished this book in 24 hours! It was an interesting and easy read. The author, Jo, joined the fire service in 1982 aged seventeen and is described as Britain’s first female firefighter. She was also the first woman qualified to drive a fire engine.

The book describes Jo’s early life and career, focusing on the gruelling training and what it was like to be the only woman on the team in Norfolk. There are plenty of anecdotes, both funny ones and sad. I enjoyed the writing style, which was friendly and authentic. Even the chapter titles were enjoyable, being named after apt songs, such as ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Road to Nowhere’, ‘Making Plans for Nigel’, ‘Shock the Monkey’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’.

I hadn’t heard of the author before I read the book. I’d assumed it would cover a long and progressive career in the fire service, so I couldn’t help being disappointed when the memoir stopped in 1988 when Jo left the fire service to go adventure travelling. An afterword would have been good, to let us know a little of what happened to her since… or maybe she could write a sequel? I would definitely read it.

Published in 2017 by Michael O’Mara Books.

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