Book Review: The Real James Herriot: a memoir of my father
You will not be disappointed in consuming this wonderful book. If you happily were transported to the Yorkshire Dales in the 1970's or after to breathe the air, adore the scenery and laugh out loud at the antics of country Veterinarians led by James Alfred (Alf) Wight, this book takes you back once more. One might be suspicious of a son-about-father biography waxing sentimental and possibly containing a skosh of whitewash. Fear not, the truth behind the stories in the books is perhaps more heartwarming and delightful than what we might have imagined.
Of the revelations I found particularly interesting were the facts revealing how thoroughly human and prey to difficulties Dr. Wight was as it was so easy to invision the media hype later in his life as "natural born story-teller."
The appearance was that he led a pretty charmed life. He was a fine, talented writer, but it took many attempts, vast re-writes and paying the dues most authors must slog through to find success and his own perfect style. Further, throughout his life at intervals he suffered some severe physical maladies requiring numerous operations and long periods of extreme pain. While this information saddened me, he looked at his life in the long run as one in which he was purely fortunate to have lived in the time periods he did and to have had a career and location of work he loved deeply. He always maintained he was 99% Vet and 1% writer.
There are many laughs abounding as son Jim describes his Father and the immediate family, just as in the famous series of books by his Dad. Overall a most uplifting and gratifying read. Have you not read the books under the pen name of James Herriot, I highly recommend you do post haste, then come back to this "fill in the background" memoir of a truly exceptional man.
Written by Sandra R., Central patron
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