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This Is Going To Hurt: The Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay Book Review…

January 18, 2019

I’ve had Adam Kay’s book ‘This Is Going To Hurt’, on my bullet journal reading list for months now.  The title ‘This is Going to Hurt’, appeals to my sense of humour and frankness when I think about doctors!  Ordered before I left for Australia I tucked the volume into my suitcase and forgot about it in the first week.

That week is a bit of a blur as jetlag does funny things to my mind.  I came through the fog and unpacked my suitcase properly, hiding Christmas presents from my mum, handing over motorbike parts to my dad!  I sat down to start This is Going to Hurt: The Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor.

Kay had me on the first page with his anecdote about the wrong name being used for his email address.  Seemingly a great icebreaker, he then is floored when one colleague explains her ‘hypen’ in her last name was included as a word in her email address!  Kay is now a TV comedy writer and his wit shines through with as you hope he gets to at least one friend’s wedding or home for dinner with the long suffering H.

Told in a diary format we go through five years of Kay being a junior doctor primarily in obstetrics and gynaecology.  A mix of patient issues and commentary on the inefficient running of the NHS, his story counters the message from the UK government that doctors are lazy and asking for too much money.

My hourly rate as a first year SHO worked out as £6.60.  It’s slightly more than McDonald’s till staff get though significantly less than a shift supervisor.

I thought I had it bad in the advertising industry but as least I didn’t have anyone’s life in my hands.  Some shifts would go for 36 hours and Kay was expected to be as alert at the end as the beginning.  Doing surgery! 

Tuesday, 9th November 2004. Bleeped awake at 3pm from my first half-hour’s shut eye in three shifts to prescribe a sleeping pill for a patient, whose sleep is evidently much more important than mine.  My powers are greater than I realised – arrive on the ward to find the patient is asleep.

Cracks in the NHS shine through.  My biggest take out is don’t go to hospital after hours or on the weekend.  The doctor to patient ratio is terrible; often only one per specialism and the testing facilities are shut!  Plus the types of ridiculous scenarios that patients bring to the doctors in the middle of the night is shocking.

Wednsday 22 March 2006. Three a.m. attendance at labour ward triage.  Patient is twenty-five years old and thirty weeks into her first pregnancy.  She complains of a large number of painless spots on her tongue.  Diagnosis: taste buds.

Full of human tales ‘This is Going to Hurt: The Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor’ by Adam Kay is a must read and I can see why Books are my Bag readers voted it the top book of 2017.  For those of you reading this and work for the NHS I thank you again and again and again! Adam has a new column in The Guardian on a range of topics related to the medical field.

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The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion Book Review…

November 27, 2018

I borrowed The Rosie Project from the library on a short loan and requested The Rosie Effect* before I had even finished!  Captured by the story of Don Tillman, his love interest Rosie and their close knit friends, I was keen to see what happened next.  There were mixed reviews on my social media about this second book.  I wasn’t really sure why people were telling me bad things but I guess people need to share!

The story kicks straight in following on from The Rosie Project with Don and Rosie in New York.  They are studying and working at the same university, spending a few nights a week working a bar job for fun, whilst trying to settle in a new city.  It all takes a bit of a turn, Rosie takes it upon herself to get pregnant under a false assumption that it might take years.  The life plan that Don has in his head, previously agreed with Rosie, is thrown into chaos.  The result is a series of events that jeopardise their relationship and cause the reader much frustration.

There is little interaction between Don and Rosie, my favourite of the previous narratives, as they close off communication with each other to deal with the pregnancy.  Instead new characters are introduced for Don to bounce ideas with who rarely advise him correctly.  The subsequent comedy of errors became a sticking point for me.  I kept shouting at Don and Rosie to have a proper conversation, the same conversations they were having with their friends.

If you are going to read this book I recommended reading it back to back with The Rosie Project*.  The second book will feel less jarring and the lack of Rosiness will be overcome!

Enjoy PF xo

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The Accidental Further Adventures of The Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson Book Review…

October 29, 2018

Reducing my screen time has opened up a window before bed to read and now that I am in the routine my bank account can’t keep up!  I devour books and often got in trouble when I was younger for eating them.  Did you have a book club at school?  In Australia we had one where you got a brochure and could pick which books you wanted to buy.  I remember pouring over this for hours selecting and reselecting the books I wanted.  Then asking my mum what the budget was and refining further!  At one stage I know I had hundreds of books and later in high school when we were taught to speed read it shocked everyone that I could read 998 words per minute with a 98% accuracy.  To try and plug the gap and keep the momentum I joined my local library and borrowed The Accidental Further Adventures of The Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson.

When did you last visit a library?  I hadn’t been to one for over seven years.  It was only because I walked a different way to the station that I spotted my local.  A search on the internet and I had printed the application alongside my proof of my address.  It only took a few minutes on a Saturday to have my membership stamped.  Whilst I waited I perused the new books section and found The Accidental Adventures of The Hundred Year Old Man.  Excited I grabbed it immediately should someone else see it too!  I have read all of Jonasson’s previous works including my favourite, the first of this series, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared.

Continuing on from this previous book, The Accidental Adventures starts off reintroducing us to the two main characters, Allan, aged over 100 and Julias, aged younger then Allan!  Having survived their previous adventures with a briefcase full of cash, the duo have settled in Bali for the endless sunshine.  After a year though, they both have itchy feet.  Allan craves another adventure and Julias, a serial criminal, wants to scheme and steal again!  A hiccup with a hot air balloon sees them sailing across the sea with three bottles of champagne to be rescued by a North Korean ship.  With the ship secretly carrying a cargo of uranium Allan and Julias have no choice but to travel to the communist country.  Jonasson add current affairs into his stories and has Allan enrage Trump, resulting in a twitter tirade and Julias mixing up a coffin delivery that upsets the local German Nazis.

If you love a book with twists and turns, that cleverly makes you relook at current world events, this is for you. Let me know if you read it and what your thoughts are.

Happy Reading.  PF xo

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Accidental Adventures


October Read – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Book Review…

October 13, 2018

Within a couple of weeks three people recommended The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion.  I wasn’t that keen as when first described as a romance novel this turned me off.  Just not my bag.  However, the descriptions built and I was intrigued.  A romantic novel where the lead character has Autism, written from his view point, with plenty of comedic moments and commentary on social norms.  This sounded good!

Don Tillman is our lead and it’s easy to grasp from the beginning he sees the world differently due to Autism or Asperger’s.  We are never told exactly where Don lies on the spectrum and this works brilliantly.  As explained in the novel those with Autism often don’t know.  Why would they?  For their brains are operating, often at a high function and they are getting about in life just fine.

Don is a university genetics professor and the story is based in one of my favourite cities, Melbourne, Australia.  Keen to fulfil social conventions, Don decides he will resolve the wife problem with ‘The Wife Project’.  He formulates a detailed questionnaire for prospective dates, trying to determine their suitability for marriage.  Don’s list didn’t sound that much different to the online dating forms I have filled in!

The questionnaire brings Rosie into Don’s life by way of best friend Gene, an older professor who is always on hand to help Don navigate social norms.  Rosie is quickly determined as an unsuitable wife but her own search for her father results in Don establishing ‘The Rosie Project’.  This project quickly escalates as Don is challenged to reconsider his personal rules and routines, interact with a multitude of people at a university reunion, all to determine Rosie’s parentage.

‘Fault! Asperger’s isn’t a fault. It’s a variant.  It’s potentially a major advantage.  Asperger’s syndrome is associated with organisation, focus, innovative thinking and rational detachment.’ – Don Tillman

What I loved about Graeme’s story is that he painted a world where Autistic people should be accepted and not considered faulty.  Don’s thought processes throughout a situation or social interaction are clear and often make our complex social norms ridiculous.  His dependency on routines and the situations he gets himself in make Don likable and someone we all root for.

If you love the characters and story as much as I did you will be pleased to know there is a sequel and a third in development!

I’d love to hear what books you are reading at the moment? PF xo

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The Rosie Project


August Book Review – Northern Lights by Philip Pullman…

August 5, 2018

Northern Lights Philip Pullman

I have two favourite colleagues at work at the moment.  One is a female and of a similar age, loves food and knows all the great places to go in London.  The other is a older distinguished male who loves to know about new books and TV shows and we are constantly swapping Netflix picks!  Recently he lent me his copy of Northern Lights by Philips Pullman after learning of my predilection for fictional writings with discerning story lines.  I was under an iron clad agreement that I would return the book after he lost a selection of his favourites to a friends ex. Pressure!

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June Book Review – The Break by Marian Keyes…

June 27, 2018

The Break Marian Keyes

I first came across Marian Keyes when her short stories were included in Girls Night In.  Her style of writing often centers around modern love stories where she captures the complexity and often irrational emotions of her characters.  Over the years I have dipped in and our of reading her books.  Romance novels aren’t really my thing especially when you read the back and it ends with ‘will Rosie get her man’!  I picked up The Lido at the airport and threw in The Break by Marian for a half price deal.

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