And that’s what this slim volume offers: jokes galore and the occasional reminder that death is the twin of birth, and that things can go wrong as horribly at Christmas as they can at any other time of the year. This little book will no doubt cheer up the many readers who find it under their tree. Perhaps it will also encourage us to spare a thought for the half million NHS workers who will be hard at work as we move ever closer to the bottom of the Quality Street tin.
A career in medicine is not just for life, it’s for Christmas, and this year half a million NHS staff will be spending the day at work. They’ll be working Christmas miracles; the least the rest of us can do is read this funny, sympathetic and eye-opening book, be overwhelmed with gratitude, and avoid off-label uses of condiments at least until the new year.
Adam Kay shot to fame in 2017 with his hilarious bestseller This Is Going to Hurt, his diary of life as a junior doctor, which has sold more than 1.5m copies. Kay, who no longer practises medicine, has chosen to overcome the difficult second-album problem by settling on a literary version of a one-off Christmas single: brash and annoying, poignant and meaningful, all at the same time.
The book should make even the hardest heart melt in respect for the poor night-shift nurses who are left to clean up these messes while working absurdly unsociable hours for small pay... Kay’s book is amusing, engagingly written and strangely cheery. It’s certainly informative. I now live in hypochondriac dread having learned that “fainting while having a piss is surprisingly common in men”.