Friday, April 1, 2011

Tales from an African Vet by Dr. Roy Aronson

224 pages
Published in October 2010
by Lyons Press
A division of Globe Pequot Press
Guilford, CT

"The longer I live and work as a vet, the more i have come to realize that all creatures have a right to life, and that I should do everything in my power to save them." ~ Dr. Roy Aronson

Tales From An African Vet is a new release (available within the US as of 2011) and the freshman work of Dr. Roy Aronson. In Tales, Dr. Aronson shares from his 25+ years of experience as a veterinarian in both the cities and wild bush of South Africa. From saving a pet monkey, to debunking the myths of rhinoceros horns, to setting up an operating room in the middle of the African bush in order to fix the eyelid of a lioness, these tales are both fascinating, enlightening, and at times even funny.

I must admit, what initially attracted me to Tales was my previous enjoyment of British vet, James Herriot's books (All Creatures Great and Small, etc). When I began reading Tales from an African Vet I half expected Dr. Aronson's writing to be like James Herriot's; complete with the side-splitting humor, but alas Dr. Aronson is no Herriot. Although there are a few humorous moments, Tales reads much more like a journal than it does a story, which makes sense considering Dr. Aronson pulled from 25-years worth of journals to create this book. My only complaint is that I wish he had added more dialogue so that narrative didn't feel so flat. On the other hand, Dr. Aronson's writing is clear and descriptive. Having no background in veterinarian science I could easily become lost in his surgery descriptions, but Dr. Aronson takes care to explain in terms that any laymen can understand, and this I truly appreciated.

Overall I thought Tales from an African Vet was very interesting and definitely a worthwhile read. Through this book I gained a better understanding of the wild life of the African continent and the extreme beauty contained therein. And at 224 pages, Tales was the perfect length for a weekend read. I'm glad I stumbled upon it and I'll be keeping my eyes open for Dr. Aronson's next work, Reflections of an African Vet.

- Recommended 2011 Non-Fiction Reading.

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