This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Published August 20, 2020

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Book info

  • Title This is Going to Hurt
  • Author Adam Kay
  • Year 2017
  • Genres Memoir, Science

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay's This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn't – about life on and off the hospital ward.


I remember seeing this around when it was out, as it dominated bestseller lists for quite a long time. I never really registered it to start with though, not until the Christmas sequel that really was everywhere. Then I figured I should see what I’m missing out on, particularly as I do love a work-based memoir.

This is an exceptional piece of work and I totally understand why it dominated bookshelves and lists and charts and recommendations for so long. The writing is exquisite - both respectful and thoughtful about the roles and pressures of doctors and the variety of patients they have to see, whilst also having a wonderfully dark sense of humour that is often laugh out loud funny.

All of it is set against the backdrop of the struggles the NHS face every day, and it just breaks your heart a little bit every time. Even though we’re still a few months’ away from Christmas, I’m going to pick up the festive sequel right now.

Rating: 5 / 5

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