James Herriot book series review
Book 1, All Creatures Great And Small
Coming to the Yorkshire from veterinary school in Scotland, young James Herriot finds a job as an assistant with the unpredictable and explosive-tempered vet, Siegfried Farnon. In time, he meets Siegfried’s brother, Tristan, and many colorful characters in the Yorkshire countryside while he learns the practical application of all he’s learned.
Book 2, All Things Bright And Beautiful
James Herriot is now a fully certified vet, partner to Siegfried and husband to Helen (a girl he met in the first book). Many more wonderful stories of animals and everyday life in Skeldale house.
Book 3, All Things Wise And Wonderful
James Herriot is drafted into the Royal Air Force and must go through harsh training. Also in this book Helen gives birth to their first son, Jimmy.
About half of this book is flashbacks to other vet stories from before he went into the army. All the stories are new ones, but the switching is a little confusing.
Book 4, The Lord God Made Them All
Back from the RAF, Herriot is adjusting back to normal life as well as getting a new daughter, Rosemary. He is sent on two trips as well. One on a boat carrying sheep going to Russia, and another on a plane with cows going to Turkey.
Book 5, Every Living Thing
Same sort of stories as the first book, minus Tristan, plus Callum (called by the farmers: “the vet wi’ th’ badger”). The Herriot family goes through a few houses trying to find one of their own, and Callum takes on not a few very strange animals, driving Siegfried up the wall.
What I thought:
I’ll say it first off that I highly recommend all of these books. The writing voice is wonderful and easy to read and the stories are hilarious. I really like animal stories, and this is the biggest collection of them I’ve ever read. I loved it!
One thing I had to get used to was all the accents. It’s a bit slow reading them all at first, I kind of had to say them out loud to see what everyone was saying, but it’s easy once you get it all figured out.
There are a few embarrassing stories that I skipped. If drunk humor is funny to you, you won’t want to skip anything, but if not, put your guard up when you hear the name Grangeville Bennet.
My favorite stuff
I really liked the way everything was told. The descriptions of the people Mr. Herriot sees, the situations he’s in and what he’s thinking are just told in a way that’s really funny. James Herriot is a very enjoyable author. J
Also, I must make note of a few other characters.
Though her appearances are few, Mrs. Pumphrey is a hilarious character. She spoils her little Pekinese, Tricki Woo, no end and insists that he talks to her, places bets in horse races and has very strong opinions on politics.
James Herriot is dubbed “Uncle Herriot” and is the only vet out of the three allowed to treat Tricki. “Tricki” then proceeds to send his Uncle Herriot crates of champagne and other delicacies in the mail as gifts. The whole thing is really hilarious to read.
And, last but definitely not least, Siegfried and Tristan.
Siegfried is very forgetful and constantly chides Herriot and Tristan for things that he’s more at fault for than they are. He is constantly trying to catch Tristan doing nothing and has kicked him out of the house multiple times, forgetting about it later in the day.
As for Tristan, I always found all the stories of his exploits and pranks, bookmarked them and read them later with my brother. He is constantly playing pranks on James and Siegfried, is completely unfazed by Siegfried’s explosive temper (which is almost always directed at him) and takes great delight in his cigarettes. Tristan was probably the source of the most laughs for me and the lack of his presence in book 5 was sad.
A very enjoyable series and I recommend it to anyone old enough to read all the words!