‘All Creatures Great and Small’ is a Pleasant Summer Read
Summer has just kicked off here in Florida. My kids are out of school, summer camps are in session and the beach and pool are calling to ‘get in!’ Or be scorched by the Florida sun.
I have a couple of streaming series recommendations for you, for those moments this month when you’re flying to your vacation destination, or just enjoying a weeknight evening without the usual running around that happens during the rest of the year. But for right now I’ll point you to some summer reading that will warm your heart.
I discovered “All Creatures Great and Small” in my husband’s grandmother’s bookshelf several years ago. She invited me to read it after hearing that I wanted to be a veterinarian (!). Although that idea didn’t go very far, I loved reading James Herriot’s account of rural veterinary life.
Herriot’s storytelling is warm and funny. He has so many heartfelt depictions of the animals-and people- he cared for. He delivered calves and treated horses, dogs, and cats. The whole thing is quiet endearing to be honest. For example, in one story, Harriet is called to deliver a calf in bitter cold weather, where he finds himself stuck in the mud. After a lot about you of hard work (and ingenuity) he manages to extract himself and deliver the animal safely.
In another story, he recounts a horse that refused to take its medicine when the horse’s owner had the idea of serving the medicine over a piece of bread soaked in whiskey. The horse thought this was very tasty and took the medicine eagerly. If you’re an animal person, you’ll like these cute kinds of stories.
On a deeper level though “All Creatures Great and Small” showcases the importance of community and the deep relationships that develop between people and their animals. Herriot depicts the ties and respect he developed with his clients, and how they turned to him for advice and support during difficult times. The story covers a lot of ground and is a feel-good experience overall.
I like a good thriller novel or epic adventure just as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s nice to take it easy with some lighthearted drama and happy endings.