This one is personal for me.
In November of 2018 the Camp Fire raged, completely destroying Paradise, California. In short order, roughly 27,000 people lost nearly everything - and at least 85 lost their lives.
After such a horrific event, the victims and survivors, deserve to have their stories told. This book does that, but only sort of - and not very well.
I understand that with a tragedy of this magnitude, telling every single story is not possible. I believe they chose to focus on people who represented a wider cast. A firefighter who drove his bulldozer into the fire to do his job, a police officer who recorded with his body cam even as he thought he wouldn't make it out, a woman who left their home while her father stayed behind to fight the blaze, and a mother who had just given birth are among those chosen. There are many others we meet along the way, some survive and some do not. Still, the narrative left me feeling that, had I not already had a personal connection to the story, there was so much more missing.
One of my very good friends lived in Paradise then, and due to the miracle of her home surviving when nearly every other home in her neighborhood was destroyed, she lived there up until very recently with her husband and children. The photos and videos and maps she sent me that day, and in the days after their evacuation, are seared into my brain. I cried watching the video of her actual evacuation that she recorded as they drove; there literally really was fire everywhere. It terrified me for her even after I knew that she was safe, just seeing what she had seen. The stories she told of her various family members also evacuating that day were terrible, and I can't begin to imagine what it was like. Luckily they all survived, though most lost their homes and even beloved pets as the fire quickly spread.
Side note: my friend's sister and brother-in-law are mentioned in the book, yet much of the information is inaccurate, so it makes me wonder what else is not correct either.
Really, the fire was so massive and contains so many stories, that I expected more from the book. it came in at 229 pages. How is that possible for the most devastating fire in California's history, and the sixth worst fire in the history of the United States? The story isn't even over yet. The window to file lawsuits just closed at the end of March - three months ago.
I don't understand writing a book when the story isn't complete yet. The fire happened nearly three years ago now, so it's not like it was a rush job to make money of this big tragedy. Why not just wait for some kind of closure, then tell the WHOLE story?