If Only They Could Talk (All Creatures Great and Small #1), by James Herriot

If Only They Could Talk by James Herriot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a rule, I never re-read books. To me, it seems like a waste of precious reading time. There are exceptions to every rule, though, and the books by James Herriot are one of those. I mostly read them as in-between books: When I’ve finished a book and cannot review it right away as I usually would, I open a Herriot and am right back in his beloved Yorkshire Dales.

If Only They Could Talk” is the first of a series of books that are essentially memoirs of Herriot’s experiences as a young veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales, beginning in the 1930s. It is a heartwarming and humorous account of his encounters with animals and their owners, as well as his struggles to establish himself as a veterinarian in a rural community.

Herriot’s love for both animals and people shines through in his writing. He has a great empathy for both his animal patients and their owners, and he portrays them with warmth, humour, and a deep respect. He admires and celebrates the majestic bovines and their proud owners but nobody is beneath him – he helps the impoverished old man and his dying dog just as kindly and empathetically as everyone else.
He portrays them as hardworking, down-to-earth, and deeply connected to the land and the animals they care for.

One of the things that makes Herriot’s books so special is his ability to capture the unique personalities and quirks of the animals he encounters: From mischievous cattle and stubborn horses to spoiled Pekinese Tricky-Woo; Herriot has a special talent for bringing them to life on the page, and his descriptions of their behaviour and mannerisms are both funny and touching.

Overall, Herriot’s books are a testament to the power of compassion, empathy, and love, both for animals and for our fellow human beings. They are a joy to read, laugh-out-loud funny at times, heart-wrenching at others, and they remind us of the beauty and wonder of the natural world, as well as the importance of kindness and connection in our lives.

Once more, five stars out of five.

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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