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The Real James Herriot: A Memoir of My…

The Real James Herriot: A Memoir of My Father

by James Wight

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This biography of Yorkshire veterinarian and author James Herriot (whose real name was Alfred Wight) was written by his son. Obviously the reader has to keep in mind that the author is not objective about his subject. Jim Wight is also no where near the writer that his father was. His writing style is mediocre at best, and the chapters were not as organized as I would have liked them to be, but I got used to Wight’s writing after a few chapters. Even though the biography wasn’t particularly well-written, it was really nice to get to know more about James Herriot after enjoying his books. Wight explains that much of what his father wrote was based on fact, but the times, places, and characters were altered to keep readers from finding out who the real people involved were. I recommend this biography for those who love Herriot’s books. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
So wanted to read this book as I have loved all the books by James Herriot and the television adaptations. Such a wonderful life, full of loveable characters, and here we get the story of the real man from his son. ( )
  Fliss88 | Jan 12, 2014 |
fantastic. ( )
  MerryMeerkat | Sep 26, 2013 |
A touching recollection of his father. ( )
  Chris.Graham | Jul 30, 2013 |
I was initially hesitant to pick up this memoir, because the James Herriot books had been my constant companions as a young girl, and I had grown to love the author that I knew through those pages. I wasn't sure if this book would be some sort of tell-all, expose, that revealed a darker side of the vet I thought I'd come to know and love - if it had been, I'd rather have been left in the dark. But I needn't have worried - the history of Alf Wight, told by his son, is honest and clear, but also full of love, and provides us a man who is close to the one who came through his words.

Jim seemed to have been aware of the concerns - the prologue acknowledges the Herriot legacy, and reassures the reader that no dark surprises are in store. This is true; however, it doesn't mean there are no surprises at all, or that the book isn't worth reading. Anyone who loved the Herriot books and would love to know more of the story behind them should pick this up.

Wight, as he acknowledges fearing in the prologue, is not the writer his father was. The style becomes slightly repetitive - details or phrases appear several times over the course of the memoir when once would do; sometimes, he veers close to being a recitation of the facts. But these faults are easily overlooked by how compelling his subject matter is, and the obvious love with which he addresses it. He uses the occasional story that Herriot readers would be familiar with, but mostly focuses on biography and remembered experience, and brings us something new and lovable. ( )
1 vote freddlerabbit | Jun 28, 2010 |
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to Gill, Rosie and my  mother, who have heard it all before
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Jim Murray, a Scottish cowman working in North Yorkshire, presented a small, wiry bundle of displeasure as he stood, his jaw out like a vice, staring into my face.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345434900, Paperback)

The name Alf Wight may not ring too many bells, but as James Herriot--the author who brought the British countryside into millions of homes--Wight certainly made an impressive mark. He grew up in Glasgow and enjoyed a boisterous childhood before deciding to embark on many years of training at the Glasgow Veterinary College. Wight finally qualified as a vet in 1939 and moved to the Yorkshire town of Thirsk to accept a position as assistant to Dr. Donald Sinclair--the man known to millions of readers as Siegfried Farnan.

The story of the young vet travelling to Thirsk (a.k.a. Darrowby) was immortalized in Herriot's bestselling books. But The Real James Herriot, Jim Wight's affectionate biography of his father, tells the story of the man behind the nom de plume, who worked in the same practice for over 50 years and was relatively untouched and unimpressed by his fame as an author. Wight the younger (who followed in his father's footsteps and later joined the practice in Thirsk), is undoubtedly the best person to reveal the depths of a man whose public persona was as respected and trusted as the real man who tended to animals in and around the small Yorkshire village where he lived until the day he died. Written with a tenderness that does nothing to detract from the honesty of the book, The Real James Herriot is a fitting, poignant, and often gently humorous portrait of a man who brought so much pleasure through his writing while remaining consistently faithful to the profession that was, ultimately, his first and last love. --Susan Harrison, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:33 -0400)

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A portrait of the best-selling author of "All Creatures Great and Small" by his son describes the life and times of the beloved Yorkshire veterinarian, describing his devotion to his family, his work as a rural vet, and his writing

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