Merrimon Book Reviews

From Merrimon Book Reviews
Ever By My Side:
A Memoir of Family, Fatherhood, and the Pets With Me Through It All
Ever By My Side: A Memoir of Family, Fatherhood, and the Pets With Me Through It All by Nick Trout
by Nick Trout

Refreshing, great gift book

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 than 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.

Publisher: Broadway (February 8, 2011)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Review Courtesy of Amazon Vine
Merrimon Book Reviews

Custom Search
© Merrimon Crawford  2011 All Rights Reserved