Adam Key delivers a stunning memoir of his time as a junior doctor that is fabulously candid, hilarious, and poignant. I thought I had some ideas of what life as a junior doctor is like given that I have medic friends, but if anything, this book showed me how much I underplayed things. The schedule is more imprisoning than I thought, the lifestyle resembling more of an inmate than of normal working life. In short, lows are lower. Peppered in are some fabulous once-in-a-lifetime highs, but they seem to be few and far between.

That book is a response to the growing sentiment that junior doctors were were greedy in the UK. Led by politician Jeremy Hunt, the chorus against them grew every stronger. The grander narrative that ties the six years worth of diary entries is the following: no one in medicine is in it for the money. As far as I am concerned, that message is delivered loud and clear. When you take into account the hundreds of hours a week, the missed social gatherings, missed life events like weddings, you can’t help but appreciate medical professionals are there because they believe in what they do. Nothing else is appealing enough to keep them in the job.

As sobering as life as a junior doctor is, Kay manages to keep the levity with an endless number of hilarious stories. Some of the stories are inherently comical, but it is aided by the excellent comedic writing skills of Kay. I found myself giggling a lot when reading, it attracted a lot of weird glances on the bus, but worth it.

Verdict

Highly Recommended. A mostly irreverent chronicling of life as a junior doctor. It had me laughing out loud while building an undercurrent of poignancy. My respect for healthcare professionals has grown tremendously.

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