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All Things Bright And Beautiful by James Herriot Review

Title: All Things Bright And Beautiful

Author: James Herriot

First published August 15, 1974

438 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780553064667 (ISBN10: 0553064665)

Rating: 4.33


“All Things Bright And Beautiful” is a heartwarming and captivating read that will leave you charmed. James Herriot, the renowned storyteller, takes you on another unforgettable journey throughout the picturesque Yorkshire Dales.

In this second volume, Herriot, now a newlywed, continues to tend to the needs of both his two-legged and four-legged patients. With his signature humor, deep compassion, and love for life, Herriot paints vivid portraits of the people and animals he encounters.

This new edition, released after a decade, is a must-read for anyone seeking a delightful escape into the world of animal stories.

About the Author

James Herriot, whose real name is James Alfred Wight, was a British veterinarian and writer. He is most famous for his series of semi-autobiographical books, known as All Creatures Great and Small, which have been adapted for film and television.

At the age of 23, Wight qualified as a veterinary surgeon at Glasgow Veterinary College. He worked briefly in Sunderland before moving to a rural practice in Thirsk, Yorkshire, where he practiced for the rest of his life.

The original practice is now a museum called “The World of James Herriot.”

Although Wight had always wanted to write a book, he was consumed by his veterinary practice and family. It wasn’t until his wife challenged him that he began writing in 1966, at the age of 50.

In 1969, he wrote If Only They Could Talk, which was the first in a series of books based on his life as a vet and his experiences in the Royal Air Force during World War II. To maintain professional etiquette, which frowned upon veterinary surgeons and other professionals from advertising their services, he used the pen name “James Herriot.” All Creatures Great and Small, published in the United States in 1972, was an instant success and spawned many sequels, movies, and a popular TV adaptation.

Wight renamed the town where he lived and worked in his books as Darrowby, based on the towns of Thirsk and Sowerby. He also renamed Donald Sinclair and his brother Brian Sinclair as Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, respectively.

While his books are partially autobiographical, many of the stories are fictional and loosely based on real events or people.

Although the Herriot books are often referred to as “animal stories,” animals play a lesser role in many of Wight’s tales. Instead, the overall theme of his stories is Yorkshire country life, with its people and their animals providing its distinct character.

Wight was just as interested in the owners of the animals as he was in his patients, and his writing is an amiable but keen comment on the human condition. The animals provide the element of pain and drama, while their owners feel and express joy, sadness, and sometimes triumph.

Wight’s stories of resolute grappling with mysterious bacterial foes or severe injuries have an almost heroic quality, giving the reader a sense of assurance and hope. Best of all, James Herriot has a great sense of humor about himself and his difficulties.

He never feels superior to any living thing and is always eager to learn about animal doctoring and his fellow human creatures.

Editoral Review

All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot is a beloved classic in the memoir genre, which features tales of the author’s experiences as a veterinarian in England during the 1930s. First published on August 15, 1974, this book ranks among the best animal stories that have ever been written, capturing the hearts of readers of all ages with its charming anecdotes and heartwarming characters.

James Herriot, whose real name was James Alfred Wight, was born in Sunderland, England, in 1916. After studying veterinary medicine at the University of Glasgow, Herriot worked as a veterinarian in the rural areas of England for many years.

He wrote a series of books that featured his experiences as a veterinarian, including All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful. All Things Bright and Beautiful follows the story of James Herriot as he navigates the challenges of being a country veterinarian in Yorkshire during the 1930s.

The book mostly focuses on Herriot’s patients and his relationship with them, as well as his relationships with his colleagues and friends. The main characters in the book are the animals, who are often more complicated and sometimes more interesting than their human companions.

Throughout the book, Herriot takes readers on an emotional journey as he narrates his experiences with different animals he has encountered. From a cow that refused to give birth to a horse that bucked him off, Herriot’s stories are both funny and poignant, and often showcase the quirks and eccentricities of the people he encounters.

One of the strengths of All Things Bright and Beautiful is Herriot’s writing style. He has a way of keeping his readers hooked with his descriptive narratives, vivid imagery, and clever humor.

His writing is both captivating and authentic, providing a glimpse into the daily life of a veterinarian in rural England in the 1930s. Additionally, the book’s themes of friendship, love, and empathy are universal and resonate with readers across different cultures and generations.

Despite the book’s many strengths, it does have some limitations. One of the main weaknesses of the book is its occasional lack of focus.

The narrative meanders at times, and the book can be slow-paced in some parts. Some readers may find the book to be overly sentimental and nostalgic, bordering on clichéd.

However, these criticisms do not detract from the overall brilliance of All Things Bright and Beautiful. It is a must-read for animal lovers and memoir enthusiasts alike, and continues to be relevant in today’s world.

The book also provides a unique window into the history and culture of rural England, making it an interesting and informative read for anyone interested in British history. In conclusion, All Things Bright and Beautiful is a beautifully written memoir that showcases the warmth and humor of James Herriot’s character.

Its vibrant storytelling, heartwarming characters, and universal themes make it a classic in the genre. We highly recommend it to anyone who loves animals, memoirs, or simply great storytelling.

On a rating scale of 1-5, this book gets a strong 4.5 stars.

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