The latest diaries I’ve read are the Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor. Although brilliant, they’re not strictly diaries, more daily reflections, as I’ve pointed out in my review:
Adam Kay was a Junior Doctor who spent 6½ years working in NHS hospitals in the UK, becoming a Senior Registrar, before quitting to become a television comedy writer and script-editor (Mrs Brown’s Boys, Grandma’s House, Mitchell and Webb…) His ‘Secret Diaries’ are the result of his reflective practice, where he would write down ‘anything remotely interesting that happened that day’. The best of these entries have been collected into this book.
Despite the book’s subtitle they don’t read so much as diaries, rather a collection of anecdotes. There are no mundane, everyday happenings and you don’t get to know much about Adam – other than when he looks back on each stage of his medical career by way of introducing the daily reflections from each position he held. However the stories he shares are laugh-out-loud funny and also deeply moving.
You won’t read Adam’s diary to get to know him, you’ll read it to understand more about what NHS hospitals are actually like, and the politics that surround them, more about the state of human nature and the ridiculousness of people. You’ll get an insight into a job that, unless you’ve actually done it, you could never understand; a job that is interesting enough to write about everyday and interesting enough for others to want to read about it. That’s what makes these diaries special, and the fact that Adam is a brilliantly funny writer, with a dry sense of humour, and a wonderful turn of phrase.