Tuesday, February 12, 2008

All Creatures Great and Small

(Originally posted at Vox)

I actually finished reading All Creatures Great and Small a week ago, but I'm only just posting about it. I've read several Herriot stories in the past, but always individually (as children's books or magazine articles). This is my second non-fiction book of the year (the other being Sir Rudolph Bing's memoirs). It is 499 pages long, but it felt much shorter because Herriot is such an excellent storyteller. The references to veterinary history were fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting in the Yorkshire Dales, perhaps because Herriot's own love of the region and its people was palpable on the pages. Some of the stories were sad and brought tears to my eyes, but they were nonetheless a pleasure to read. Herriot's compassion to his animal patients was equaled by his sensitivity to people. The story of his courtship with his future wife was humorous and sweet - though he passed over the wedding so quickly I almost missed it. My favorite story arch was probably of the pampered Pekingese Tricki Woo and his person Mrs. Pumphrey.

It was a delightful, uplifting book and I look forward to reading the next books in the series.

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