Autumn's Reviews > All Things Wise and Wonderful

All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot
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May 04, 10

bookshelves: animals, laughter, sweet, true-story
Read from April 05 to 27, 2010

As always, it's lovely to read Herriot. He loves his work and those he works for, and that tenderness shows in his storytelling with a good amount of humor perfectly balancing it all out. This time around, Herriot is training in the RAF, and incidents in his training lead to memories of his life as a vet, which he skillfully ties together. I like how Herriot talks to you as though he knows you are as interested in his work and love his patients as much as he does, because, as his reader, you do. He talks to you as an equal and as an old, familiar friend, and once again you get to enjoy the entertaining company of Siegfried and Tristan, and be welcomed with a warm hug by and sat down to share cake and laughter with the lovely Helen.

One of my favorite stories is that of the gentle, retired farmer, Mr. Potts, who loved the chance to talk shop with Herriot while his older dog, Nip, played with Herriot's young basset hound. Herriot's first image of Mr. Potts and Nip:
He was perched on a stool, milking one of his few cows, his cloth-capped head thrusting into the hairy flank and as he pulled at the teats old Nip dropped a stone on the toe of his boot. The farmer reached down, lifted the stone between the two fingers, and flicked it . . . NIp scurried delightedly after it and was back within seconds, dropping the stone on the boot and panting hopefully. . . . His master repeated the throw . . . and as I watched it happening again and again I realized that this was a daily ritual between the two. I had a piercing impression of infinite patience and devotion. (p. 381)
Herriot realized it was hard for Mr. Potts to be retired, out of the business he had been part of his whole life yet still loved and understood and wanted to share. With Herriot, he had the chance to feel part of things again, sharing his knowledge and experience. Herriot liked knowing that, however small it seemed, he was helping Mr. Potts this way. Later, after Mr. Potts was gone, it was sweet to read of Herriot finding comfort in realizing that there was still something he could do for Mr. Potts in life.

Always enjoyable to join Herriot, his animals, and farmers in the Yorkshire countryside.
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