On publication day, we’re delighted to be sharing with you Laura’s thoughts on The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams.
Dr Lois Pritchard is a salaried partner at Llangandida Health Centre with Drs Iwan James (subject of The Bad Doctor) and Robert Smith. She also works two days a week in the local Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinic. She is 40, currently single, despite the attentions of her many admirers, and is, by her own admission, ‘not very good with relationships’. When her estranged mother makes a dramatic appearance on the scene, demanding a liver transplant, Lois has to confront her loyalties and make some hard decisions.
From the moment we see Dr Lois nipping out behind the surgery for a fag, we know we are in for a behind-the-scenes warts-and-all comedy drama. We meet a patient who regrets the Pinocchio face he had tattooed on his genitals; a man who resorts to desperate measures after being driven mad by his neighbours’ cats, and a prescription drug addict who plans to sue his previous doctors for failing to refuse him the drugs he demanded. Drugs – prescription, recreational, legal (coffee, alcohol, tobacco) – and behaviours and attitudes surrounding them – are a hot topic at Llangandida Health Centre.
Hardening government attitudes towards drugs and addiction, and patients’ demands to benefit from the re-emergence of psychedelic therapeutic research, don’t make a doctor’s life any easier, but Ian Williams explores current medical issues and ethics with his trademark lightness of touch and wonderfully sly sense of humour, using his own experience as a practising GP to recreate the lives of both patients and health service practitioners.
The Lady Doctor is available to purchase from publishers Myriad Editions.
The Lady Doctor is my first graphic novel and I wasn’t sure if I would like it, however I thought it was amazing and read through it all in one sitting. The characters were intriguing and even shocking at times, it held a realistic aspect of our GP service alongside a sly sense of humour.
Lois Pritchard, the main character is a GP at a Welsh Health Centre and a part time member of staff at a clinic. She is a forty-year-old smoker with relationship problems. This graphic medicine follows her frustrations with demanding and abusive patients, a reunion with her estranged mother and her stressful private life.
The illustrations are wonderful and portray this as both witty and realistic. Williams explores current medical issues with privatization of clinic’s, drug use and gender equality in the workplace.
I enjoyed The Lady Doctor and will be looking out to read The Bad Doctor.
Ian Williams is a comics artist, doctor and writer, now living in Brighton. He has studied Medicine, Medical Humanities and Fine Art and he founded the website GraphicMedicine.org, coining the term that has been applied to the interaction between the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare.
Born of a Welsh family, Williams grew up in the north of England and studied Medicine in Cardiff before moving to North Wales, where he lived for over twenty years, to pursue his love of mountaineering. He worked as a doctor while developing a side career as a painter and printmaker, exhibiting nationally and internationally. He undertook an MA in Medical Humanities and wrote a dissertation on medical narrative in comics and graphic novels.
Williams’s attempt to find some common ground between his two careers led to the creation of his own comic strips in 2007, using the nom de plume ‘Thom Ferrier’ to maintain some anonymity while still working in rural general practice.
Populated by a cast of flawed characters, and shot through with gallows humour, his stories explore the darker side of medicine, revealing the harsh realities of human interaction and behaviour during times of stress and fear. The Bad Doctor, his debut graphic novel (Myriad, 2014), was highly commended by the British Medical Association at the Medical Book Awards 2015. His latest graphic novel, The Lady Doctor, will be published by Myriad in January 2019.
He is also author of a series of comic strips for The Guardian. Sick Notes is a weekly cartoon about the trials and tribulations of working within the NHS.
He is joint Series Editor for the Graphic Medicine list by Penn State University Press, US publishers of The Bad Doctor.
Connect with Ian Williams
Myriad Editions on Jera’s Jamboree.