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Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas

‘Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas’ by Adam Kay:

It’s been a hot minute! A hot minute since I’ve had the time to properly sit down and write for this blog; between buying our first flat (eek!) and getting a promotion at work I have been incredibly busy. HOWEVER, that hasn’t stopped me reading and I now have a backlog of bookish thoughts and opinions to share with you…

I am going to start with ‘Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas’ – Dr. Adam Kay’s second book. Now ‘This is Going to Hurt’ was always going to be an incredibly tough act to follow. My partner who notoriously can’t stand reading – and often moans about the number of books that turn up to our flat! – read ‘This is Going to Hurt’ from cover to cover, and I found them in fits of giggles multiple times. 

Ahead of picking up ‘Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas’ I had read a number of mixed reviews; readers were unsure of whether or not it stood up to his previous work, and it was incredibly short. I can’t dispute the fact that it is a short book, at just 143 pages it took me 90 minutes to finish. Nevertheless, it was an incredibly enjoyable 90 minutes, where I experienced an entire spectrum of emotions from tears all the way to laughter.

For me the first diary entry sets the tone for whole book…

Monday 20 December 2004
Patients generally have quite a few cards on their bedside tables and windowsills at this time of year, what with all the Get Well Soons and Merry Christmases.Patient CG is recovering after a bowel resection, and his cubicle looks like a branch of Clintons.
On the ward round, my register Cliff chimes in with ‘Someone’s popular!’ a millisecond too soon for me to lean in and whisper, ‘Someone’s wife just died….’

With the introduction stating “In my first book, This is Going to Hurt, the most common reasons for entries being ommitted included ‘too disgusting’ or ‘too Christmassy’. Here I make amends for both” Kay really doesn’t disappoint. The reader is treated to multiple gruesome stories from the six years that Kay spent in hospitals throughout the UK. Without giving away any spoilers, you will be truly surprised how ridiculous some of the accidents seem….

Over the last 12 months I have read a number of medical memoirs, but Adam Kay’s will always be my favourite – his tone is impeccable, striking just the right balance of adding humour to serious topics. I would say that ‘Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas’ is the perfect stocking filler for people who claim to not like non-fiction, or even those who claim to not enjoy reading. I am going to be popping my copy is my partner’s stocking this Christmas!

As a brief side-note, ‘This is Going to Hurt’ has become a live show in theatres throughout the UK – if you’d like to hear Kay reading some of the entires himself, and singing some amazing musical poems I would definitely recommend booking a ticket. Although fair warning – you will cry.

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas in Facts:

Author: Adam Kay
First Published Date: 2019
Publishing House: Picador
Pages: 148 (143 as bulk read)



  1. I love this post.

    Having read his first book and thoroughly enjoying it I was a little sceptical this could be too samey. However, I think I need to give it a chance after reading your thoughts.

    Adam Kay live was brilliant and he mentioned it there all be it a shameless plug…

    Keep writing please, your thoughts and perceptions are always insightful and amusing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: What Could Possibly go Wrong? by Dr. Tony Bleetman – The Reading Millennial

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