Let sleeping vets lie.
It is a kind of an autobiographic. The book contains fragments of James Herriot's life.
The story takes place in and round Darrowby, in Great Britain. The characters are vets, especially for cattle. This is very essential for the story because everything goes about that.
-James Herriot. Veterinary surgeon, not married (yet), he has small hands and is not very tall. He is a friendly man, he is very friendly to his customers.
-Siegfried Farnon. Also a veterinary surgeon. He is the boss of James. Sometimes he is rather rude, but only to James and Tristan. Further is he quite a nice man.
-Tristan Farnon. A final year student as a vet. He is obviously a young man, he still hunts the girls. He helps James a lot (especially with his relationship with Helen). He can be stupid but also nice.
Siegfried is James' boss and Tristan is Siegfried's brother. They are all vets or becoming vets. James Herriot is the author and is in the story as the 'I' figure.
It is based on a spell: Let sleeping dog's lie. It is a wordgame.
Summary: This book doesn't actually have one story. It contains several fragments about different patients he had had in his practice. I have done every patient apart. So here is the summary.
This chapter contains the story about Joe Mulligan and his dog Clancy. Joe Mulligan is a deaf man and he is always late for his appointments. Clancy is a big dog and he is not very nice. The vets are afraid of him. Siegfried wants a thorough check-up, but again Joe is late and they are all out. When they see him again they conclude the dog seems: 'pretty lively'.
Rob Benson owns ewes and in the spring they have to lamb. He has some difficult cases for James: one lamb wanted to get out with his legs back and got stuck with his head, the other one had three lambs inside and they wanted all out in the same time. James had to help them. A few days later, all his ewes seemed dead. But, fortunately, they weren't dead, but they had calcium deficiency. They all got injected and came to life again. His next visit to the Bensons farm he had to deliver two dead lambs. The mother wanted a lamb anyway, and adopted one. Then he had one last visit and the problems on that farm were over.
Mr Pickersgill was a man who thought to know everything. Some of his cows didn't give good milk. This was his own fault because he milked too rough. James found a way to make him stop milking and the milk was good again. Then James was called by Mr Pickersgill, to look at his calf and a few days later to see his pig.
Siegfried Farnon expelled Tristan and James, because they always left their tools on the farms they went to. He said he never did such a thing. That afternoon they went to a case together. Then they found out that Siegfried had left one of his tools at that farm at his last visit. The farmer knows from his neighbours that he always does that. When they got back Siegfried wants to show some tools, but, he had left them on the farm.
He got a call from Helen Alderson, the girl who he was in love with. She invited him to tea at their farm. He could not get along with Helens father very well. Their conversation strucked and then there was a sick cow. Unfortunately he couldn't heal her and she died.
Now James visited Mr Crump. James had to check his horse. He had cured him from a disease and the horse had to have another injection. After that they went to the kitchen and had some drinks. But those drinks became more and more. Then some neighbours came to ask for James to help with a calving. James was drunk now, but he agreed and went to that farm. Those people didn't know him and didn't understand that he was drunk. James could only whisper, but everything went fine.
This chapter was about Mrs Donovan. She was a very curious woman and she was always at events in the city, together with her little dog. One day her dog was run over. She was very sad, but she still was as active as always. After a while a dog was found in a cottage, he was very skinny. With the help of James, Mrs Donovan got the dog and she makes him shine like a healthy dog again.
Now James has to go to a show, a show with little pets and ponies. He had to judge the ponies to their class: If they had the right height. But the ones who hadn't the good size got very mad and yelled at him. James finally got out of that situation.
He had to judge a pet-contest too. There were several different pets and he had to judge them and find a first, second and a third. Unfortunately he made a mistake and made a squire's son the winner. Most people found that unfair.
James had a weird case this time, he had to remove a hairball from the forth stomach of a young bull. The operation was succeeded and the bull got better again. A few years later James had to make a blood sample from him, the bull was caught but he freed himself. Fortunately James was gone quickly enough, otherwise he would have been dead.
Now James got to know Ewan and Ginny Ross. Ewan is also a vet, only in a small village named Scarburn. James had to help him with some testings. He learns a lot from him.
In this chapter Siegfried stopped smoking and Tristan did weird things. Tristan acted like a monkey when it was dark. He put his suit on and walked over the street into the woods when a car came by. The people were thinking he was a ghost.
James just had had a bad day with a lot of work, when he was called in the middle of the night by Ewan Ross, the man he helped with his work. Ewan needed an embryotome to get a dead calf out of a cow. He came and did the job. After that Ewan asked the farmer to make some boiled eggs. And the farmer just did that. James had never seen that before.
James had to speak for a young crowd. He hadn't done that before, so he took Siegfrieds advise and learnt the whole speach by heart. But the crowd, just twelve persons, wasn't interested. So he was glad that he had finished it.
James meets Cliff Tyreman. He is a very good horseman. He helps James to handle a wounded young gelding. A while later the favourite horse of Cliff got tetanus. He had to be shot.
Christmas night James was called by Mr Brown who was very rude to him. After that job he had to go to another urgent job. The people there made him realise what was Christ-mas again.
James went to a job with Ewan Ross. A quack was already busy, but couldn't get it done. Ewan did the job splendid. In fact it was very easy if you knew how to do it.
James enjoys doing the jobs with the cats of Mrs Bond. Most of the cats are kind, but there was one 'bad cat'. His name was Boris. When James had to handle him he had to fight real hard. This chapter was about a couple of visits at Mrs Bond's house.
These chapters were about the guest student Richard Carmody. James didn't like him in the first place, but as long he got to know him he thought he was OK. There were also written a few practice mistakes of Carmody.
Tristan gave a party. Helen Alderson was there too. James and Helen couldn't reach eachother until James was called for a job. He met Helen at the way out and asked her to come with him. She went with him and they kissed eachother all the time on their way to the job. The job was easy and James came after that evening often to Helen.
Frank Metcalfe had built a brand new farm. But almost all of his milking cows aborted their calf and didn't give any milk anymore. So he was ruined. He got back to his old job and James never saw him again.
Now Siegfried had had a big talk with James to ask Helen to marry him. He finely asked her and she said yes.
James had to do a job for Helen's dad, Mr Alders-on. The job went very good and he told Mr Alderson that he would like to marry his daughter. They drank a couple of glasses, but Mr Alderson didn't often drink, so he already was drunk after three glasses. James had to help him upstairs to get into bed. After that the father had agreed too.
Walt Barnett had a job for Siegfried and James together. It was a castration of a horse. James was the anaes-thetist and Siegfried the surgeon. The operation went perfect-ly and they got well-paid.
In this chapter James got married with Helen and they had a nice honeymoon. Even though they had to do some testing. And they lived happily ever after.
This book actually doesn't have a theme. It is more an amusing book. James Herriot tells about his patients in his practice in an ironic way which makes you laugh sometimes. The book is an autobiographic and you could see that as the theme.
The central episode in this book is when Siegfried overrules James to marry Helen and to settle down in the practice. From that moment the things are getting better. Helen accepts his proposal and they get married soon.
This story is told by an I-figure, the author himself. It is an autobiographic of James Herriot. The story is chronologically told. The author does not speak to his readers, except perhaps to explain the relations at the beginning.
- I like the main character, James Herriot. He is very sympathetic to his patients and their owners and also to his friends and boss. I like the way he writes the book.
- My opinion hasn't changed about him.
- There are a few characters who come by in the whole book. Their characters aren't worked out. The book is based on the happenings in and round the practice and the life of James.
-The book made me think about my own life. I want to be a vet too. I like the work as a vet even more than I did before.
- I found the book relaxing. I could read the book easily. There weren't very exiting parts.
- I liked the whole book. It doesn't have bad parts.
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