Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Lord God Made Them All

As the gap between this book and the previous book Vets Might Fly (in the series it's actually Vet in a Spin, but I never wrote about it) was a very wide one, I wondered if I would still be captivated by these books. I reached for this one nervously only to prove to myself that the Herriot charm still has its hold on me.

No longer a stranger to farmers and folks of Darrowby (a fictional name of an actual town called Thirsk) of Yorkshire, Herriot reunites us back with familiars faces, and I'm not just talking about the two-legged ones. The animals, amazingly, are excellent at unmasking who we humans really are through the ways we deal with them.

Take for instance the Walt Barnett, the town's richest man. Known for being a tough no-nonsense businessperson, Barnett revealed his softer side when called Herriot to look at his cat, Fred. Fred's predicament moved Barnett to tears, something he sees as an embarassment. In Herriot's view however, Barnett's display was very admirable. 

This book also documents two international journeys embarked by Herriot as travelling veterinarian, one is onboard a livestock-filled ship bound for KlaipÄ—da, in present day Lithuania, and another similar mission via airplane to Istanbul, Turkey. The first trip is written in more detail since it was longer, and it made me want to experience a long distance journey onboard a ship, although I hope I don't get caught having dinner while there's a storm raging, I prefer not to chase after my food when it rolls across the table.

As for the Herriot charm having stronger effect on me, I blame him for introducing his two lovely children in this book.Young Jimmy has grown up and very much taken by his old man's profession. He did become a veterinarian later in life. As a little boy he got a kick from going along his father to the farms, opening gates so their car can drive through and went about the place to announce to the owner that they've arrived. Little Rosie makes her appearance as well, taking over her elder brother's role when he started going to school. Herriot steered Rosie into going to medical school to heal people instead of animals. He was concerned for her about other things that comes with the business of veterinary, like having chased by an angry bull or kicked by annoyed cow. The physical aspect of the job may not suit a female practitioner in the long run.

And this ultimately leads to the final book, Every Living Thing. I won't speculate on what may be in store ahead, but I surely don't like the feeling that I have when I'm about to reach the end of something good.

[ Read this too: Todd Wisti visits The World of James Herriot museum ]


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