Monday, August 1, 2016

This Generation's James Herriot?

Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country VetNever Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet by Jan Pol
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This ain't no All Creatures Great and Small, but it ain't bad neither!

Jan Pol is a veterinarian practicing in Michigan and the star of a reality show on Nat Geo Wild. In fact, it's the channel's most popular show.

Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow is Pol's cash-in-on-popularity book. I don't blame him! I don't think he even wanted to write it, but when the people want it, you do what you got to do.

It's apparent that writing isn't Pol's number one strength. He's an immigrant from the Netherlands, so English isn't his first language. Plus, he's a doctor, damn it, not an author! There are occasional awkward phrasings and a few repetitions. However, all in all, it's a good effort.

Any time a vet writes a book about his/her adventures in large animal practice, it's going to be compared with James Herriot's beloved work. It just is. Pol is no Herriot. He isn't trying to be. Herriot was a grand storyteller, who added fictional flourishes to his factual narrative. With this book, Pol just dishes out case after case without embellishment or much flair. Certainly he is a character to rival those found in the Herriot books, but he is a 100% real person and that comes through in his writing.

Pol has come under scrutiny since his show began airing. Seems some viewers don't like the way he's handled some of his cases. That gets addressed in the book and it's nice to hear his side of the story.

Warts and all, this is an enjoyable story that I recommend to anyone with an interest in animals.

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