Monday, October 3, 2011
A Birthday Salute
A memoir of the inimitable James Herriot published by his son
Today would have been the 95th birthday of Alf Wight.
Qualified as a veterinarian and working in the Yorkshire area, Wight had a very busy practice. He doctored every kind of critter from large farm animals to small house pets. But Wight, better known as James Herriot, will forever be remembered as the man who published several bestselling books containing collections of stories loosely based on actual events of his life as a rural veterinarian in the 1940's through 1960's.
I first read "All Creatures Great and Small" shortly after its publication date in 1972. The stories were sweet and poignant. Some made me smile and some made me cry, but every one of them were memorable and very often inspirational. Herriot's down to earth writing style is as comfortable to read as slipping on an old pair of slippers.
Herriot's subsequent books, "All Things Bright and Beautiful" and "All Things Wise and Wonderful" (among others) continued the saga. As with most popular books, the stories soon made their way into television and movie productions while Herriot continued to publish numerous other short stories and children's books. I eagerly devoured them all.
If you're an animal lover, James Herriot should definitely be on your reading list. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Happy 95th birthday, Alf!