Continuing this year's trend of reading books by vets, I found Marc Abraham's Vet on Call at the library and decided to give it a whirl. Abraham is well known in the UK by people who aren't me due to his regular appearances on the Paul O'Grady show, but this is the story of his first year running an out-of-hours small animal clinic in Brighton, a coastal city well known for its lively party scene.
If you mentally lay James Herriot's output in a chronological line and placed the books I've read along it, Gillian Hicks' début would go at the beginning, her second a little further along, while Anna Birch would nestle happily next to Herriot's rather saccharine Every Living Thing. Vet On Call can go next to The Lord God Made Them All - it's still a good book but the edge is definitely blunter than my taste prefers.
As a small animal practitioner, Abraham establishes a distinct identity from the start. Where Hicks and Birch both had their own take on cases Herriot encountered, Abraham has stories of performing caesarean sections on guinea pigs rather than cows. He is concerned with the difficulties in running an out-of-hours vet service - rather surprisingly the first in Brighton. It was interesting enough and the stories entertaining.
Abraham touches on his own personal life and his own personality with a degree of honesty and self-awareness I find more rarely than I'd like. His focus remains largely on the job and how that affects him, the difficulty of living a nocturnal life for a man in his early 30's who's still keen to get out on the lash with his mates, and he presents himself as the fallible human he is.
As far as this sort of thing goes, this is pretty good. It's amusing, decently written, and I learned something. I'd certainly read other books of Abraham, but for me they'd be from the library rather than the shop.