Review: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

I read Adam Kay’s debut, This is Going to Hurt, earlier this year and I thought it was absolutely incredible. I’m so happy to say that the follow up didn’t disappoint – my only criticism would be that the book simply wasn’t long enough. 

Adam Kay’s writing is among the funniest I’ve ever read and I found myself laughing out loud so many times while reading Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas. I genuinely didn’t want it to end. 

In the seven years that Kay was a medical doctor, he had to work on Christmas Day on six different occasions. He takes us through the holiday seasons of 2004 to 2009, carefully detailing his festive celebrations working in the NHS. His diary entries are full of compassion, attention to detail and the intelligent wit that made his debut one of the biggest selling books of 2018. 

One of the things I love most about Kay is that his writing always seems so familiar to me. It’s quintessentially British – heart-warming, sarcastic and unapologetic! I’d recommend devouring this in one sitting (it’s only 144 pages) with a decent cup of tea and a slice of Victoria sponge, all while listening to the heavy rain outside. 

Despite some condescending jokes, Kay manages to still convey a true love and appreciation for the British National Health Service, which is so important to the success of his work. All of Kay’s stories offer a delicate balance between critical and affectionate, while everything he says is with such warmth that you can’t help but smile.

I really enjoyed that Kay chose to publish stories he’d previously left out of his first book. Yes, his diary entries are hard-hitting at times and tackle extremely sensitive topics. However, this is an inevitable part of being a medical professional and a big part of his story, so I felt it was only right that he was honest about some of the tough things he has faced. Kay’s humour is his super power, no question, but it’s important to note that this book made me cry, as well as laugh.

I absolutely adore Kay’s obvious talent for articulating how he feels in such an emotional, heartfelt, humorous way. He’s a truly gifted storyteller. 

I’m going to watch Kay speak at an event in Manchester next year and, after finishing this perfect follow up, I’m even more excited. A well deserved 5/5 from me! 

Goodreads rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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