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Brilliant book, very insightful about the realisation of working within the NHS today. Of course Adam's humour is always welcome but it is a shame the National Health Service has lost one of its great Doctors. Thoroughly recommend to all including 'non NHS' people.
Self-indulgent and childish. I cannot imagine why this book received the positive reviews included on the cover. I usually persevere to the final chapters, even if the first ones are a bit disappointing, to give a book a fair chance. But this went into the bin. Not even good enough for a charity shop. Shame on the publisher.
While the book is true to life, all of the events would not have been experienced by a single junior doctor in the span of a short career. It is an amalgamation of stories from many people; some of them classical lecture theatre anecdotes. The stories tell of life and death situations; humanity at its most vulnerable. The human condition in extremis is not to be treated flippantly. It’s clear why this author is now no longer practising medicine. There’s not a hint of compassion or kindness. The tone of the book is in poor taste. Sorry, but I didn’t even see fit to pass it on, and put it in the bin!
A very funny book, made me laugh out loud, but... I know junior doctors work incredibly hard, long, thankless hours with little pay (to start with) - and I am so grateful to them (I am a qualified nurse, so know a little about the workings of hospitals). A hint of arrogance throughout, but he completely lost my sympathy when, referring to his least favourite job (uterine prolapse), he referred to the patients as "a bunch of nans". Or the times when he felt like he'd go off and be a qualified accountant instead. Yes, you do an amazing job - but stop thinking you're God's gift to the world.
Awful book smattered with totally unnecessary bad language if supposedly written by an intelligent, educated person who moans all the time about a profession for which he is obviously unsuited for. Clearly for the sake of the NHS and its patients , he took the right decision and resigned.
I synpathise with Adam Kay and how hard he worked etc etc but the way he tried to put his point across was completely ruined each time because rather than write properly with descriptive adjectives he repeatedly used swear words. This is not good writing, this is simply sounding off to people. Had he put more thought into how the book would be written it could have been both amusing and arousing sympathy from the reader. As the book progressed there was more swearing so I didn't finish it and it ended up in the bin.
The book was very badly written, boring in the extreme, and not at all funny. How on earth it was at top of Best Seller lists for so long is totally beyond my understanding. If however, you like to read a whole series of expletives then it might appeal. I would like to use one of his expletives myself, in this review, but fear it would mean a disqualification, which is actually what the BMA should do with this incompetent.
I don’t understand the five star reviews left for this book. It isn’t funny at all! Adam Kay is arrogant and unlikeable. I stopped reading at page 54 because he was really starting to grate on me. As others have said, I’m glad he has left the medical field as he clearly wasn’t cut out for it in any shape or form.
Lots of other reviewers have rightly applauded Adam Kay for his message - life as a junior doctor in the UK's hospitals has become almost unlivable. Thousands of expensively trained personnel are leaving the country, or the entire profession, in droves. The management at NHS hospitals expect the impossible. There is little or no support for the legions of traumatised, exhausted junior doctors. Sadly, I think we all know this. Kay's book has done a great deal to bring this further to public attention. Whether or not that has any significant impact on practice remains to be seen, but I'm not holding my breath.
Other reviews have taken a rather less sympathetic approach - that his book is essentially a 280 page whineathon. It *is* fairly whiny, I'll give them that, and demonstrably thousands of fully qualified doctors make it through this hell and out the other side without throwing in the swab - but I'm not and will never be in those particular circumstances so who am I to say, etc?
Still other reviewers have taken him to task for his potty mouth and crass humour. There's always a few of them. Look, this clearly isn't a book you'd buy if you don't like swears, and a casual flick-through will alert you to the fact that there are many, many swears. The humour is mostly right up my street - I can appreciate dark, gallows humour and the odd sick joke as much as the next twisted fecker. It's when Kay starts making comedy capital from taking the piss out of women in very vulnerable situations that I lose my patience. Swear all you like but I can't remember how many times this book was chucked across the room in disgust. That I picked it up again and continued with it is testament to his skill in writing amusingly, and the sheer bloody fascination of how appalling the working conditions are.
What I'd like to critique here is the strong sense I get from Kay that he really doesn't like women all that much. Not an unfamiliar attitude in medicine but perhaps not a fantastic advantage when you choose to specialise in Obs and Gynae. To be fair, he seems fairly misanthropic generally but I can't help thinking that if you view women as silly, vapid, and a collection of icky body parts that's not going to make you a wonderful practitioner. The cliches abound - 'patient GL, whose genetic make-up appears to be 50 per cent goji berry recipes and 50 per cent Mumsnet posts...', 'the scorn meted out to women who have the temerity to have an opinion on the way in which they'd like their birth to progress (Informed Consent, Adam. It's a thing now), the women who like crystals and whale song in labour (never met one of those myself and I move in massively more woo circles than I suspect Kay does). The prostitute who inserted a child's sponge vaginally to sop up menstrual blood (the rich seam of finding humour in the category 'patients who put stupid things into their orifices' has been rather over-mined in this book, to be honest) which has 'been schnitzeled flat by her clients' pummellings over the past three months' -nice empathy there, Doctor.
The utter contempt for his female patients - and for virtually every single midwife he mentions too (his colleagues) - is shocking and saddening. The distaste for female fluids and effusions. The contempt for women who ask questions or want options clearly explained to them. The caricturization of women-in-labour into two or three easily identifiable tropes - chavvy ignorant smoking laybout, middle-class crystal-obsessed Grolies, neurotic women with mental health issues. There is a lack of empathy, understanding or imagination.
I'm sure, had he continued past the slings and arrows of an obviously gruelling slog to the finish line, he'd have made a technically very competent obstetrician. He would not have made one I'd ever want to meet in labour, for infertility treatment or for any other gynaecological reason.