Highly, highly recommended and while I guess I should leave the caveat that both smoking and drinking are indeed rather heavily featured in All Creatures Great and Small and its sequels, frankly, there is at least in my opinion, nothing even remotely inappropriate about this, and yes, it would be a total and unforgivable affront to me, if the James Herriot books were ever deliberately censored, if the scenes of drinking and or smoking were ever to be unilaterally removed, as especially the smoking scenes are simply a historical reflection of time and place, and while especially with regard to young Tristan Farnon and even James Herriot on occasion, there are indeed a few choice episodes of drunkenness and over indulegence, the vast majority of the All Creatures Great and Small pub scenes actually show and present rather glowingly and positively the perhaps for some North Americans somewhat inconvenient truth that in much of Europe, people do very regularly frequent neighbourhood pubs, but often if not even generally only drink one to three small ales at most, often taking hours to finish their pints, visiting pubsfor social engagement, for conversation and human company than for the purpose of getting drunk.
Not a long review because it has been years since I read this book however, it was and still is one of my favorite books His love for all creatures enhanced my love for them and his stories are timeless It is a must read for anyone who loves animals and a good read for those interested in a very well told tale.
The Classic Multimillion Copy BestsellerDelve Into The Magical, Unforgettable World Of James Herriot, The World S Most Beloved Veterinarian, And His Menagerie Of Heartwarming, Funny, And Tragic Animal PatientsFor Over Forty Years, Generations Of Readers Have Thrilled To Herriot S Marvelous Tales, Deep Love Of Life, And Extraordinary Storytelling Abilities For Decades, Herriot Roamed The Remote, Beautiful Yorkshire Dales, Treating Every Patient That Came His Way From Smallest To Largest, And Observing Animals And Humans Alike With His Keen, Loving EyeIn All Creatures Great And Small, We Meet The Young Herriot As He Takes Up His Calling And Discovers That The Realities Of Veterinary Practice In Rural Yorkshire Are Very Different From The Sterile Setting Of Veterinary School Some Visits Are Heart Wrenchingly Difficult, Such As One To An Old Man In The Village Whose Very Ill Dog Is His Only Friend And Companion, Some Are Lighthearted And Fun, Such As Herriot S Periodic Visits To The Overfed And Pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo Who Throws Parties And Has His Own Stationery, And Yet Others Are Inspirational And Enlightening, Such As Herriot S Recollections Of Poor Farmers Who Will Scrape Their Meager Earnings Together To Be Able To Get Proper Care For Their Working Animals From Seeing To His Patients In The Depths Of Winter On The Remotest Homesteads To Dealing With Uncooperative Owners And Critically Ill Animals, Herriot Discovers The Wondrous Variety And Never Ending Challenges Of Veterinary Practice As His Humor, Compassion, And Love Of The Animal World Shine ForthJames Herriot S Memoirs Have SoldMillion Copies Worldwide, And Continue To Delight And Entertain Readers Of All Ages 4.
5 stars I adored this book and swallowed it whole when I first read it back in the day, and grabbed the three sequels as soon as I could lay my hands on them All four of these old paperback books still have a place of honor on my downstairs bookshelf, wherein reside all manner of classics, old SF and fantasy, ancient English lit textbooks, and other old books It s quite the massive collection a lifetime s worth of books that have been lovingly and thoughtfully or sometimes not collected and have survived the periodic purges.
Anyway, James Herriott a pseudonym of James Alf Wight was a Yorkshire veterinarian whose practice began in the 1940s before many advances in modern medicine He wrote this hugely successful series of semi autobiographical books about his many years of veterinary practice amongst the farmers and people of Yorkshire His tales are very episodic, often self deprecating, sometimes poignant, sometimes silly, but always humorously told and heartwarming Herriott affectionately sketches the old Yorkshire personalities so well, and his love for animals shines through on the pages.
A truly delightful read These are lovely stories, especially if you re an animal lover.
There are no negatives in this book When I first read it them as I read Herriot s vet stories one book after another I would read them late at night in bed after my wife had gone to sleep Frequently I d be laughing silently, but laughing so hard I d shake the bed Now and again I d look over and see her just looking at me having been awakened by my convulsions of mirth Then I d end up reading aloud for hourscosting us both much needed rest.
I ve read this book so many times over the years, yet every single time I get to the last word on the last page I am ready to go back to chapter one and start all over From the first day of Herriot s arrival at Skeldale House, being greeted by a tsunami of leaping, barking dogs, to the week of tuberculin testing that brings the book to a close, we share the moments of joy, laughter, tears, nerves, confidence, mix ups and triumphs involved in his Yorkshire veterinary practice of the 1930 s.
We meet the Farnon brothers and many interesting people around the Dales, not to mention wonderful animals that will live forever, just as the human characters will Who could ever forget Tricki Woo Or that Labrador whose howling while coming out of the anesthetic drove poor Tristan half out of his mind That huge farm horse that leaned so comfortably on Herriot while his foot was being examinedthe list could go on and on.
It is always a pleasure to re visit Darrowby, even when I know ahead of time how every crisis turns out Herriot fills these pages with his love for his job, his joy for life, and his fascination with the people and animals around him And if a story about any case makes Herriot appear a bit silly, it is still included, creating an even stronger sense of reality because we all have stories that now make us laugh but then made us cringe My thanks to Herriot for sharing everything with us, not only here but in all the other books he wrote each one is a treasure.
I ve read a lot of James Herriot s stories over my life but haven t read this first volume of his beloved series of memoirs It is delightful, touching and often knee slappingly funny I highly recommend it FYI The audiorecording of the book is narrated by Christopher Timothy, the actor who played Herriot on the BBC series based on the books.
James Herriot s books are, for me, the ultimate in comfort books Which is odd, it occurred to me while listening to this audiobook there s blood and gore and uterine explorations and knackerings and death and cruelty There is casual mention of deeds and practices which would turn PETA s collective hair white But I ve been reading these books since I was about ten Which, considering the language, is surprising Them Yorkshire farmers were salty, mind And then there was the wonderful tv series.
That last is what made the audiobook ideal the reader is Christopher Timothy, who played James in the series alongside my beloved Peter Davison as Tristan I think he s one of those I ll follow anywhere, listen to anything he reads He s perfect Not just because I know him so well in the role already he is a warm, funny, compassionate reader, wonderful at the accents and natural in his delivery.
Just like Alf Wight, better known as James Herriot The things I mentioned before well, they were simply a part of life on a Yorkshire farm, in a Yorkshire veterinary practice in the first half of the 20th century It was as it was, there were no better treatments than some of the medieval remedies used, and for the most part animals were well kept because they were vital to the livelihood of their owners There is a surprising lack of sentiment overall, whether the animal in question is a pig or a puppy, a horse or a heifer.
Which isn t to say the stories are strictly cool and clinical not by a long mark Tricki Woo is the perfect embodiment of the series as a whole The pampered Pekingese son of a rich widow, he is a good natured little furball whose ailments tend to stem mainly from that pampering And when he goes flop bott or shows other symptoms which alarm his Mrs Pumphrey, Uncle Herriot is summoned on to the scene at once The reward for James s promptitude is baskets from London at Christmas I can t even fathom how expensive that would be, sent all the way to the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930 s along with other periodic delicacies so James, naturally, has a mercenary fondness for the Peke But he is also genuinely fond of the dog for his own self, as a personality, and of Mrs Pumphrey as well And balancing it all out like a splash of lemon juice is Mrs Pumphrey s chauffeur, responsible for the spasmodic bouts of exercise she penitently orders, along with the role of body servant to the dog, and he loathes Tricki with a deep and burning passion And when the pig Nugent comes along, there is much hilarity So, yes, there is some cringing as we visit the knacker s yard, or when some archaic remedy is brought out But it merely acts in the same lemon juice fashion on the warmth found in the daily interactions with the farmers and peers and kids with their goldfish, the dogs and cats and horses and pigs and cows and sheep, the slowly disappearing way of life of the Dales farmers The madness that is the Farnon brothers the surely hopeless love James has for a client s daughter eccentric as it all can be, it still rings true, and that s the key The book is, to co opt what they might say about a particularly nice cob, as sound as a bell.
So, whether it should be a comfort book or not, it got me through a particularly bad night recently The very definition of a comfort book I love these stories.
I have this problem an addiction, really called books I start reading one and I usually can t stop until I realize that awful smell is ME or my kids do that incessant tapping on my shoulder thing to ask if dinnertime will be occurring before bedtime I know, I know Probably shouldn t have put that in print Now CPS is gonna come after me Point being This book was NOT like that I could read one chapter each night, then put it down without my brain going all twitchy those of you fellow addicts know what I mean you other better adjusted readers, just take my word for it that twitchy is the perfect adjective Could it be A non page turner that I actually ENJOYED Why aren t therebooks like this I would be a much healthier person Herriot doesn t really have a through plot thus the non page turner quality , but each chapter presents a new, hilarious recollection from his young veterinary days in the Yorkshire countryside You know, one of those horses lifting you off the ground with their teeth, removing pig testicles, becoming the honorary uncle of a rich lady s spoiled pug kind of reads I must have laughed out loud at some point in every chapter If you re looking for a fun little book that you can just pick up every once in a while that won t cause you to go all twitchy THIS IS IT Just open the book and start reading anywhere read one chapter, five, the whole thing doesn t matter There s no real story but you ll get a good laugh Several, in fact.
It s semi astonishing that I ve been married to a veterinarian for a year and a half, which followed a year and nine months of dating engagement, in which time I went on many emergency calls with her to treat sick horses and the occasional goat , adopted a dog and a second cat to go with the first one my dearly beloved already owned, and various and other sundry proximity to a vet type stuff has gone down AND YET only now have I finally said to myself, Hunh, I should read that James Herriot guy If I had to sum up All Creatures Great and Small in two words it would be overwhelmingly pleasant , with a temptation to throw in a delightful as well Herriot writes with charming self effacement about his early days as a country veterinarian in England in the late 30 s He has a never ending supply of anecdotes, most of them funny, the rest simply heartwarming He learns the hard way that his years of book learning don t compare to the things you actually learn on the job that you can t argue with the boss even when they completely contradict themselves because, hey, they re the boss that losing track of how many pints of beer or tumblers of whiskey you ve had on a first date or a job interview is a bad idea Obviously, bonus points in my estimation for the number of funny drunk stories along the way But the best thing the book has going for it is the way that it unfailingly reinforces the simple notion that life is good Every story has a happy ending, whether it s the hours spent getting kicked and wearing himself out in the freezing cold middle of the night to help a cow deliver twin calfs, or the last minute acquisition of an experimental vaccine that saves a litter of kittens from an epidemic sweeping a farm, or even the vindication after putting a horse to sleep of knowing that it really was the best thing to end the animal s suffering And every time Herriot feels like a fool for choosing the arduous, unrewarding life of a country vet he breathes the fresh air and feels the sun on his face or watches a mother animal lick its newborn baby clean or gets a fresh baked pork pie from a grateful farmer s wife and he realizes it s all worth it That s the main thing I want out of life to never run out of those moments where, even though I can still recall and recount the difficult, frustrating, maddening things that happen all the time, I still revel in the sweet moments that make it all worthwhile And for a book to sustain that exact feeling for 500 pages is quite a feat.