Book Review: Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas

Author: Adam Kay
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
# of Pages: 160
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Having previously read Kay’s previous book The Diaries Of A Junior Doctor and enjoyed the frank recount of a junior doctor working on the front line in our NHS. With all of the festive spirit that was happening between Christmas and New Year I picked up this book and started reading.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat… but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. In this perfect present for anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking peek behind the blue curtain at Christmastime.


This book is much like Kay’s previous one but with a more festive edge. Kay omitted any festive stories from the first book so it didn’t become too Christmassy and here they are for us all to laugh, cry and read over this festive period.

Following this introduction, each chapter tells the story of a Christmas working in obstetrics or gynaecology during his practising years. Throughout,Kay makes you laugh at events that you really know you shouldn’t be. There are definitely moments where your emotions plummet, particularly in 2006.


Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first. I’m not sure if it’s because the shock factor wasn’t there for me as much. Saying this, I did enjoy the Christmassy feel of the book over the festive periods and it did have me laughing out loud at numerous times. I would still recommend it for a quick, festive read.


“A&E departments are busier than turkey farms, thanks for black eyes from carelessly popped champagne corks, fleshy forearms scares by roasting tins, and children concussing themselves by hurtling down the stairs in the box their Scalextric came in.”

“It hangs in the air like some kind of acrid death-gas in a James Bond film, its putrid cloud choking every airway, blunting every nerve ending. We’re having the room deep cleaned, but they may well have to knock down the entire hospital.”

“Well, darling, he made it to the hospital on time, but he was so drunk that he whipped out his cock when the doctor was putting forceps on your head, and they had to call security to boot him out.”

“Stop sticking root vegetables, remote controls, chocolate wrappers, fairy lights – or indeed anything else that’s irretrievable and inanimate (or, god help us, animate) – up your interval cavities for one day a year. It’s only twenty four hours, guys, and you’ll make all their Christmases come at once.”



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