By Kerrie Mitchell
Updated December 14, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

In 1995, Buffalo, N.Y., firefighter Donny Herbert suffered severe brain damage after getting trapped in a roof collapse. He lingered in a near-vegetative state for nearly a decade, but made international news when he woke up and started speaking one day in April 2005. His life story, as told in The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up, has all the elements of a wrenching tragedy, from his working-class youth to his firehouse fraternity to the agonizing medical issues his family faced. But Rich Blake’s simplistic characterizations and uneven, oversentimental narrative don’t do Herbert justice. Even the rumored divine intervention of a would-be Catholic saint feels like an afterthought. C+