Book Review: Dear NHS: 100 Stories To Say Thank You

Dear NHS

It’s not often I pay actual money for a book – I’m super lucky that I get lots of advance review copies for free – but when I saw this was coming out, I was clearly more than happy to part with some cash when all of the profits are going to support NHS Charities Together and The Lullaby Trust.

Here’s the blurb:

“Curated and edited by Adam Kay (author of multi-million bestseller This is Going to Hurt), Dear NHS features 100 household names telling their personal stories of the health service. Contributors include: Paul McCartney, Emilia Clarke, Peter Kay, Stephen Fry, Dawn French, Sir Trevor McDonald, Graham Norton, Sir Michael Palin, Naomie Harris, Ricky Gervais, Sir David Jason, Dame Emma Thompson, Joanna Lumley, Miranda Hart, Dermot O’Leary, Jamie Oliver, Ed Sheeran, David Tennant, Dame Julie Walters, Emma Watson, Malala Yousafzai and many, many more.

All profits from this book will go to NHS Charities Together to fund vital research and projects, and The Lullaby Trust which supports parents bereaved of babies and young children.

Other writers include Chris O’Dowd, Johnny Vegas, Jack Whitehall, Chris Evans, Lorraine Kelly, Lee Mack, Jonathan Ross, Konnie Huq, Greg James, Frank Skinner, Louis Theroux, KT Tunstall, Sandi Toksvig and Kevin Bridges.

The NHS is our single greatest achievement as a country. No matter who you are, no matter what your health needs are, and no matter how much money you have, the NHS is there for you. In Dear NHS, 100 inspirational people come together to share their stories of how the national health service has been there for them, and changed their lives in the process. By turns deeply moving, hilarious, hopeful and impassioned, these stories together become a love letter to the NHS and the 1.4 million people who go above and beyond the call of duty every single day – selflessly, generously, putting others before themselves, never more so than now.

They are all heroes, and this book is our way of saying thank you.

Contributors include: Dolly Alderton, Monica Ali, Kate Atkinson, Pam Ayres, David Baddiel, Johanna Basford, Mary Beard, William Boyd, Frankie Boyle, Jo Brand, Kevin Bridges, Alex Brooker, Charlie Brooker, Rob Brydon, Bill Bryson, Kathy Burke, Peter Capaldi, Jimmy Carr, Candice Carty-Williams, Lauren Child, Lee Child, Bridget Christie, Emilia Clarke, Rev Richard Coles, Daisy May Cooper, Jilly Cooper, Fearne Cotton, Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal, Victoria Derbyshire, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Chris Evans, Anne Fine, Martin Freeman, Dawn French, Stephen Fry, Mark Gatiss, Ricky Gervais, Professor Green, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Mark Haddon, Matt Haig, The Hairy Bikers, Naomie Harris, Miranda Hart, Victoria Hislop, Nick Hornby, Sali Hughes, Konnie Huq, Marina Hyde, E L James, Greg James, Sir David Jason, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Jackie Kay, Peter Kay, Lorraine Kelly, Marian Keyes, Shappi Khorsandi, Nish Kumar, Stewart Lee, Joanna Lumley, Lee Mack, Emily Maitlis, Andrew Marr, Catherine Mayer, Alexander McCall Smith, Paul McCartney, Sir Trevor McDonald, Caitlin Moran, Kate Mosse, Jojo Moyes, David Nicholls, John Niven, Graham Norton, Chris O’Dowd, Dermot O’Leary, Jamie Oliver, Sir Michael Palin, Maxine Peake, Sue Perkins, Katie Piper, Ian Rankin, Jonathan Ross, Ed Sheeran, Paul Sinha, Frank Skinner, Matthew Syed, Kate Tempest, David Tennant, Louis Theroux, Dame Emma Thompson, Sandi Toksvig, Stanley Tucci, KT Tunstall, Johnny Vegas, Danny Wallace, Dame Julie Walters, Phil Wang, Emma Watson, Mark Watson, Robert Webb, Irvine Welsh, Jack Whitehall, Josh Widdicombe, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Greg Wise, Malala Yousafzai, Benjamin Zephaniah.”

 

The introduction to the book is by Adam Kay – and he explains why there are actually more than 100 stories – but I’ll leave you to read that yourselves as it is amusing.  He also makes great use of footnotes – as ever!

Each of the ‘stories’ is very different.  There are letters, poems, stories, reminiscences – and a mixture of the current crisis the NHS is facing during the coronavirus crisis – and then people’s historic experiences.  All are very different.

I expected it to be total weep-fest – and I did cry – but not as much as I thought I would.

There was only one entry that I thought ‘well, you’re an attention seeking celebrity’ (and I won’t name names!) all of the others I thought were well written and thoughtful.

Clearly this book is for a great cause – and is rightly on the top of best seller lists.  It makes a perfect ‘toilet’ book – in that you can pick it up and put it down and can read it in small bitesize chunks. Although given the current climate – I’m not sure reading books in toilets is allowed – in fact it probably shouldn’t be allowed in any climate……

It made me think of how grateful I am personally to the NHS and how it’s helped, and continues to help, me and my family on an almost daily basis – but I won’t make this blog post all about us!

Assuming you’re one of the few people who haven’t bought this yet – I would suggest you do.   It’s a good read and you’re raising money for excellent causes.

#ThankYouNHS