Flashback Friday : All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

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Flashback Friday is a meme hosted by Bookshelf fantasies  focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. 

My book for this week is one of my favourite books of all time and I suspect, a lot of other people’s as well.

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This is another book that I first read as a teenager and it is one of those rare books that I fell in love with almost instantly. This is the first of James Herriot’s books and it is the best.

This is a memoir of a country vet, James Alfred Wight. James Herriot is his pen name. This book begins in the 1937 when Herriot went from Glasgow to Yorkshire looking for a job and it chronicles all his adventures and experiences as a country vet, tending cows and horses, sheep, pigs and dogs.

It talks of all the interesting, funny, crazy, wonderful people he encountered and all the joys and quirks of a country life.There have been other books like this, I’m sure, but this book and this writer are both exceptional.

Herriot writes with a lot of warmth and there is a certain joy in his writing that is hard to find. His writing is funny and engaging, it is gripping, it charms you, it touches you, it makes you laugh and it makes you cry.

When this book first came out, the publishers dubbed it “a miracle” and a lot of the reviewers agreed. The review in the Chicago Tribune said,

“...a book that offers something for everyone…gusto, humour, pathos, information, romance, insight, style. It is vicarious living with one of the happiest and most admirable of people…Many more famous authors could work for a lifetime and not achieve more flawless literary control than this unknown country vet has in his first book…

But if living well is even mote difficult than writing well, his character and his temperament are more miraculous than his style…The whole book, in both it’s funniest and most tragic episodes, expresses a joyous and affectionate acceptance of life, animal and human.”

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2 thoughts on “Flashback Friday : All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

  1. I remember these being my older sister’s favorite books — and I kept trying to sneak them out of her room when she wasn’t looking! There was a TV series too, wasn’t there? Great pick!

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