Vet in a Spin by James Herriot
Created: Sat Mar 20 14:25:18 2010 | Last modified: Sat Mar 20 14:36:36 2010
James Herriot was the pseudonym of a vet in rural Yorkshire. He lived and practised in the early part of the 20th Century and his books are delightful and semi-autobiographical in nature.
Vet in a Spin is about how his life changes when he joins the RAF during the War and his experiences in service, his health problem and his subsequent return to Civilian life and practise. This is not a novel, but a series of short stories drawn from his experiences from both his earlier veterinary practise and his service life and they provide for absorbing yet light-hearted reading.
What is good about Vet in a Spin is that Herriot draws gentle humour from every situation and is able to laugh at himself. There is immense authenticity in his narrative and brings alive the kind of life that he lived quite well. He has a smooth flowing, yet simple style of narrative that is easy on the reader and renders this book immensely re-readable. I have found myself often re-reading it because of this quality. Along with interesting characters, a challenging profession that constantly varies by the day with temperamental patients, Herriot manages to lead a fairly full life. What Herriot does is bring this all to life so that the reader can relate to his life in terms of vivid imagery. James Herriot manages to draw word-pictures without actually having to use complicated language. The book manages to keep switching between his RAF experiences and his former civilian life very effortlessly: something that many authors do struggle with.
All in all, I rate this highly because of the simple, yet authentic narration that is unique to James Herriot. Highly recommended for all fans of semi-autobiographical fiction.