Book Review Saturday: Memoirs of a Public Servant

“They never had an opportunity to fight back, to look their enemy in the eyes while engaging them in combat. Their wives are without husbands, and their children are without fathers. The community lost protectors, servants and heroes.”

This book was brought to my attention by a family member who shares my love for reading. In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, she was looking for a way to contribute or give back. Purchasing this book and sharing it with others was her small way of contributing. Memoirs of a Public Servant was written by Charleston Hartfield, the off-duty police officer killed on the strip slightly over a month ago. This book was published in July 2017 only a few months before his tragic death. I was hesitant at first to pick it up because in full disclosure, my boyfriend is a police officer. I hear the stories, I know what he sees and how people treat and view him. We live in different time now. Public servants are viewed with hostility and the level of respect for the profession is low. Hartfield touched on this topic and even presented his ideas for changing the narrative.

His memoirs were his outlet from his day to day life. If you have met anyone in the public service field then you know the stuff they see stays with them. An outlet is necessary for coping and stress relief. The stories bounce from various years but tell a story all their own. He focused on details of specific calls, his family life and even his off-duty gigs. He wrote about the tragic loss of two officers, shot while they were eating dinner on shift. He mentioned several times how important it is to live life to the fullest because you never know how short your time is. It seems like he knew something was going to happen, like the possibility was higher somehow. He discussed his military career and hoped that he might publish his memories to bring perspective and peace of mind to others. We learn about some of his partners, the comradery of the blue family and how important being a husband and father were to him.

This book boasts several grammar errors but they add to the authenticity of his writing. I can picture him walking in after shift, dwelling on the day and needing to type away the worry. I think people forget that officers are regular people. He worked hard, went home, and tried to do the best he could for his family like everyone else in America. He and his fellow officers are taken for granted for the small things they do, the things that make the biggest difference. He took the time to talk to people, to listen before he judged and tried to help all those he met. He called it “concrete preaching” and talked to people about their future and their decisions and tried to guide them in the right direction. He didn’t lose patience, or consider them a lost cause. He believed in his ability to make a difference and this memoir will be his stamp on the world.

I didn’t have a hard time getting through the book. Once I finished reading and began my research on the author is when it became all too real. There are so many news articles and videos about Hartfield that are just heartbreaking. I had to close my laptop and walk away before writing this review. I know that my purchase of this book does not make a huge difference. My only hope is that someone else will read this and then tell their friend about it. We need to bring awareness and perspective to those that are reliant on the media instead of their own research. There are always going to be bad people in the world, but do not throw everyone into that box. Give them a chance to prove themselves to you. Do not pass judgement. And as the book ended, so shall I: “To the WORLD you may be but ONE person, but to ONE person you may be the WORLD.”

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Tatiana and Alexander

  
 

“We walk alone through this world, but if we’re lucky, we have a moment of belonging to something, to someone, that sustains us through a lifetime of loneliness.”

If you haven’t read the Bronze Horseman, please stop reading this review and run to your nearest bookstore and begin reading immediately. I’m serious, it’s that good. I have just finished the second book in the trilogy (probably close to 1300 pages between the two books in less than 10 days), and I am emotionally and mentally unable to continue with the world around me until I finish the third book. After I cried, (yes, cried…you’ll understand once you have read) I found myself unable to open the third book because then this would all be over. I would no longer be a part of Tatiana and Alexander’s constant struggle to be with one another. I am in Leningrad, I am watching the war play out, I am at Ellis Island, and I am wherever they are. Paullina Simons, you are amazing! I truly haven’t read a book that has left me this “hungover” in so long. I have a hunger for all things Russian, and I am truly sad to start the end of my journey. You will fall in love, you will cry, you will want to punch someone. Embrace it all, and do yourself a favor and do it quickly!!

I am going to need Russian suggestions to keep from crying when this is over…Any suggestions are appreciated! What is your favorite love story? What book made you feel something?