With excitement building for readers who have pre-ordered, for me it was anxiety, until today. The first Advance Reader Copy Review went live on Goodreads.
5 stars from an experienced reviewer and big medical memoir fan, Julie Haigh, who is very well-read in this genre! Only a little bit of pressure there then to get it right :)
I've read all of Sarah Jane Butfield's previous memoirs about moving abroad to Australia and France and really enjoyed them. I must say, I do have a soft spot for medical memoirs-I love them-and I certainly LOVED this! Even in the early section, I was feeling eager to read it, it was catching my interest immediately. I was due to start work and had to keep nipping back for a quick look at 'just a bit more' before I had to go. The book starts where Sarah Jane is just sixteen, it's the early 80s and she begins training to be a nurse. There's quite a bit of introductory matter before it gets going-but I still found this enormously interesting and relevant-eg. the explanation of the title, and the review from an advance reader makes it sound so tempting too-you just have to read on! There's quite a trip down memory lane with the mentions of the Carry On Films. I loved getting to know the young Sarah Jane after having read all her other books set in more recent times. This is a really refreshing change hearing about her earlier life. It's packed with info about the tasks the student nurses did, the things they learned. Later, there was more nostalgia-I had forgotten about this TV series-General Hospital! Next subject covered is student nurse life-and partying! Some very helpful links are included to explanations of things-eg the Australian lift-and a YouTube video link to illustrate this also-what a great idea. I love the rhyming chapter title-and there are a few chuckles here, their antics! Next, she worked on the geriatric ward as part of her training. There's a great insight into the tasks she had to do serving her time district nursing. Here are mentioned the various bowel procedures! Many times in this chapter I was thinking: oh yak, oh no, oh my goodness-the things she had to do! A very interesting chapter. I also enjoyed the bit of history about the area which tied-in. Next placement is at a maternity hospital. There is such an amusing scene, I loved how this was written, a lovely chapter with a chuckle at the end. A really feel-good read at this point. Obviously, with this profession, there are harder times too. Oh, I really enjoyed this! Just my sort of book. It's been really interesting to hear about the different and varied medical fields she's worked in. So varied, more placements include caring for patients who have attempted suicide, on the operating theatre site suite and on the children's ward. Practical jokes are played on the students, Sarah Jane was on the receiving end of a few of these. We get to hear about workplace affairs-I love behind the scenes books like this! An excellent inclusion is a chapter written by Sarah Jane's step-daughter, Claire, who has just completed training as a nurse and she gives a comparison of how it is now to go alongside Sarah Jane's experiences in the 80s. A period of training and working in the A & E brings some aarrrggghhh tales! I like how she explains things as she goes along AND includes a glossary at the end as well of quite a few medical terms/diseases etc. I've read quite a few medical memoirs so I'd heard and knew most of these but I think it's a good idea to have this for people who haven't read many or any of this type of book before. An assortment of amusing, interesting, surprising and emotional stories. A pleasure to read. Her best yet!
OOH MATRON! Launch day party takes place on Monday 14th September, be there or be square.
We have lots of fun and prizes lined up! Join in now, on the link below, as there will be some pre-party activity and chances to win copies of 'Ooh Matron!' and other books.