Book Review: Dear NHS - Edited By Adam Kay

Book Review: Dear NHS – Edited By Adam Kay

Created and edited by Adam Kay (author of multi-million best seller ‘This is Going to Hurt’), ‘DEAR NHS’ features household names telling their personal stories of the health service.

What would we do without the NHS? In the UK it means that no matter what we earn, no matter who we are we can receive healthcare for free. The immense pressure that it has been under in the past year is quite possibly the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced since it started. Even after cuts after cuts it still stands on shaking legs and continues to provide us with one of the best healthcare services in the world.

I pre-ordered this as soon as I heard it was happening. I’m a big fan of Adam Kay and the fact that each copy purchased gave money to NHS charities. In the UK at least, we all have a story of how the NHS has helped us or someone we love. Of course I was picking up a copy.

The stories within this collection may be by celebrities, those who we see as ‘having it all’ that they too rely on our incredible health service, that some of them may not be here without it. Like many of us the NHS has been there for them at the start of their lives, at times where we are scared and in pain and will be there for us when it’s our time to go, to make us as comfortable as we can be.

Emilia Clarke’s essay is the one that stuck with me the most. While filming the first season of Game of Thrones, Emilia became incredibly ill due to a brain aneurysm. Every step of the way she thanks the NHS for their expertise, care and for saving her life. In particular she thanks “The nurse who suggested — after everyone else in A&E struggled to find an answer when I was first admitted — that maybe, just maybe I should have a brain scan. She saved my life.”

There are so many popular names, I’m sure that everyone who picks up this book will find a story that they relate with. Celebrities include; Peter Kay, Sir Paul McCartney, Stephen Fry, Dawn French, Sir Trevor McDonald, Graham Norton, Sir Michael Palin, Naomie Harris, Ricky Gervais, Sir David Jason, Dame Emma Thompson and Joanna Lumley.  

Some of the pieces are short and funny, others will make you want to hug your family a little closer, all of them will make you proud of the incredible institution that the NHS is. It will remind you that weekly clapping isn’t what got us this far, it’s the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears of all that work within the NHS, not just the surgeons, doctors and nurses but the health assistants, the porters, the receptionists, the secretaries. Every single person working within the NHS is a part of one of the greatest things to come out of this country – something that must be protected.

I couldn’t give this book any less than 5 stars. The fact that in the midst of everything this idea was born and such a beautiful collection was created so quickly is truly wonderful. Adam Kay is excellent, there is no one else I think that could have put these stories together so well. I finished the book and immediately ordered a copy for my Nanna so she could read this too. I highly recommend picking up a copy and money from each goes to NHS charities.

Top 10 Books of 2020

Top 10 Books Of 2020

What’s better for the first post of 2021 than books? One of the saving graces of 2020 was the books I fell into. At final count I read 125 books a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, audiobooks. Trying to choose from all of those books which were my favourites was not easy.

Let’s get cracking and see which books I was hopelessly in love with last year.

The Girl and the Goddess – Nikita Gill

This is kind of a poetry collection but also a novel in verse that also incorporates Hindu mythology. It was absolutely stunning and you watch the life of a young girl from before she’s born up until she’s a young woman. There are some content warnings for this too, so make sure if you have any sensitivities to look them up. I couldn’t put this down and I know a lot of people felt the same.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

This book has been everywhere and for good reason. From Dolly Parton tweeting about it to BookTube exploding and it is so, so deserved. This is a novel about life, death and the choices you make in life. Every now and again, there are books that come into your life at exactly the right time. Like many people I struggled with my mental health during lockdown and had too much time in my own head.

Matt Haig is an incredible author, I’ve read 3 books of his previously and loved them all. It’s the way in which he understands and see’s the world. I finished the novel and felt like I was going to be ok, like things were going to be ok eventually.

There are also trigger warnings for this novel, after all, the main character is someone who is suicidal.

The Invisible Life Of Addi LaRue – V.E. Schwab

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Victoria Schwab as an author and as a human being. Addie is a book that has been spoken about for a long time, long before I knew about her. It’s also quite possibly the best book she’s ever written. I adore Addie, so much so that I am getting an Addie LaRue tattoo in January.

It’s so brilliantly written and clever. The fact that we see Addie’s growth from a young woman who makes a desperate bargain with a god, to a woman who has lived over 300 years and experienced more than we can even imagine. Also can we talk about Henry – lovely, lovely Henry who I cared about deeply. I also want to get a cat and call it Book. You can read my review here.

The Only Plane In The Sky, The Oral History Of 9/11 – Garrett M. Graff

This is a detailed history of 9/11 from people all over the country, those with the President, those who were in the towers themselves, family members, people who watched along, pilots who were instructed to shoot down any other suspected threats. It’s an important read and something I think should be used to teach later generations.

Dear NHS 100 Stories To Say Thank You – Edited by Adam Kay

If we ever needed a year to show the importance of the NHS it’s this one. Edited by This Is Going To Hurt author Adam Kay, this is a collection by many well known names that raised money for our wonderful National Health Service. I loved it so much I bought a second copy straight away and gave it to my Nanna.

Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin

So, I got this for Christmas last year and it sat on my book case. I had a piece of magic sat on my shelves and I’m so glad I got to it this year – and that I read it after the second book was released because I could move straight on to it once I finished. What happens when a secret Witch and a Witch-Hunter get forced to marry? I love this book and the ending I did not expect at all. Chef’s kiss.

Hold Still – Nina LaCour

It was really hard to pick which Nina LaCour book to make my pick for the year – I’ve read 3 of her novels this year and enjoyed all of them. Hold Still hit differently though, it’s about the grief of losing a best friend to suicide and trying to find yourself afterwards. Beautifully written and it will stay with you for a long time after reading.

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

I’m so glad I tried Elizabeth Acevedo again! I was one of the (very few) people who struggled with The Poet X, but I picked up With The Fire On High and loved it, so I had to get Clap When You Land and was lucky enough to get an arc.

Novels in verse are hidden gems and I thought this was spectacularly written. Both girls perspectives were a great read and, if anything, I want to know what happens next!

Good Girl, Bad Blood – Holly Jackson

This is another book where I wish I hadn’t waited so long to pick it up! I read both A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood in the summer and I can’t wait to read the third book in the series in 2021.

I had to choose between the two but this got the top spot because I found the idea so fascinating. I can’t say much about the plot and why I loved it so much – that’s one of the only things about mysteries and thrillers you can’t say anything! I’ll have a review out next year!

Heartstopper, Volume 3 – Alice Oseman

I’ve read 1 graphic novel, 2 novellas and 1 novel by Alive Oseman this year – Nick and Charlie were in all of them so it only seemed right that they fit into my top 10. Volume 3 see’s Nick and Charlie go to Paris with their school. As well as exploring the city, this is where things also get a little more serious. You can read my review here and volume 4 comes out in 2021!

What were some of your favourite reads in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!