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Book cover of Pain & Wastings

Pain & Wastings

by Carrie Mac

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Library Binding
ISBN: 9781551439068

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Synopsis of Pain & Wastings

"First dead person, kid?" John says as he pulls the ambulance into traffic. I decide not to answer him, because I don't want to get into it. I eye Holly, but she's not answering for me. How much does she know? At fifteen, Ethan is on the fast track to nowhere. In and out of group homes and constantly in trouble, Ethan is fighting to find a sense of who he is. After breaking into an amusement park and being savaged by a police dog, he is befriended by a paramedic. Offered a choice of court or going on a ride-along in an ambulance, Ethan takes what he thinks is the easy way out. On Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Ethan comes face to face with the horrific truth from his past and must learn to deal with where he came from - and where he is going.

Children's Literature

Ethan Kirby, sixteen-year-old orphan and ward of the state, lives in the Harbor House with ten other teenagers. He and his best friend Harvir decide to break into an amusement park and climb the Ferris wheel, but the cops catch them before Ethan can climb up. The policemen send Harvir to juvie, but they take Ethan back to the Harbor House. When Ethan's social worker arranges for him to go on four shifts as a ride-along helper in an ambulance, he meets Holly, one of the paramedics who tells him that she knew his mother. From then on, Ethan begins to remember parts of his past that he has tried so hard to forget. In the end, Ethan must decide whether to remember and begin to cope with his past, or to keep it locked inside and let it continue to inflict emotional damage. Throughout this story, Ethan makes a dramatic change by confronting his past and learning to deal with it. When we first meet Ethan, he has only ever told Harvir what happened to him, but by the end of the story, he has learned to talk through his problems and face up to them. Carrie Mac did an excellent job of creating a character whom readers can understand and with whom they can identify. As an emergency paramedic, Carrie Mac was able to give the reader an authentic look into the life of paramedics as well. Reviewer: Rachel Geene

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