“A love story and a war story that will cut the chords of your heart. It's gut-wrenching, honest, sassy, funny, honorable, brutal, ornery, defiant, and incendiary all at once. In spanning the years between 9/11 and Covid, Murphy accesses both the tiny and the epic truth. Her book is a tribute to first responders but also an indictment of the world they live in. The rescuers go out to rescue, but Murphy shows us that they need rescuing too. Reminiscent of Mary Karr, Richard Price, Sarah Vowell and other great voices of our times, Murphy has her finger on the pulse of who and where we are now. This is literary street medicine at its very best.”
– Colum McCann
“First Responder tracks Jennifer Murphy – both Everywoman and a singularly appealing, hugely big-hearted and fiercely ethical wiseass – on her path to becoming an EMT before COVID hits and she runs head-on into New York City’s tsunami of medical trauma. It’s a dazzling ride full of jaw-dropping sacrifice, outrage, and lunacy that allows us to glimpse the wild gratitude of being able to share such a burden with others equally as selfless and courageous in their service to the greater good.”
– Jim Shepard, author of The Book of Aron
“It is rare that a book is 100% necessary. Even rarer is the necessary book that’s also gripping. Jennifer Murphy’s First Responder is that book – it tells us what we need to know right now. The book’s a stunningly written journey into the lives of those we need to thank, and never can enough. I wish everyone in the country would read it.”
– Darin Strauss, NBCC-winning author of Half a Life and The Queen of Tuesday
“First Responder is a unique document: a warm-hearted, intimate, unflinching, often funny memoir of a novice EMT in NYC in the months up to & including the onslaught of the COVID19 virus. Jennifer Murphy is a wonderful writer, baring her soul to us in irresistibly readable prose even as she chronicles a sequence of harrowing emergencies. Think Bring Out The Dead from a female/feminist perspective.”
– Joyce Carol Oates
"Jennifer Murphy’s First Responder, the fast-paced memoir of an EMT, is primed to act—from beginning to end. The author renders a testimony to the most urgent moments of intervention in the big city. Through this first hand account, Murphy, who is also a keen-witted writer and reader, responds in a language that penetrates through the adrenaline of pain and witness. This speaker, who is always alert, also performs a true reflection, even while driven by the speed and force of a New York City siren."
– Yusef Komunyakaa, Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth
"First Responder is part memoir and part EMT tutorial, making for a timely and intriguing offering."
"Murphy offers a window into the world of EMTs, describing the grief and chaos that come with being a first responder (along with some unexpected, but necessary, moments of humor)."
"Touching on issues of race, gender, and related pay disparities among first responders in post-9/11 New York City, First Responder digs deep into Murphy’s experiences, as well as the lives of others in her profession."