Boy, this was a wild ride from start to finish, laugh-out-loud funny but at the same time incredibly honest and deep. I picked this up at the charity book table in our local Sainsbury’s which is usually filled with the old lady erotic romance novels but I caught this out the corner of my eye whilst roaming past and for a mere 75p I bagged a £9.00 book. Bargain.
Kay begins telling us the ending from the start, he ended his career as a junior doctor in 2010 after twelve years of training and working with the NHS. This book details the gruesome and strangely interesting experiences of his time specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology. One of my favourite lines is regarding why Kay chose this path “in obstetrics you end up with twice the number of patients you started with, which is an unusually good batting average” – this set the tone for the book, sarcastic comments galore.
It’s difficult (I find) to get a genuine laugh from reading, but it appears I’m just reading the wrong books. This was hilarious. I was full on laughing at some of the diary entries, and even got my boyfriend to read parts of it and he hates to read (I know, I question it too). I loved the short snippets into the absurdity of some patients, it’s hard to believe some of these were genuine events but you couldn’t make this stuff up. We also encounter the longer more painful experiences, the last diary entry brought through so much pain I felt like I was right there going through it with him. His writing was so raw and powerful I ended up having to put the book down to have a little cry and hug my loved ones (at the time this just included my two dogs). Considering Kay hasn’t written a book before (if we don’t include his contribution Rapid Obstetrics and Gynaecology published in 2003) he has an amazing set of writing skills that I can only dream of should I ever publish a book.
I would recommend this book to everyone, it’s funny, it’s thought provoking but most of all it’s real. This book brings you up close and personal with the life of a junior doctor and the trials they face everyday that we couldn’t begin to understand, until Kay published this book. Reading this book should be on everyone’s bucket list, pay special attention to the afterword, the NHS is an important part of our country something we 100% take advantage of and if more of us could have the view that Adam Kay has then we may be able to save it. Even if you don’t have this view, it’s still a really good laugh.
Adam Kay is publishing a further book about the NHS experience but more specifically the Christmas period. “Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas” is expected mid-late October and you can bet your bottom-dollar I will be picking that up in a heartbeat.