I have always heard how great a book this was, but I never found time to read it. I have now, thank goodness, corrected that error. If you are an animal lover, then you will also love this book. It is a biography about James Herriot, a newly-graduated veterinary student who gets his first job in the English countryside.
James Alfred Wight, aka James Herriot, started his veterinary practice in the Yorkshire countryside in 1940. The author takes liberty with the town name and date that he started his apprenticeship, but this does nothing to distract from the beauty of his writing. Not only does he give amusing accounts of the animals that he tended to, but he also gives great descriptions of the farmers, tavern keepers, and local gentry. A character that I enjoyed was Herriot’s boss Seigfried Farnon M.R.C.V.S. He is described as an easy-going person who takes one day at a time but whose mood can change very quickly when angered. The main source of Seigfried’s anger is his brother, Tristan. Tristan has more of a “joie de vivre” attitude towards his education (he failed to pass some classes) and life in general. Anyone who has siblings will identify with these brothers’ attitude towards each other.
The only thing that bothered me about this book were the technical terms. Fortunately, by the end of the book I had a fairly good idea about the tools of his trade and the animal diseases mentioned. These are things that a lay person would have trouble understanding, but Herriot does an adequate job of giving the reader information that anyone would be able to understand. It may distract some people from reading this book, but I eventually grew to understand these terms without them becoming a drag on the story.
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. Children would enjoy the stories about the animals and adults would appreciate the descriptions of nature and the local people of a small English village. I give this 4.5 stars out of 5. I took a half star off because of the technical terminology.