All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Confessions Of A GP by Benjamin Daniels

on August 9, 2020

Confessions Of A GP
Benjamin Daniels
The Friday Project
2012, 384p
Read via my local library/Borrow Box

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Benjamin Daniels is angry. He is frustrated, confused, baffled and, quite frequently, very funny. He is also a GP. These are his confessions.

A woman troubled by pornographic dreams about Tom Jones. An 80-year-old man who can’t remember why he’s come to see the doctor. A woman with a common cold demanding (but not receiving) antibiotics. A man with a sore knee. A young woman who has been trying to conceive for a while but now finds herself pregnant and isn’t sure she wants to go through with it. A 7-year-old boy with ‘tummy aches’ that don’t really exist.

These are his patients.

Confessions of a GP is a witty insight into the life of a family doctor. Funny and moving in equal measure it will change the way you look at your GP next time you pop in with the sniffles.

Honestly, I thought this would be a humorous read with some serious undertones about the difficulty of being a GP, especially in regards to the NHS and funding etc, but it wasn’t really at all like that, for me.

I actually found this pretty condescending, patronising and overly snarky, like the author was trying way too hard to be funny but it just came off more like he was being a jerk. There are descriptions of patients that are downright rude and disrespectful – a chapter titled ‘Kirsty the tranny’ comes to mind immediately, which seems incredibly blind, even with this being published close to 10 years ago. There’s also quite a bit of fat shaming, particularly in the case of a man who was housebound due to his large size. Daniels describes him as “fucking enormous” and later details events trying to get the man out his house whereby they seem to invite half the neighbours around under the guise of “helping” (how could they) but more just seems like a chance to gawk.

There are some rather sweet stories, whereby you can see the importance of community medicine and the role of the GP, even when it’s time wasting in a way. There are elderly people where the GP might be pretty much the only contact they have with the outside community and it can be their lifeline. Daniels details patients that visit him almost as therapy and even though that might take up time better allocated elsewhere, it’s so important to some people in the community for their overall health and wellbeing, as the GP can just be someone to listen to them. He makes quite a few house calls as well, which seems an important part of his job and these can be for a variety of reasons – to respond to a suicide warning, to administer morphine to a woman dying of breast cancer, to check over an elderly man who has fallen and was discovered by a neighbour. There is also a chapter that details the procedure of “granny dumping” which is families admitting elderly relatives to hospital around Christmas so that they may be able to go on vacation or have a ‘peaceful’ time without having to keep a constant eye on a relative who may need round-the-clock care.

But these chapters that I found interesting, informative or sweet are sprinkled in with a lot that I found snarky and mocking, especially as some of the things the author chose to mock or treat as though it was funny, weren’t really worthy of it. I’m sure there are plenty of things that are amusing or frustrating etc, in being a doctor but there were a lot of stories where it felt like that focus was misplaced or misdirected and it made my enjoyment of this book definitely not as high as it could been. The chapter about the overweight man in particular and Daniels’ reaction to his medical problem (which although unpleasant, he didn’t respond to in a professional way at all and handballed it to a community nursing organisation) as well as the description of having to remove him from his house and the chapter on the transgender person (and there are more chapters too, these were just the 2 that stuck in my mind the most) made me really want to dislike the author and put the book down. I did finish it because it honestly didn’t take very long. I’ve since learned that there are more of these but I definitely do not have any interest in reading any of them. I do not want to read anything else in this author’s judgemental voice.

4/10

Book #138 of 2020

 


2 responses to “Review: Confessions Of A GP by Benjamin Daniels

  1. I find there is a fine line with these sort of memoirs, a shame this one is disappointing.

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