Your Life in My Hands: Adam Kay’s medical memoirs

Musical satirist Adam Kay will follow up his critically acclaimed live show Fingering A Minor on the Piano with a written memoir of his time as a medical doctor, to be published in September.

© Karl Webster

© Karl Webster

Your Life in My Hands will see Kay revisit his past as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, which also formed the basis of his 2016 Edinburgh Fringe show, due to be revived at The Soho Theatre in April (tickets available here).

That show saw Kay open up his real life diary from his time as a junior doctor, which ended dramatically in 2010 when he quit the profession to become a comedian and writer, quickly forming musical duo Amateur Transplants before writing for MongrelsUp the Women and his own sadly short-lived sitcom, Crims.

As we said at the time: “For a solid fifty minutes or so, Kay fuses (we hope ‘heightened’) extracts from his diary of the time with a series of original ditties and musical parodies with medical themes. As to be expected from a man who wrote for Mongrels, and as anyone who is familiar with Kay’s Twitter feed will attest to, the gags are both savagely witty and wittily savage. At times, he pushes the absolute boundaries of what society deems ‘acceptable’ to say, and then brings the room back with a round of ‘Guess the ailment’ to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

“But as bitingly brilliant as his comedy is, it’s the final ten minutes of the show – in which Adam explains the horrendous events which led to his departure from practising medicine – which stick in the mind, and reduced many an audience member to tears. It would have been interesting to drop a pin during this stark climax every night, because there’s almost certainly a guarantee everyone in the room would have heard it. And that’s a testament to the brilliance of Adam’s show. He can get away with the sudden switch and still have audiences on his side at the end of it all.”

© Adam Kay

© Adam Kay

It appears we were not alone in our assessment, either. Alongside rave reviews from other publications, Picador’s publishing director Francesca Main saw the show at the Fringe, and was astounded. As she explains: “I saw Adam’s Edinburgh show last summer and, along with the rest of the audience, spent the first 50 minutes in stitches and the final ten in tears.

“I’m thrilled to be publishing the often hilarious, at times horrifying, and occasionally heartbreaking Your Life In My Hands, which shines a light on the everyday heroism of junior doctors and shares a few secrets that will make your toes curl. Adam has a brilliant voice and a unique story to tell – this is the book David Sedaris might have written, if only he had spent six years in scrubs.”

Even the master wit, Kay himself commented on the news with the following: “Even if only one person reads it, that’s one more person who knows the truth about life as a junior doctor and one more voice who can stand up for the future of the NHS. Although if only one person reads the book, Picador will have made a catastrophic mistake in commissioning it.”

Your Life in My Hands is due for release on Thursday 7th September 2017. We’ll bring you pre-order links for the book as soon as they’re available.

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