The front cover of The Gap by Benjamin Gilmour promises the story of “a paramedic’s summer on the edge” – and it delivers.
See, The Gap is the name of a notorious suicide spot, a clifftop at Sydney’s Watson’s Bay. For the summer of 2008, Gilmour worked as a paramedic based out of the nearest ambulance station. This is his memoir, and Penguin Random House Australia was kind enough to send me a copy for review.
Again and again, he circles back around to The Gap, where 50+ people die by suicide each year. The paramedic’s job is usually to talk them down, sometimes to help with retrieving a body, or informing loved ones.
Gilmour wrote this book, from his detailed notes and diaries, at the urging of fellow paramedics, who want to open a conversation about suicide and mental health in this country. It’s a shocking and eye-opening account of the toll that being the knight in shining armour can take.