Most people will have experience of the NHS and that’s why Adam Kay’s books resonate so strongly. He lifts the lid on the world of medicine and tells us it’s not OK and he’s not OK too. And that really is the point of his latest book, Undoctored: The Story of a Medic who Ran out of Patients1. Puns aside, he further explores the exasperation he feels at the system which left him, as he puts it, living on a diet of pro plus and PTSD.
The success of This is Going to Hurt – the multimillion copy selling comic memoir and its darker TV adaptation – helps to form the arc of Undoctored as we discover what happened after he hung up his white coat and joined the precarious world of stand up and writing. Interspersing flashback chapters, which is where the comedy lies, with the story of how incredibly hard it is to break out of the structures that defined his life’s trajectory and make it. And we know how the story ends before we begin.
There is a vein of melancholy running through this book and he is brave to recall his battles with food and the fight against what it is to be a ‘normal’ size, whatever that is. His inability to let the healthcare system take care of him when he needs it is comic but frustrating as he cannot simply be a patient. What he does want is better recognition of the need for those in the NHS to be looked after and tell us,
‘Hopefully [Undoctored] shines a light on some problems that don’t otherwise get a lot of airtime.’Adam Kay
There are a lot of laugh out loud moments, surprisingly interesting footnotes and a strange obsession with wolves and paninis that tells us more about the relationship he has with his editor than anything else. And with a cover that owes its inspiration to the fire exit sign, what’s not to love about this book. No wonder we booked him for The Emergency Services Show.