I have been absolutely raving mad over Adam Kay’s work ever since I reviewed his debut This Is Going To Hurt back in April 2018 (which you can read here) and seeing him live (which you can read all about here). When I had the opportunity to read and review his upcoming seasonal release I was soooooooooo excited! The publicity and marketing of the package looked AMAZING and I dropped everything I was doing to sit down and read it immediately!
Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay
Format – Hardback (144 pages)
Publisher – Picador
Release Date – 17th October 2019
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat . . . but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. In this perfect present for anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious, horrifying and sometimes heartbreaking peek behind the blue curtain at Christmastime.
Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.
Witty, hard hitting puns with a side serving of raw emotion!
Similarly to This Is Going To Hurt, this book had me howling with laughter, wincing at raw descriptions of genitals, and at some points holding back the lump in my throat. Kay uses his strong sense of wit and sarcasm throughout which reminded me of just how hilarious he was on his live tour, and how brilliantly he can express his professional experiences to a lay person.
Full of individual cases, some emotional, some just demonstrating the idiocy of some patients – this made for an extremely varied yet easy read! There is a warning for one quite difficult account of one of Adam’s experiences, which is addressed very transparently, but sensitively and reflected upon more broadly.
Here’s one of my favourite quotes from the book:
“Full marks to the anaesthetist wearing a badge that says: ‘He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake’.”
This short witty memory alongside other more in depth accounts of both professional and personal experiences gave real variety to the events recalled across the pages.
The book itself is quite brief and I was left feeling a little bit disappointed that there wasn’t more content! I devoured it in just over an hour and I’m left with a burning feeling of wanting to know what he will publish next! Kay’s writing is so addictive, but hugely personal to his own experiences – so I wonder what his next writing venture will be?
Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is also a stark reminder that the NHS functions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even more heartbreaking is that Kay spent six consecutive Christmases working on the wards which means six Christmases spent away from loved ones. The dedication and altruism of Kay made me feel like the NHS lost an asset, but then the book constantly reminds us that the every single demand of working in the NHS has the potential to become the straw that broke the camel’s back.
This brilliantly funny and seasonal read will make a fantastic stocking filler for anyone with an interest in medicine or the NHS. I had to give it a five star review on Goodreads – I just wish it had been longer!!
To get in touch with the author, use @amateuradam on socials to find him!
**Thank you to the author, Picador, and Siobhan at Pan Macmillan for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.**
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