Are You the F**king Doctor by Dr Liam Farrell Dalzell Press November 8th 2018
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 short stories.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.
I’ve always wondered what the life of a GP would look like, how they dealt with the myriad of patients that stepped through their doors. When I was offered a spot on the blogtour for Dr Liam Farrell’s Are You The F**king Doctor I jumped at it. Another reason was that I had recently accepted a position as a GP receptionist in a busy medical partnership so I thought it would give me the heads up as to what to expect!
The body of the book was an anthology of Farrell’s articles published in numerous medical publications over many years of being in practice. The vast time frame allowed Farrell to take in the many changes, both good and bad and with Farrell’s own distinct take on what the changes meant not only for himself but GP’s in general.
It was Farrell’s distinct style that was one of the highlights, humour injected into what could have been a very dry and at times depressing subject. It may have been something to do with the fact that Farrell was also Irish but in my opinion more due to his brilliant narrative, a narrative that pulled no punches and was at times very funny. Prevalent throughout was one of Farrell’s patients, a man who could only be classed as a hypercondriac, yet the relationship between doctor and patient described so brilliantly, that you wondered how Farrell kept his patience and more importantly maintained as sense of humour, testament to what a wonderful GP he must be.
Whilst the humour shone through there was a also a serious side, the continual need for change, to meet targets and to operate under financial pressures were all evident, yet it never felt laboured and nor did I feel that I was being preached to. Even more serious was his own personal health issues, that made the writing all the more poignant in places, and made him seem more human, capable of making his own mistakes, unable to wave a magic wand and make everything better.
It was Farrell’s ability to maintain the balance between the personal and the facts, the serious and the funny that made Are You The F**king Doctor so enjoyable and I certainly left with a new found respect for GP’s and all that they do.
I would like to thank Dalzell Press for a copy of Are You The F**king Doctor to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Dr Liam Farrell is from Rostrevor, Co Down, Ireland. He was a family doctor in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, for 20 years, and is an award-winning writer and a seasoned broadcaster. He is married to Brid, and has three children Jack, Katie, and Grace.
He was a columnist for the British Medical Journal for 20 years and currently writes for GP, the leading newspaper for general practitioners in the UK. He has also been a columnist for the Lancet, the Journal of General Practice, the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News. He wrote the entry on ‘Sex’ for The Oxford Companion to the Body.
On Twitter he curates #Irishmed, a weekly tweetchat on all things medical, which has a global following. He also co-curates #WritersWise, a regular tweetchat for writers, with novelist Sharon Thompson.
He was the medical columnist for the BBC Radio Ulster Evening Extra 1996-98; presented the series Health-Check for Ulster TV in 2002, and was medical consultant for both series of Country Practice in 2000 and 2002 for BBC Northern Ireland.
His awards include Columnist of the Year at Irish Medical Media Awards 2003, Periodical Publishers Association of Great Britain 2006 and Medical Journalist’s Society, London 2011, and Advancing Health through Media at the Zenith Global Healthcare Awards 2018.He was shortlisted for the Michael McLaverty Short Story Competition in 2008.
His twitter handle is @DrLFarrell