Reminiscent of James Herriot's wonderful books, Coston's memoir offers zany, sad, and touching stories about a medical practice where the patients cannot speak, yet communicate deeply
Bruce R. Coston's first book is a warm, funny, and amazingly fulfilling celebration of the wonderful world of animals as seen through the eyes of a small-town veterinarian.
The patients are an eclectic and surprising cast of characters who display incredible bravery and nobility at times, and unbelievable goofiness at others. There's Sandy, the dog who resurrected herself from death. There's Daphne, the transvestite cat who taught Bruce to be a cat person. And the owners are no less engaging, ranging from the angelic to the squeamish, teaching Bruce what it really means to be an animal doctor.
Readers will gain insight into the pathos and passion, the mundane and extraordinary, the thigh-slapping humor and the crushing sadness of a vet's life as he seeks to mend and restore people's treasured companions. Written with great warmth, this book imparts a deeper understanding of the pets who daily enrich our lives.
Virginia veterinarian Coston cobbles together a number of his columns from a local newspaper in this moving account of his practice. Heartbreaking vignettes include the pitch-perfect opening depiction of an elderly man's anguish over putting his dog down, Coston's own grief at the death of his beloved cat and a series of linked chapters about a wealthy man's love for his miniature dachshund. Coston leavens the somber stories with lighter moments--his first encounter with a sick chinchilla, for example, and his hilarious failure to convince a concerned caller that she isn't killing a baby chick by boiling an egg for supper. When writing from inside his practice and about his training to become a vet, Coston comes off as competent and compassionate, but too much of the collection draws from the author's mundane home life; more pet and less vet might have made for a Herriot-class book. (Sept.)
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Thomas Dunne Books
August 31, 2009
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