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Going Under

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,298 ratings  ·  166 reviews
A darkly funny and sexy novel that blows the lid off the medical profession and life inside a hospital by a young doctor whose anonymous article about the pressures of trainee doctors went viral around the world.

Dr Katarina 'Kitty' Holliday thought that once she finished medical school and found gainful employment at one of Sydney's best teaching hospitals that her dream w
Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 2nd 2019 by Allen & Unwin
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  1,298 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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Kylie D
A total eye-opener, Going Under brings to light the pressures junior doctors have to endure. It's the story of young intern Dr Kitty Holliday, and her journey through her first year in a training hospital in Sydney. The scary truth is a lot of the novel is based on fact, the bullying, belittling and even the suicide of young doctors. Added to the pressure cooker of surgery, long hours and lack of suitable supervision, the doctor training program is a recipe for disaster.

However Sonia Henry tells
After finally finishing medical school Dr Katarina (Kitty) Holliday couldn’t believe her luck when she landed a job at one of Sydney’s best teaching hospitals. All her hard work had paid off and her dream was really coming true.

Kitty can hardly contain her excitement when she finds out she’s to begin her first rotation in neurosurgery. Long tiring hours, low pay and dealing with difficult colleagues soon turns Kitty’s excitement into misery and she starts to question wether she’s made the right
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
" Admin sends us weekly emails telling us how great everything is in the hospital and how resilient we all are. We spend our days at work, our nights dreaming about work, sharing our beds with imaginary corpses, and our years trying to force ourselves through training programs to finally get somewhere. It's like trying to run up an escalator that's going down. You just keep on going until eventually you can't run anymore and have to step off. Or jump off.
Or you have a heart attack at fifty."

In 2
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Doctors worry constantly about patients surviving. We fear death and suffering and blame. Our own survival seems unimportant by comparison. The doctor saves the baby, or doesn’t. Who saves the doctor?”

Going Under is the first novel by Australian doctor and author, Sonia Henry. When junior doctor Kitty Holliday completes her medical degree, she thinks the worst is behind her: she’s a doctor now, right? Her first day as a neurosurgical intern soon disabuses her of that notion.

Kitty is stunned whe
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Okay, so I originally thought this was a Doctor memoir and not a novel, but I was pleasantly surprised! A lot of it reads like a Doctor diary of their time on the wards but because it’s a novel, the relationships and life outside of the hospital are explored in more detail which I really enjoyed.
Read this if you liked: 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐆𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐇𝐮𝐫𝐭 or 𝐓𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐌𝐞, 𝐈’𝐦 𝐚 (𝐉𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐫) 𝐃𝐨𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫
Gloria Arthur
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
‘Every year in America 400 physicians kill themselves, that’s an entire medical school!’

Going Under is a novel that gives you a surprising realisation of the pressures that are thrown at young interns and explores the bullying and abuse that comes from the senior staff. There appears to be a culture of bullying, intimidation and unsafe work hours in some hospital departments. The dream of becoming a surgeon is a long, hard and emotional ride and I’m sure those that have been a medical student wi
Kylie H
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, great-read, humour
This is a fictional story based on the personal experiences of the author who is a doctor in training. While the story is told with great humour it does not fail to portray the immense pressure that trainee medical staff have to endure along with bullying, abuse and other behaviour that would be completely unacceptable in any other setting.
Kitty Holliday wants to be a surgeon, so finds herself as a new intern on a neurosurgical rotation. A series of events and poor behaviour on the part of her s
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
In January of 2017, Dr. Sonia Henry anonymously submitted an article to KevinMD regarding the recent suicides of two junior doctors, and how the culture of medical training likely contributed to their deaths. After going viral, the article sparked a long overdue conversation about the problems within the current system.

Hilarious, shocking, sexy and thought-provoking, Going Under is a novel that explores the issues Henry raised in her article through the experiences of Dr. Katarina (Kitty) Hollid
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

Doctor Sonia Henry has drawn on her experiences as a first year trainee doctor into her first novel. Going Under is an astute and penetrating tale, that strikes at the very heart of our country’s health care system. It is shrewd, entertaining and attention grabbing, which allows the audience to see how flawed the medical profession truly is, through the trials of Henry’s lead, Dr Katarina (Kitty) Holliday.

Going Under is a full length novel penned by Sydney b
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked this up under the incorrect assumption it was non-fiction; while disappointed, I was glad to learn that it was written by a doctor, suggesting the medical side of things would be portrayed accurately.

While the window into the medical side of things was well written and interesting, I felt that the rest of the book fell pretty flat. A character the narrator spends 80% of the book pining for is essentially written out in a couple of sentences; another character is suddenly introduced for
Janine Moloney
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book has such an important message to tell but was overshadowed by too much sex & alcohol! I’m a nurse, I get it, we also used alcohol & partying no doubt to medicate what we saw, treated & cared for in highly stressed environments at such a young age. It just was too focused on it. Also didn’t appreciate her interpretation of nurses, a common fault of doctors who don’t see nurses as part of the team going through similar experiences. She mentions their patient ratio is much higher, but doc ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
This is a very well written, entirely engrossing, often funny yet stomach churningly brutal book.

This book is a work of fiction, our leading lady is Dr Kitty Holliday, who is a first year trainee doctor at St Mary's Hospital, and we start with her first rotation, in surgical; it is not what she expected.

This is an exceptionally well written book in that the characters and the situations are so vividly written that it feels real as you go. This does not always make for easy reading though, becau
Dominique Wilson
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Going Under captures, with disturbing accuracy, the trials and tribulations that idealistic medical school graduates must face in their first year as interns. Anyone who has worked in the medical system will identify with much of this story – whilst often faced with life-or-death situations, the new interns must struggle with the hierarchy, with unhelpful mentors and supervisors, and with lack of guidance, all whilst wanting to offer the best of care to people who do not always want their help. ...more
Theresa Smith
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2019
‘I think that the most important quality for a doctor to possess is kindness. Without kindness, I think, we’re all lost in this maze of impossible perfection and constant self-punishment. Without kindness, we’re doctors devoid of humanity. And without our humanity, we don’t really have anything.’

Going Under is a devastatingly important novel. The story is told with a sharp edge of dark humour that is precariously balanced with frank and shocking honesty. I could barely put the book down, it’s su
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I assumed I'd love this book and I think subsequently gave it a higher bar. I like books about junior doctors because it's usually about grappling with humanity and relatable. No patients really play a role in this book and I never felt a connection with the narrator. I was younger than her as an intern but our experiences were very different. The quote on the cover says "a compelling eye opener" but I'm not sure to what. ...more
Sam Still Reading
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: from the publisher
Going Under is such an important, timely book. There has been a lot of media recently in Australia regarding the working conditions of doctors and other health professionals in hospitals. Going Under adds greatly to that conversation in this debut novel of a young doctor’s first year on the job. It asks the question as to who looks after the doctor and sadly, often the junior staff on the coalface are the ones that come last on the list.

Katarina (Kitty) Holliday is starting her first job since l
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘The most important quality for a Doctor to possess is kindness. Without kindness I think we’re all lost in this maze of impossible perfection and self punishment’
The above quote from the book is what resonated with me the most.

This book is a fictionalised account of Dr Kitty Holliday’s first year out of medical school as an intern in a large Sydney hospital. It has taken many facets of the real life experiences of young Doctors in their internship year.
It’s thought provoking, engrossing and hea
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: australian
It’s hard to express just how much of a disappointment this book was. I somehow had the idea it was a memoir, but at the very least expected something intelligent and insightful in the vein of Adam Kay’s “This Is Going to Hurt”. Instead, this (very thinly veiled) fictionalisation of the author’s experiences as a junior doctor in a public Sydney hospital is bogged down by lazy, unimaginative and clichéd writing, appalling dialogue, weak characterisation, ludicrous sexual fantasies and constant re ...more
Beth Stackhouse
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Won a preview read of this book through better reading. This book kept me reading and in the story from page 1 to the last. I recommend it to everyone, had a great main character. It was a book that's keeps you wanting to turn page after page to get to the end and find out what's going to happen next. 🙂 ...more
Laura Tenfingers
All possible stars!! Best book of the year without a doubt!

A very important message, very well written, very real, could not put it down and at times had me laughing so hard I couldn't read through the tears. Stellar.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Going Under - Sonia Henry

This is not a book I would normally reach for off the shelf, but I am so glad that this was handed to me.
This book and Sonia Henry have forever changed my outlook on Doctors and the lives that they lead.
Humerous, charming and delicious are a few words i'd use to describe this brilliant book that focusses on the life of Dr. Kitty Holliday and her journey through life as a junior Doctor.
This novel is based on fact with the brilliant skill of a wise and crafty author, to
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A strange mix of Bridget Jones meets medical drama. Or maybe more like an episode of 'Gray's Anatomy'!! An interesting read. ...more
Anna Loder
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s a great book. Wherever there is prestige and people there is bureaucracies and bullies. It’s obviously a novel but inspired by real events. It’s such a scary world full of overwhelm, anxiety and stress. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a hospital the same way again. Just from reading this novel I know there needs to be an urgent national conversation regarding medical culture. But I don’t think it needed the sex or cheap vulgar innuendo. It’s a big enough story without making it a fun one.
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
The use of chick lit to convey an important message didn't really appeal to me. ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Going Under follows Dr. Katarina (Kitty) Holliday as she navigates her first year as doctor. Complete with sex, drugs and the high you can only get from an operating theatre, Kitty learns that there is so much more to being a doctor than medicine.
This book reads like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy but with a distinct Australiana flavour. Kitty is caught up in the salacious world of horrible bosses, life threatening mistakes and power struggles as she tries to do her job. It’s dark at times, showi
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think we've all wanted to be a nurse or a doctor at some point in our lives. I had the little nurse outfit as a child - I think I played the doctor too, at times. I know I'm not smart enough to be a doctor though...and I don't think my caring nature (however abundant) would quite get me over the line.

Going Under was an incredible insight into the medical world. It was by turns hilarious and devastating. The characters were really well-developed and I sometimes forgot that that I wasn't reading
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
In a Wonderland they Lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream-
Lingering in the golden gleam-
Life, what is it but a dream?

This book is about the dreams of doctors, they want to make those who are sick better, make them live again but they must first navigate a path that is not always pleasant.

I think this novel told a great story, a somewhat true account of what really happens in the world of medicine (and to some extent in so many workplaces), the
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up thinking it would be a realistic portrayal of a future I'm currently working towards.

While I wasn't entirely wrong, I was also severely disappointed. Sonia Henry writes the portions of the book pertaining to her medical career powerfully. The interactions with her superiors (at least within the hospital) feel real and reflective on her part. The absolute rock bottom her and her friends hit is harrowing and I'm thankful she's willing to share her story. The acknowledgements
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
6. Going Under • Sonia Henry // the opening line.. this is for all the doctors who have ever felt lost or alone in a system that should care for you better.. spoke to me in a way I can’t put to words. This book is a MUST for anyone who works within a hospital, or anyone who wants an eye opener to what it’s like. It is raw, brutally honest and written with a side of perhaps a little bit too much sass. (Which I fucking loved and is sometimes the only way to get through the day!) Going Under follow ...more
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Sonia Henry is in her early thirties and lives and works in Sydney as a doctor. When she's not being a medic she devotes her spare time to writing and has been published in Kevin MD (America's leading physician blog), the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Medical Students Journal, and has scientific publications in the ANZ Journal of Surgery.

Her most widely read article was an anonymous piece

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