Summary: This heartwarming autobiography is written in a very storylike way. The book is composed of numerous short stories about James Herriot, a young vet living in Yorkshire, England. The stories lead you through his everyday life, which consists of taking care of animals and dealing with their owners (who usually require more effort). He encounters colorful characters such as Tricki Woo, the spoiled dog whose owner is convinced that he (the dog) has a human personality, and Tricki Woo’s “brother” Nugent, the friendliest pig you’ll ever meet. Sheep giving birth, horses getting injured on the track, and urgent calls in the middle of the night are only some of the situations keeping James and the reader on their toes. Whether you enjoy the humorous tales or the ones that detailedly describe what a country vet’s life was like many decades ago, this book will give you a spread of stories to choose from and enjoy.
Recommendation: Although some readers might find the stories a little too similar, I love the author’s writing style and voice. I recommended All Creatures Great and Small to one of my friends and she loved it almost as much as I did! On the other hand, you definitely have to have a connection to the book’s theme in order to finish it with a smile on; without much variation, the stories revolve around nature, animals, and daily life in the country. The tales of Herriot’s country life range from humorous and lighthearted to deep and thought-provoking. In that way, this book is more about life’s meanings than it is about the specific stories. Another aspect of this book I liked is its time period – historical fiction is very appealing to me, and if it is to you too, you’ll enjoy the experience of learning how a country vet’s life was so different than the ones many of us lead today.
Favorite Passage: “I thought it must be obvious to every passer-by that here was a true expert. Not just an inquisitive onlooker but a man who knew and understood all. I felt clothed in a visible aura of horsiness.”