Review: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Opening sentence: “My publishers remain very keen that neither they nor I go to prison as a result of my books.”

For my festive read last year I went classic, reviewing Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie. For 2019 I’ve gone for something a little more contemporary, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay.

I’d go as far as to say that Adam Kay’s first book – This is Going to Hurt – is one of my favourite memoirs. Funny, emotive, informative and one I’ve recommended to everyone I know. So imagine my delight when he released part 2. A more novella sized (143 pages) Christmas themed book, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas features Adam’s journal entries for the six Christmas Days (in a row!) he spent on hospital wards, from 2004 – 2009.

Once again he’s crafted a little gem that made me laugh out loud, taught me new things about the life of a doctor and made me marvel (read: feel a little disgusted) at the crazy things people end up in hospital for. The Christmas spirit is strong too as he recounts people’s acts of kindness and his own joy at helping people get home from hospital in time to spend the day with their loved ones. He also reminds us that, ‘The NHS front line sadly doesn’t get invited to Christ’s all-you-can-eat birthday shindig. For medical personnel the world over, Christmas is just another day.’ And this is such an important thing to remember. As he did in his first book, Adam uses his closing chapter as a rally cry for the underfunded, overworked doctors. Encouraging us to show our gratitude for them and everything that the NHS does – write a thank you card, sign up to the organ donor list, make a donation to a medical charity and appreciate not everyone is with their loved ones eating copious amount of Quality Streets.

Not only is this a great read with heart and an important message, but it’s the perfect size to be the best stocking filler your friends and family will get this year.

/ Published by Picador 2019

/ 143 pages

/ Rating: 5/5

7 thoughts

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed his first book and was interested to read this new one until I saw the price. Think I’ll wait until it comes into the library. Great to know that he continues with that blend of humour and thought-provoking insight into the reality of life as an NHS doctor.

    Liked by 1 person

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