Undoctored – Adam Kay

Published By: Trapeze
Pages: 288
Released On: 15/09/2022

This is Going to Hurt was the publishing phenomenon of the century, read by many millions, loved by at least fifty of them, and adapted into a major TV series. But it was only part of the story. 

Undoctored is about what happens when a doctor hangs up his scrubs, but medicine refuses to let go of him.

It’s about an extraordinary medical school education. 
It’s about opening old wounds and examining the present-day scars.
It’s about hospital admissions and personal ones. 
It’s about blowing up your life and stitching it back together.
It’s about being a doctor and being a patient.
It’s about 300 pages long. 


Like most people, I really enjoyed Adam’s first book ‘This Is Going To Hurt’ and was surprised by how funny I found it. It was well written, sensitive and respectful, honest and hilarious (the TV adaptation didn’t reach the same heights for me, but that’s a different conversation). This was repeated with his second book ‘The Nightshift Before Christmas’. So I jumped for joy when I saw he’d written a third.

By this point, Adam was no longer working in medicine, and instead was working on his writing and comedy career, which is what this book mainly centres around – that and his everyday life with his partner. What I like is that almost every other chapter is a flashback of his time in medicine, so it’s the best of both worlds. Again, what I love about it is how honest and brutal he is about his job, his health and his life.

If I’m honest, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the others. It’s still very good, good writing, good storytelling, amusing and interesting, but it was missing that spark that the others had. Maybe because this had a lot to live up to, whereas the first had no pressure or expectations? Like I say, I did enjoy it and there’s a lot of positives, but the first two I read in a matter of hours, but this one didn’t hold my attention for long which meant I had to keep returning to it over a period of several days.

I really enjoyed the medical elements of the first two books, and because this one is mostly set away from medicine, perhaps that’s why I didn’t hit the mark for me. It felt a little bit moany for me and he didn’t come across as much of a likeable person than he did in his first offering. He felt a bit too much like an over-exaggerated character.

It goes without saying that it contains some topics that some people may feel uncomfortable by such as pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, sexual assault, financial worries, sexuality etc, but because it’s done in a very open way and doesn’t feel overly gratuitously, I was fine with it, but obviously you may have to decide for yourself if any of these topics affect you and the reading of the book.

I found it was funny to begin with, and there were humorous bits as and when, but it did lose its humour quite quickly on. I found it a little lacklustre and just didn’t have the tone I had come to expect from his writing. I can’t really point out many specifics that make it a bad book, because it’s not a bad book, it’s just not a great book for me.

I really like Adam’s writing in general and will definitely still seek out any future work, but I’m not sure there’s anything more to say. I think he’s eked out this narrative of doctor turned writer/comedian long enough and it doesn’t feel as fresh anymore, so I think he now needs a new angle before it gets stale.

What I will say is this book is full of heart and honesty and has some very surprising and emotive confessions. He is honest and brutal and open and that’s definitely a plus for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: