“Graphic Medicine”: The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams

This sequel to Ian Williams’s 2014 graphic novel The Bad Doctor returns to a medical practice in small-town Wales. This time, though, the focus is on Iwan James’s colleague, Dr. Lois Pritchard, who also puts in two days a week treating embarrassing ailments at the local hospital’s genitourinary medicine clinic. At nearly 40, Lois is a divorcee with no children, just a dog. She enjoys nights out drinking with her best friend, Geeta, but her carefree life is soon beset by complications: she has to decide whether she wants to join the health center as a full partner, a tryst with her new fella goes horribly wrong, and her estranged mother suddenly reappears in her life, hoping Lois will give her a liver transplant. And that’s not to mention all the drug addicts and VD-ridden lotharios hanging about.

Williams was a GP in North Wales for 20 years; no doubt his experiences have inspired his comics. His tone is wonderfully balanced: there are plenty of hilarious, somewhat raunchy scenes, but also a lot of heartfelt moments as Lois learns that a doctor is never completely off duty and you have no idea what medical or personal challenge will crop up next. The drawing style reminds me of Alison Bechdel’s (and in the cover blurb she says, “Ian Williams is the best thing to happen to medicine since penicillin”), with single colors from pink to olive alternating as the background. I especially loved the pages where each panel depicts a different patient to show the breadth of people and complaints a doctor might see in a day.

This review is on the short side for me, but I don’t want to resort to spoilers, so will just say that if you’re a fan of Bechdel and Posy Simmonds, or if you are unfamiliar with graphic novels and fancy trying one, do seek this out. The medical theme made it a must for me. In fact, Myriad Editions have a whole “Graphic Medicine” series that I’ll be keen to explore.

My rating:

 

The Lady Doctor will be published in the UK by Myriad Editions on January 31st and in the USA by Penn State University Press on February 18th. My thanks to the publisher and publicist Emma Dowson for the free copy for review.

21 responses

  1. I really enjoyed this and guffawed out loud in several places, but it was touching too. A good balance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, me too! I showed my husband a few of the spreads — Pinocchio!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t like to mention that word!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a Posy Simmonds fan….. but not sure about the medical bits. Am I missing the point?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed a peek into what the life of a GP must be like. The tone and artistic style reminded me of Simmonds, if not the content per se.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds like a very entertaining way of getting across the trials and tribulations of being a doctor while throwing in a bit of health education.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s a perfect summation. I’ll have to find Williams’s previous book, too. I imagine that one is even more autobiographical.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That page you shared a pic of is fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s 3 or 4 spreads like that, showing the range of people and queries she might get.

      Like

  5. I still haven’t been able to get into graphic novels, but this one sure is tempting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do your kids like them? Maybe it would be a taste to share, or develop together?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They all like them! I have read some kids’ ones with them, but not for a while.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. We actually have The Bad Doctor at one of our libraries – just requested it! 🙂

    Like

    1. Wow, awesome! I’m impressed. I have no idea how I will access that one…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You guys don’t have that one? That’s weird!

        Like

    2. I was offered the new one by the publicist, but the prequel is 4.5 years old now and not in my fairly small library system. I would have to stumble on it secondhand, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] If you enjoy Posy Simmonds’s work, you’d certainly enjoy this, it’s super. See Rebecca’s review […]

    Like

  8. […] If you enjoy Posy Simmonds’s work, you’d certainly love this, it’s super. See Rebecca’s review […]

    Like

  9. […] reading Rebecca’s review of The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams, I put a hold on his first book, The Bad Doctor, surprised (but happy) to see it at our library. It […]

    Like

  10. […] The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams: Dr. Lois Pritchard works at a medical practice in small-town Wales and puts in two days a week treating embarrassing ailments at the local hospital’s genitourinary medicine clinic. The tone is wonderfully balanced: there are plenty of hilarious, somewhat raunchy scenes, but also a lot of heartfelt moments as Lois learns that a doctor is never completely off duty and you have no idea what medical or personal challenge will crop up next. The drawing style reminds me of Alison Bechdel’s. […]

    Like

  11. […] *The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams: Dr. Lois Pritchard works at a medical practice in small-town Wales and treats embarrassing ailments at a local genitourinary medicine clinic. The tone is wonderfully balanced: there are plenty of hilarious, somewhat raunchy scenes, but also a lot of heartfelt moments. The drawing style recalls Alison Bechdel’s. […]

    Like

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