All Creatures Great and Small by: James Herriot

I have tried to read this book several times, and never made it through. It’s pleasant enough, but there is not really a plot. Rather, the reader follows James Herriot as he ambles through the first years of him practicing veterinary medicine in the late 1930s.

With the help of an audiobook, I got through – and enjoyed it more than I did during any other attempt. Something about having it read to me allowed me the pictures the author paints to lazily build themselves in my head.

This was a great spring read, nothing too taxing and something great to amble along with. Each chapter is essentially a snapshot of a incident that happened as he joins another vet in Yorkshire and works under him. There is never an easy day, as some animal at a local farm or home has some problem, whether that is birthing babies or seasonal diseases.

You can tell Herriot’s love for animals is very prominent, and something I loved that it exuded through the book. Since this takes place almost 100 years ago, some of the practices are a bit crude, but the author does a great job of describing the intricacies in a way that is more digestable – even when they turn your stomach a bit.

Although Herriot’s work is never the same everyday, a few regulars are present. Of course his boss Siegfried Farnon, the bosses’ brother, and some local farmers. You get to know some of their peculiarities as Dr. Herriot navigates them. Sometimes I’d find myself laughing out loud, especially when Dr. Farnon will try to teach a lesson and then directly contradict it in the next breath!

Another point of hilarity to me was Trickie, the beloved yet overweight dog of a local. In the 1930’s the thought of a dog having a birthday party and eating right off the owner’s plate must have been crazy. Reading now, I think his owner must have just been a precursor to many of us now. And when Trickie gets a roommate in the form of a pig, Dr. Herriot’s shock is palpable, but he treats them all with a sense of fondness and understanding of present-day vets.

This is a nice read, but not something I wanted to devour. It was more a book for me to dabble in and out when I wanted to visit the Yorkshire Dales. I feel pretty accomplished having finished it, and I will be keeping it for now. There are still 3 books in the series I own and need to read, and I do love the look of a completed series.

This is good for anyone with a love of animals who wants a nice quaint read. This feels like a light appetizer, as there was no serious meat in the form of themes, characters or plot. But it didn’t make it any less delicious.


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