Review: This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Challenge criteria: A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover


Adam Kay was a junior doctor from 2004 until 2010, before a devastating experience on a ward caused him to reconsider his future. He kept a diary throughout his training, and This Is Going to Hurt intersperses tales from the front line of the NHS with reflections on the current crisis. The result is a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain, sacrifice and maddening bureaucracy, and a love letter to those who might at any moment be holding our lives in their hands.

Image via Goodreads

What I liked:

This is an amazing and insightful look into life on a maternity ward in the UK. I’m not from the UK, nor do I live there, but I think we’ve all heard about the trials and terrors of the NHS at the moment. Adam brings so much humour into the diary it’s infectuous (no pun intended.)

Given the subject matter, and some of the delicate cases in this book, it feels like saying I enjoyed it is wrong. But I did. It’s humour is spectacular, and the footnotes bring a wealth of knowledge about the OBGYN department of your local hospital. Moreover, it will make you despair for the healthcare professionals working there. You’ll see them in a whole new light once you’ve finished this book.

What I didn’t like:

LOTS of squeamish moments in this book. I did read them, but often with my legs crossed or my heart in my mouth. I had some help, though, to prepare for them; I asked Emma from Drinking by my Shelf for her list of particularly hard to read passages. For readers with light stomachs, it’s a godsend.

Out of five:

Has to be a five star read. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year, and totally lived up to the hype bestowed upon it.


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