Friday, March 30, 2007

All Creatures Great And Small, James Herriot

All Creatures Great And Small
James Herriot

Call me a sentimental old fool, but I love this book. All Creatures Great And Small was the first book by James Herriot. It's a memoir of his first couple of years working as a veterinary surgeon in Yorkshire. It's also wonderful reading, plain and simple.

It's easy to look up James Herriot and find out that it was the pen name of James Alfred (Alf) Wight. You can find out a lot about his life and times if you spend even a moment or two looking. The Wikipedia entry seems pretty good, is available, and there are probably many other places to look as well.

But the real wonder here is the book itself. These short tales - some sad, some happy, some touching - grab the reader and simply will not let go. I last read this book over twenty years ago and it turns out I remembered far more of it than I thought possible. The author's love of the countryside, his patients, partners, and clients shines through. Every fifth page makes me laugh, cry, or giggle out loud, so for me, reading this alone is probably best.

If I ever manage to take up writing in a more serious way, I hope whatever I produce results in even one tenth of the reaction I have to All Creatures Great And Small.

If you need a reason to smile, or a refresher on some of the good things in life, pick up a copy of this book. You won't be sorry you did.