Book Review: This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well! It’s Friday, meaning it’s time for another review, and today, I am sharing my thoughts on This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor By Adam Kay.

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay was first published in September 2017 by Picador and is 304 pages long.

Based on the author’s diaries, the book explores the often gruelling life of a junior doctor in the National Health Service (NHS), providing insight into the daily struggles, frustrations and joys that go hand in hand with this profession.

There is really only one main character in this book, and that is Adam himself. The book begins with Adam explaining how he came to be writing these diaries before diving into his experiences as a junior doctor. He recounts his experiences in superb, vivid detail and brings the reader into his world as he works long hours under tremendous pressure. He describes life in the hospital corridors, relationships between staff members, and navigating bureaucracy.

Writing Style
The book is set out in diary entries, providing snapshots from different points in Kay’s career, and we can see the overarching themes of exhaustion and frustration he experienced throughout.

His writing style is witty and conversational, as he weaves together funny anecdotes with heartfelt moments that illustrate his humanity and deep compassion for his profession. His approach to tough subjects is subtle and compelling, and he expresses them in a thought-provoking way, with humour, allowing readers to connect with these issues personally. He writes incredibly candidly, providing what he considers to be an accurate portrayal of what it means to be a doctor in Britain in the 21st century, giving insight into serious issues such as mental health problems amongst doctors, and racism within hospitals, sweeping the reader along in a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

Throughout, you will be laughing at some moments while feeling heartbroken at others, mirroring the challenges faced by healthcare providers in the NHS who must routinely deal with emotionally charged situations while maintaining professional boundaries with their patients.

Final Thoughts
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor is an informative yet thought-provoking read that will leave you with a lot of food for thought regarding our great but stretched healthcare system.
As someone who has required the services of our NHS a lot over the years, I have a new level of respect for our doctors and nurses since reading this book. What they have to go through daily is tough, and I appreciate them all the more now.

I enjoyed the book very much, and I loved that Kay kept the diary format when he wrote the book because I like to read to the end of a section before going to sleep, and these short chunks made that easy. It was also easy to keep saying to myself, ‘just one more passage.’

The book has been made into drama series by the BBC, which I’m yet to watch, though it will be interesting to see how the real-life day-to-day of the NHS translates from a diary-like book to an hour-long drama.

I am giving This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay 7/10.

Have you read This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor? What did you think?

As always, thanks for reading my review!

Until next time,


© 2023 GLT

Categories: Book Reviews, Reading

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