Goodreads: Every Living Thing
Series: All Creatures Great and Small #5
Age Category: Adult
In the final book in the All Creatures Great and Small series, James Herriot takes readers to the Yorkshire Dales of the 1950s. Familiar characters such as Tricki Woo return, while new favorites such as the eccentric, badger-carrying Calum Buchanan appear. Once again, Herriot delights with his gentle humor and humorous observations of both people and animals.
The final book in James Herriot’s adventures as a vet in the Yorkshire Dales contains all his signature warmth and humor. Presumably knowing that this volume would indeed be the last, Herriot abandons the structure of his previous two volumes and returns to the strengths that made him famous. That is, he stops caring about fitting in parts of his life that are not related to veterinary practice in Darrowby, and instead just focuses on the animals. He even, finally, brings back Tricki Woo. Every Living Thing is a fitting and heartfelt conclusion to the series, though knowing that it is the last volume makes it feel bittersweet.
In a way, book five of the series feels closest to book one, which makes it, for me, one of the strongest in the series. Though Herriot is an established vet now, a partner with Siegfried in the practice, and a married man with two children, he recaptures some of the innocence of his early days by introducing some of the upcoming vets who come to train with him. First there is John Crooks, a more than capable vet who rises to become one of the leading men in the profession. And then there is the unforgettable Calum Buchanan, known for going everywhere–including on farm calls–with his pet badger on one shoulder. The assistants clearly make Herriot feel young again, even as he can bask in the security of his job and his loving family.
Other highlights of the book include the return of Tricki Woo, the reappearance of the eccentric Siegfried and his faulty memory, Herriot and Helen’s attempts to woo a pair of stray cats into their home, and the humorous incident of the “Cisco Kid.” There is a variety of stories here, showcasing Herriot’s keen skills of observation, as well as his ability to move seamless from amusing anecdotes to stories that touch the heart with their pathos. As always, Herriot’s book reminds reader that life is truly a wonderful and a wondrous thing.
All the warmth, humor, and joy are here again as Herriot takes readers on one final journey through time and the Yorkshire countryside he so clearly loves. Like many readers, I wish the journey never had to end. But I am comforted that I can always start again from the beginning.
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3 thoughts on “Every Living Thing by James Herriot”
I’m slowly reading this book in between others. I don’t want to rush it.
This was a wonderful review of “Every Living Thing” and I completely agree with your assessment of it being one of the strongest in the All Creatures Great and Small series. The return of Tricki Woo and the introduction of new characters like Calum Buchanan were delightful. My question is, do you have a personal favorite character or story from the series?
I have to agree. This one definitely goes back to the origins of the first book and shows us why we fall in love with these stories and James Herriot’s way with people and animals.