Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tell Me Where It Hurts, by Dr. Nick Trout

Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon, by Dr. Nick Trout

As a kid I found James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small on my mother’s bookshelf, and after reading it quickly devoured the rest of the set. When my brother-in-law offered to lend me Tell Me Where It Hurts by a different English vet (albeit one living in Boston), I eagerly accepted. While this more recent book didn’t quite live up to my memory of Herriot’s work, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The writing was extremely witty; Trout’s use of language had me in stitches more than once. For instance, in his early days as a vet he was nervous talking to clients and he “would begin to itch. If you took a binge-drinking frat boy, stripped him naked, and hazed him with a gallon bucket full of ravenous fire ants poured over his entire body including his nether regions, I believe you would have a reasonable approximation of the degree of itchiness that ensued.” Trout also has a knack for anthropomorphizing the animals we meet in his clinic. A wired, nervous dog in the waiting room is described as “scanning the crowd for potential assassins as part of a Secret Service detail.” The book is riddled with funny and effective phrases like these.

The stories Trout tells do a great job of relating what it must be like to be a veterinarian. He captures both the joy of successfully treating a sick animal and the heartache and grief of a passing family pet equally well. I also got a good idea of what this profession means to the author and what being a vet is all about: “striving for a connection and collaboration between two completely different species ... trying to help a frightened, sick animal with their unequivocal acceptance of your intentions ... unlike human medicine, this exchange transpires in respectful silence, in a world of tacit, clueless tolerance.” I took delight in reading this work, and if you have a well-loved pet and spend any time at the local animal clinic, you probably will too.

First Sentence:
This might seem strange, coming from an Englishman, but sometimes emergency surgery in the middle of the night can play out like a synopsis of a perfect season for the Boston Red Sox.

1 comment:

Terrill Richardson said...

And it has a Boston Terrier on the cover!

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