December Book Review (shocking & side-splitting in equal measure)
“97-hour weeks. Life and death decisions. A constant tsunami of bodily fluids. And the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Welcome to the life of a Junior Doctor. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s diaries provide a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking.” ~ From the back cover
Not my usual genre, but a side effect of my addiction to Grey’s Anatomy is my fascination with all things medical - so I was intrigued to read about what life as a real life doctor is like as opposed to the (I imagine) unrealistic portrayal of drop dead gorgeous doctors sneaking off into store cupboards every few hours together for hot sex. Also I’m partial to a bit of satirical comedy and the reviews promised it would not disappoint on that front. The reviews were right.
I was hooked from page 1 and I flew through the book at an incredible speed, partly because its diary entry format makes it so easy to digest, but mainly because it’s so bloody hilarious and I couldn’t put it down. The authors dry wit and sarcasm appealed to my own wry humour and I devoured this book in its entirety, feeling pretty gutted when it came to an end! It was utterly addictive.
This book exceeded my expectations on the comedy front - I literally laughed out loud on a number of occasions, with the occasional loud gasp or shriek of “Oh my God!” at some of the cringeworthy-but-still-hilarious parts. Shocking and side-splitting in equal measure - from household objects stuck in places they shouldn’t be (seriously, a Fireman Sam sponge?) to unforgivable mistakes and horrifying blunders made by medical staff.
True to its word, it did sadden me in places, but as Dr. Kay specialised in Obs and Gynae (check me out, I know all the lingo - told you I was a massive Grey’s fan) or Obstetrics and Gynaecology, I readied myself for some mournful accounts of births that didn’t go to plan. As a mum of 3 whose babies were all born in NHS hospitals, I was once again reminded how bloody lucky I was to have had 3 normal pregnancies and births. Some of the mums and babies in this book were not so lucky, and I was horrified to learn about the true reality of staff shortages, and how overworked (and by the sounds of it underpaid) our amazing doctors are. As Kay reminded me, Doctor’s are still only human beings, and whilst they’re nothing short of amazing and save thousands of lives, they can’t perform miracles, despite our expectations of them having superhuman powers.
The book served as an incredible eye opener and acted as a poignant reminder of how easy it is to take the NHS and our doctors for granted. Especially when they’ve worked 18 hour shifts for 21 days on the trot and can barely remember their own names they’re that tired!
It shocked me how much is expected of Doctors, and how unbelievably (and worryingly) stretched they are. It was difficult to read the authors accounts of being the only experienced Consultant on shift one night, and having multiple emergencies in multiple rooms that all required his immediate attention (when the lives of the labouring mothers and unborn babies in each of these rooms were seriously at risk). The responsibility and pressure is inconceivable, and to do all this at the end of an unforgiving and gruelling shift is practically God like. It certainly shines a light on the reality of the NHS, a service we would be bloody lost without!
To conclude, this is a hilarious book but with a very real, very sobering message, one that we could all do with hearing. Get yourself a copy.
What have you read / what are you reading this month?
Much love, Fran xxx
"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking" ~ Haruki Murakami
ABOUT FRAN GRANT
Wife to a very lucky husband. Mum to 3 beautiful little boys. Gym, yoga and self care enthusiast. Lover of food, coffee, wine and gin. Self confessed bookworm and book hoarder. Advocate for keeping the magic of reading alive for today’s children. And last but not least - Writer (currently trying my hand at kids fiction and rhyming stories). Thanks for visiting my site - expect to see posts mainly related to reading and writing, with occasional musings about family, parenting and life in general. Oh, and plenty of book reviews! Hope you enjoy! Much love, Fran x