Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.As regular readers will be aware. I’ve had an occasional series (based on the books I’ve taken out from the library) on whether there’s a writer who could replace James Herriot’s unique position in the field (where the cows don’t roam) of veterinary autobiography.
We have had so far the young vet, the out of hours vet in London and the vet whose USP is that he works in James Herriot’s old practice and wanders round Yorkshire…yes I know. All though unsuccessful in usurping the crown of the king.
(As a quick aside on Tuesday when our finds from the South Wales Valleys came down to see us
the subject of the Yorkshire Vet came up…no idea why. Apparently his TV series is now on season four. Which says everything you need to know about how up to date I am.
Anyway I mentioned that I’ve read his autobiography which brought surprise given we don’t have a pet. Hey I’m a reader…don’t judge me.
So I was asked what I thought of the book.
“Well” I began “It’s not James Herriot”.
And there was a nod of understanding. I did not need to say anything else. The most succinct piece of literary criticism I’ve ever given.It was all you needed to know)
So here’s the latest contender:
|Pet Subjects – Pete Wedderburn|
Let’s start by saying this…â€¦ it’s not James Herriot.
But in Mr Wedderburn’s case it does not matter. Because he doesn’t attempt to be. There are no descriptions of [insert landscape here] , no courtship tales, no eccentric pet owners or work colleagues. What we have is no so much a vet (though he is that) but more of a medical detective.
Mr Wedderburn is the resident vet in the Telegraph who answers reader’s problems. You’d have thought Telegraph readers would have issues like “Why doesn’t my dog stand to attention when God Save The Queen is playing?” But no. Their problems are the same as other animal lovers.
So what Mr Wedderburn does is tell us a particular case history from his practice in the Irish Republic how he solved the mystery that was brought before him (such as the case of the dog who stopped eating, or the parrot who stopped talking) before ending discussing general animal problems that the chapter related to.
And it as a casebook of medical mysteries that the book works for the reader. He entertains but also informs.
So it’s not James Herriot. But certainly the best book of it’s kind I’ve read this year simply by not trying to be.
Until the next time.