Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Book of the Month
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
By James Herriot
I am not what you would call an animal lover, and yet I love this book about an English vet who tells charming vignettes about his life and work in the Yorkshire Dales. James Herriot is the vet in question, and his life story is full of fun, touching and enthralling stories that make you keep turning the pages. This is actually just the first in a series of books about by Herriott and each one builds upon the narrative of his provincial life.
In addition to many great animal characters like Tricki Woo, the main focus is on Herriot and his two vet colleagues- Sigfried Farnon and his brother, Tristan. All three men are compelling and quirky characters that add to the richness of the book. Sigfried is an eccentric man who is always contradicting himself and making James laugh at his foibles. Tristan is a lazy prankster who sometimes allows his cavalier attitude impede his work. James functions as the everyman in the book and as the narrator he gives us good insights into what it was like to be a young vet during the 1930's in Darrowby.
This book, and its many sequels, are some of my favorites because they are so full of life and great characters. All the farmers and villagers are one of a kind people that Herriot truly relishes recounting. If you enjoy this book, I highly recommend the T.V. series of the same name that played on the BBC in the 1970's and 80's. It starred Christopher Timothy as James and Robert Hardy as Sigfried. I've been watching them on Netflix lately, so they're still available. Here's a photo of Timothy and Hardy from the show.