What they say: ‘General practice is the great unknown. We stand on the cusp of the beyond.
Science takes us only so far, then the maps stop in the grey areas of intuition,
imagination and feelings: here be dragons. Lurching from heart-breaking tragedy
to high farce, we are the Renaissance men and women of medicine; our art is
intangible. Anything can walk through our door…’
Family doctor, Irishman, musician, award-winning author, anarchist and
recovering morphine addict, Liam became a columnist for the BMJ in 1994.
He went on to write for many major publications, winning a series of prestigious
awards; in 2005, he was the first doctor to win Columnist of the Year in the
Periodical Publishers Association awards.
The book contains a selection of Liam’s best work, from his columns, blogs and
Brilliantly funny, glittering with literary allusion and darkly wicked humour, this
book is much more than a collection of stand-alone anecdotes and whimsical
reflections, rather a compelling chronicle of the daily struggles – and personal
costs – of a doctor at the coalface.
The Review: Some of you might know Dr Liam Farrell from an Irish med tweetchat, others from Writerswise, where he hosts a totally different tweet chat with the brilliant Sharon Thompson. Either way Dr Farrell is a force to be reckoned with and I was intrigued to hear of this, a book collating many of his various articles on being a doctor. Little did I know that it would start in such a dark place (the man’s own addiction) and go to many other dark places, but with much wit thrown in. (Yes, another book where I hadn’t read the blurb, I’ll admit it!!!)
One of the stories that grabbed me was one that I suppose wouldn’t be seen as stranger than fiction, but would most definitely be something a lot of people had never come into contact with, the issues of having to treat patients that were on the run from different sides in the troubles up the north of Ireland. Another, one, definitely of a lighter tone, was one on his aunties growing up. It was about being positive, which reminded me of similar aunties I’d heard tell of in my own house!
There was also a great deal of philosophy on life and I suppose tips to help you get through and I found myself reading late into the night, nodding along as I did. I’ll admit, there’s times I’m not the sharpest tool in the box and so had to read and re-read passages, such is the literary deliverance of some of the stories, but in general it was totally my cup of tea and I appreciated the stories and advice. Definitely worth a read!