Book Review: This Is Going to Hurt (Prime Student Book Club ‘Book of the Term’)

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. This is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

I’ve not sat down for twelve hours, let alone rested my eyes, my dinner’s sitting uneaten in my locker and I’ve just called a midwife ‘Mum’ by accident… Crash call to a labour ward room. The husband was dicking around on a birthing ball and fell off, cracking his skull on the ground.

Firstly, hey, it’s ya gal back on her book bullsh*t. The world sure has turned into an apocalyptic nightmare since I last wrote! Secondly, a big thanks to Amazon Prime for sending me a copy of Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt which is ‘Book of the Term’ for Prime Student Book Club.

It seems oddly fitting in these particularly chaotic Coronavirus times to be reviewing a book that is essentially about the NHS and all the exhausting and excellent work their staff do. The NHS has been a constant presence in my life. My mother is healthcare worker and my father was in and out of hospitals for various cancer related operations while I was growing up so I am forever grateful for all the NHS does. I’m all about giving back so if there are any cute doctors out there hmu, please and thanks 😂

But in all seriousness, Adam Kay’s memoir is probably the most hilarious, yet heartbreaking book I’ve read in a loooong time. Admittedly, I don’t tend to read much non-fiction so it takes something truly special to actually grip me and This is Going to Hurt was just that!

However, buyer beware: it’s not for the faint of heart. Finishing it in just two days, I couldn’t tear myself away from the pages packed full of births, blood and bad language. I’ve seen several people critiquing Kay’s rather obscene language in his takes on topics that we’re perhaps more used to approaching in a sensitive manner in our own lives. I’m unsure if it was the clinical mindset that shocked people or whether audiences who aren’t used to British bluntness were taken aback, but I didn’t find anything overly offensive or appalling. In fact, for every ridiculous comedic tale Kay shares an enormously emotional one in return.

Don’t be mistaken, This is Going to Hurt is certainly very funny, but it’s not all a barrel of laughs. There are some deeply, deeply sad stories including one incredibly moving moment that led Kay to leave the world of medicine behind. He shines light on the reality of our often overcrowded and underfunded hospitals and his days on the job filled with trauma, near misses and deaths. If anything, this should be essential reading for every British citizen. In the final section of the book, Kay expresses that he penned his memoir as a rebuttal of the portrayal of junior doctors by politicians. Rather, he wanted to expose the truth – that the NHS is barely getting by and staff are pushed so far within their coping limits. It’s an incredibly eye-opening book! One that will leave you all the more appreciative for this incredible resource we have and all the amazing people who work incredibly hard day in, day out to deliver it.

All that being said, I will never cease to be impressed by the variety of objects individuals will insert into specific orifices only to end up having to get them removed in A&E… Why, people, why?



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