Today’s book review is for one of my top reads of 2020. It wasn’t a book I expected to pick up; in fact, it was a an impromptu loan from a work colleague after they read it and enjoyed it in lockdown.
And boy, am I glad I took them up on the loan! It’s not often that I read non-fiction, or anything even remotely like this book. But sometimes, branching out pays off and honestly I loved loved loved this book! There is a definite British pride in the NHS but I think it often under-appreciated how much has to go into it in order for us to be able to access it. This book rips away the veil and gives an honest insight into what it means to be a doctor… what it costs to be a doctor, and I don’t just mean financially. You would be wrong to think that this is a dry, one interesting diary of the slog that is the medical profession. Oh no. Adam Kay is absolutely hilarious and as I’m sure you can imagine, his experience as an Obs and Gyn doctor provides no end of humour along the way!
This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller and Humour Book of the Year
Winner of the Books Are My Bag Book of the Year
Winner of iBooks’ Book of the Year
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
As seen on ITV’s Zoe Ball Book Club
This edition includes extra diary entries and a new afterword by the author.
I would never have thought that a book could be tearjerking and completely hilarious all at the same time. Each daily chapter is different to the next, as can be expected really. Every day is different and brings along new patients and challenges. Probably one of the most common challenges of the job are the patients themselves, and the stupid things they have done to themselves to land them in the care of the NHS. Slightly red-faced, no doubt!
The book isn’t all humour though. It’s gritty, and it’s real and unfortunately in such a profession there are bad days as well as good days. Some patients get to walk out a little embarrassed but otherwise well, and yet others have far more to worry about. This book did make me cry. At one time the author was looking after a patient who found out they were terminally ill. He spent several hours of his day after he clocked off helping patient come to terms with their diagnosis and to help them make a plan for the inevitable. In his own time. If that doesn’t make you realise the kind of people the NHS is made up of then nothing will.
This is going to hurt is truly an emotional rollercoaster. Yet between the humour and the sad stories lies the bigger truth that the service we all rely on is understaffed and underfunded. Those in the profession often work ridiculous hours and overtime on top for the good of their patients. They have little to no social or personal lives themselves (over the course of the book and seven Christmases, the author got just one year off duty…)
What this book makes clear is that the staff who keep the NHS going sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. In the wake of the events of the last year and the ongoing pandemic across the world, it’s all the more important to remember their sacrifices and to appreciate them! Adam Kay continues to campaign to raise awareness of the state of the NHS and his afterword tries to rally people to the cause. It is a topic that is being discussed now. Those of you who watched the BRIT awards recently will have heard the first of Dua Lipa’s acceptance speeches, in which she highlighted that it was one thing to clap for the NHS staff and another to pay them!
In a way, This is Going to Hurt is a call to arms, but it’s also an absolutely hilarious read. It’s a complex book, because on the face of it, it appears to be a light-hearted humorous account of Adam Kay’s time is a junior doctor. Yet under the surface, there is a poignant message that can also be taken from it. I love the book for both sides and I hope other readers out there do too.
This is Going to Hurt, rightfully so, was one of my top reads of last year and it is a book I know I will pick up again and again and again. And I’m sure I’ll have the same rollercoaster journey each and every time. I’m looking forward to it!