This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay
Favourite Quote: “Asked to review a patient in labour ward triage and repeat a PV as the midwife is uncertain of her findings. Her findings were of cephalic presentation with cervix 1cm dilated. My findings are of breech presentation, cervix 6cm dilated. I explain to mum that baby is bottom-down and the safest thing to do is deliver by caesarian section. I don’t explain to mum which part of the baby the midwife just stuck her finger into 1cm dilation.”
Book length: 277 pages
Synopsis: Ever wanted to know what its like being on the other side of that in-patient experience? Being the one to perform that emergency C-section, order that blood transfusion, progress reports for investigation of Cancer? Well nows your chance to learn, through the documented journals of a real-life junior doctor. Through humour and wit, the highs and the very low lows are laid bare in this captivating read by Adam Kay, before he reveals why his time in the NHS came to an end. This exciting and gripping read is actually completely heartbreaking.
Ease of read: Easy, allows the ability to pick up and down at whatever stage. Detailed accounts of real events with pure relevance and dark humour. Kay completely explores the exhausting life of a junior doctor with its debilitating outcomes but dedicated nature as well as providing a detailed insight into the structure of our NHS.
Overall comment: Laugh out loud moments that immediately fill you with guilt after. It shouldn’t be funny but it is. Kay’s wit is applied to his insider knowledge and practice that makes the read not only enjoyable, but heartbreakingly honest.
Enjoyment rating: 4/5
Buy On Amazon Here.
Only Child – Rhiannon Navin
Favourite quote: “More than one feeling at the same time, right next to each other or on top of each other and all mixed up inside you? I never knew that could happen. But now it happened to me, and it was hard because when your happy, you know you want to laugh or smile at least, and when you’re mad or sad, you want to yell, but when you feel all of those together, you don’t know what to do.”
Book length: 367 pages
Synopsis: Six year old Zach is a witness of a mass shooting at his school whereby one of the victims is his own older brother Andy. Confused and emotional, Zach tries to navigate life after trauma and helps indirectly teach his parents about the patterns of grief that follow their loss by listening to their hearts.
Ease of read: Medium. During a discussion with fellow members of Beth’s book club, it quickly became obvious that 50% of readers found the style of this 6 year old child’s narrative tricker to settle into whilst the other 50% were immediately hooked because of this. Personally, it did take me a while to adapt, but upon finishing the book, I found the narrative had a huge impact on how deeply affecting this story had on us as adults.
Overall comment: I would be very quick to recommend this book to others and have already done so. It provides you with a completely different perspective of grief through the eyes of a child and how simple it actually can be but how complex our brains confuse it to be.
Enjoyment rating: 4/5
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The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
Favourite quote: “In love we find out who we want to be, in war we find out who we are” – Possibly my favourite quote of all time.
Book length: 440 pages.
Synopsis: A story of heroism and loss, sisters Vianne and Isabelle are two very different people when it comes to all walks of life; education, relationships and love, but most of all war. During the second world war, French sisters experienced the intimate invasion of Nazi soldiers as one’s husband had to leave for battle and the other fought against them, risking her life in many ways for protection and resistance. Both sisters harrowing experiences are uncovered and outline wartime life for women.
Ease of Read: Medium – depending on preference of writing style. Longer read with smaller words therefore more by page. Very descriptive and scene setting narrative style with 90% set during the second world war and the other 10% in the current day. The novel was exceptionally well written and perfect use of language to help envisage each scenario that unfolded. I would recommend anyone from the age of around 15 – 90 reads this book.
Overall Comment: New York Times Best Selling Novel – Completely understand why this is the case. I loved this book, plain and simple enjoyment. The plot kept me hooked at every turn of story, I felt emotion, anger, frustration and deep connections to all characters within this book despite the primary narrative being from the eldest of the two sisters Vianne. It is the type of book that hooks you from the first two chapters and you immediately want to uncover the story. Specifically liked how the author put much emphasis on all characters involved to provide a well-rounded story of all those affected by the war, including very harrowing scenes but ones of great importance and significance. Enjoyable in any kind of setting, a well rounded but intense story of love, loss, bravery and perseverance.
Enjoyment Rating: 5/5
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An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
Favourite quote: “Home isn’t where you land, it’s where you launch. You can’t pick your home any more than you can choose your family. In poker, you get 5 cards. Three of them you can swap out, but two are yours to keep: Family and native land.”
Book length: 306 pages.
Synopsis: Celestial and Roy grew up in different lives, she was an Atlanta girl and he, from Louisiana. Shortly after getting married Roy gets convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to 12 years in Prison. Celestial has to lead a life she never imagined and together, the pair face challenges of their own. Can their love conquer a scenario that would test even the strongest of couples?
Ease of Read: Very easy. Relatable, personal and emotive. I found the writing style of this book incredibly easy to get into and found I enjoyed the way the author had portrayed communication between the characters as well as letting us into the mindset and emotions of each person. This book is written from the perspective of all main characters, not just one view.
Overall Comment: I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I was unsure of what to expect from the plot and ultimately I came to the conclusion that the story would take on a romantic heartfelt approach. This was not the case, so the fact that so many other honest and realistic points unfolded meant that it was easier to believe this fiction being someones true story. Saddening, heartbreaking, loving and confusion were all main points of this story, but overall a heartwarming and strong story to read. I would recommend this book to anyone that is open to an honest approach to marriage troubles, but still an easy book to read that you can pick up and put down at leisure.
Enjoyment Rating: 4/5
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The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary
Favourite Quote: “I wake with a jolt that sends a shock of pain through my ankle. Crying out, I look around me. Floral wallpaper. Am I at home? Who’s that man in the chair by the door, reading …. “Twilight?” Leon blinks at me, putting the book down in his lap. ‘You went from unconscious to judgemental very quickly there’.”
Book Length: 391 pages.
Synopsis: Tiffy is a girl who’s recently broken up with her long-term boyfriend and looking for a place to rent in central London. Leon is a doctor, working night shifts mon-fri and spends his weekend with his girlfriend. Having never met, but in agreement that Tiffy can move into Leon’s flat based on the fact that with opposing work patterns, they will never actually see each other, the story follow’s their individual lives until the inevitable happens and suddenly their form of communication expands outside of just post-it notes and left over baked goods.
Ease of Read: One for the cosy afternoons! An easy flowing, quick narrative and pleasurable length read in general. This one can be picked up and put down at any point without the worry of external distraction causing you to have to re-read the same sentence twice.
Overall Comment: I loved this book! From the first few chapters it had me hooked and I found myself sitting for hours on end to turn the pages. Beth explores two very different characters who both have previous experiences that have been very cleverly discussed and explained throughout the happy-go-lucky narrative. These include relationship dynamics as a result of imprisonment and also forms of domestic abuse within a partnership. This is the first book written by beth and her style is something that welcomes a large audience. A ‘typical’ but not inclusive romantic-comedy, The Flatshare will have you deep in empathy, hooked onto the edge of your seat with giddiness and laughing out loud. I look forward to reading the next book ‘The Switch’ by this author.
Enjoyment Rating: 5/5
Buy on Amazon Here.
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
Favourite quote: “It’s not putting black lives on a pedestal, I don’t even know what that means,” I said, my heart beating fast. “It’s saying that black lives, at this point, and historically, do not, and have not mattered, and that they should!”.
Book Length: 400 pages.
Synopsis: Queenie has a tough time of it from the many avenues of her life: family, politics, career, race, friendships and mostly uncovered throughout the book, suffering the fall out from an unhealthy relationship. Queenie makes some mistakes on the path to recovery but finds value and seeks personal development in the many scenarios she encounters throughout the book. With the relationships failing in both her Caribbean family unit and that of her typically british boyfriend, she finds herself not knowing which world she fits into. The book uncovers some politically heavy and racial topics that alone are worth taking note from despite the differing opinions many readers have on Queenie’s personality. As a reader, these poignant moments will hopefully encourage further education and investigation on the matter to deepen the understanding of the many black lives suffering for equality.
Ease of Read: I struggled to get into this book initially, the format of the reflection between past and present left me a little confused on the timeline and I found myself having to remind myself which I did find a little off-putting when going to pick up the book. That being said there were some incredible laugh-out-loud moments in those early chapters and once I had got through the first third of the book I found the reading became easier and followed suit until the end.
Overall Comment: Queenie left me feeling empowered as to how the story uncovered some deep emotions and experiences, but with enough light and positivity to see the dynamics of all characters involved and how as individuals they evolved throughout the read. I feel it was an educational eye-opener also and has encouraged me to want to read further diverse books that continue to explore these heavy political and racial scenes. As a character, I am unsure of how much I warmed to Queenie, despite feeling ALL the emotions alongside her as her story unfolds. This, I assume just to be down to the nature of opinion and the difference of handling certain conversations/scenarios. It is a very important and enjoyable read, albeit sometimes uncomfortable with extensive detail into some sexual scenes.
Enjoyment Rating: 3.5/5
Buy on Amazon Here.