From Merrimon Book Reviews
Ever By My Side:
A Memoir of Family, Fatherhood, and the Pets With Me
Through It All
by Nick Trout
great gift book
In EVER BY MY SIDE, veterinarian Nick Trout recounts the
story of his life and his family through the focal point of the pets
with whom he has shared his life. Throughout the first part,
Union Jack, Trout recounts his journey towards the vocation of
veterinary surgeon. From the fears of Marty, his grandmother's
impossible dog, to the dogs of his childhood, Trout views his life and
vocation through the dogs who inhabit his life. In the second
part, Stars and Stripes, Trout focuses on his life as a veterinary
surgeon and his own family, including the story of his daughter through
the cat and dogs who share their life.
EVER BY MY SIDE is a refreshing, humorous and moving memoir.
Trout's memoir is neither sappy nor too sweet. Instead, the
author does not gloss over the difficulties some of these pets
pose. The career of veterinarian does not make him a
paternalistic super-hero with all the answers. He avoids the temptation
to make this memoir too close to James Herriot's tales. In fact,
the Herriot legacy provides many humorous and sometimes difficult
moments that will appeal to ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL fans.
As a Herriot fan myself, I found the Herriot references more refreshing
I would have a memoir too close. Most moving was the portrayal of
the author's growing relationship with his father and daughter, seen
through the changes of pets in their lives.
The stories of the pets were both charming and irritating just like the
dogs themselves who defy easy answers. In some ways, the author's
honesty about the difficulty of obedience is indeed the most refreshing
part of the book, particularly for pet owners who have themselves
experienced the same vexation. On the other hand, as a
veterinarian, the author might have mentioned obedience training or dog
trainers, even in the notes, for those readers/dog owners experiencing
similar difficulties. Perhaps as a reader and owner of a special
needs rescue dog, I am more sensitive to the growing connection between
veterinarians and dog trainers than might be the general reader.
Certainly the omission of such a note does not lessen the enjoyment of
the book. Even those who have worked more extensively in dog
training will appreciate the author's honesty about the wholeness both
good and bad of his pets' personalities.
If you love animals, EVER BY MY SIDE is a very good book to add to your
collection. If you have never read this author before, do not
hesitate to start with this book. It can most definitely be read
as a stand alone. EVER BY MY SIDE would make an excellent gift
for family and friends for all ages. In particular, EVER BY MY
SIDE would make an excellent gift for parents, grandparents or adult
children because of the author's moving account of his relationship
with his father.
(February 8, 2011)
Reviewed by Merrimon,
Merrimon Book Reviews
Review Courtesy of Amazon Vine