All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shit gets real this time around, all too real.
I was not thrilled with the start of All Things Wise and Wonderful, because from the get-go we learn that James Herriot is going to be writing about his wartime experiences. Frankly, I wanted more of the same - warm and fuzzy stories with a bit of low-tension drama about life as a country vet in the north of England as dished out in the first two books of this series.
Vet/writer Alf Wight, aka James Herriot
However, instead of going fully into war stories, which would've been fine I suppose, what we get are remembrances of past vet calls mixed in with brief and mostly unsatisfactory tales of training for the Royal Air Force. The vet stories are told as flashbacks, which takes some of the steam out of them, while the RAF stories never really get off the ground.
Just the same, if you've read and enjoyed Herriot's work up to this point, don't let my complainy-pants squawking deter you from diving headlong into All Things Wise and Wonderful. You'll find plenty of enjoyment in the tales Herriot doles out for this volume. Warning though, the overall tone is more somber in this book compared with the first two. I guess that can't be helped, what with WWII being a focal point. But I must say I was blindsided by the story that ended (view spoiler)[in suicide (hide spoiler)]. That was a slap in the face after a lovely day out on the Dales!