Anyway, I've read all of Herriot's books, but long ago. Like, more than twenty years ago. I'm teaching high school lit to another niece this year, and she likes animals, so I thought this might be a fun author for her to read. But I didn't want to intimidate her with a big, thick book, so I got her this smaller one instead. And got one myself, while I was at it, since I semi-collect these MacMillan Collector's Library editions. They're so cute and pretty and fun to read and... yeah.
Well, naturally I had to reread this book before I could teach it. And I am happy to say that I loved it all over again. Herriot had me laughing at least once a chapter. Sometimes, I laughed so much, I had to put my book down and wipe my eyes. I adore his humor, so dry and absurdity-based and British. My goodness, what writing.
If you've never read these, I suppose you might want to know what they're about. James Herriot (actually James Wight) was a veterinarian in Yorkshire, England. In this book, he first arrives there, fresh out of veterinary school, and encounters many unusual people and many interesting veterinary cases. Some of which are fairly serious, and others of which are simply funny. (And some of which are pretty icky, so don't read it if you think animal poop is too gross to ever be mentioned in print.)
I always thought that these were strictly non-fiction, told in a funny way, but I learned recently that Herriot did fictionalize some of his stories. And many of the ones that supposedly occur in the 1930s and '40s are based on things that actually happened in the '60s and '70s, when he was writing. You know what? I don't even care. It's Herriot's writing that delights me, after all, not whether or not these things actually happened exactly as he sets them down.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-10 for a lot more cussing than I remember. Maybe they cleaned it up some for the American edition?
This is my 4th book read and reviewed for my third go-'round with the Classics Club.