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Friday, June 3, 2016


4 stars out of 5

This highly entertaining book, written by the veterinarian owner of a multi-species practice in tiny Lamesa, Texas, roped me in right from the start. What's not to love about a Papaw who calls his grandson (the author) Turdhead?

The rest of the book, a compilation of the author's experiences at his veterinary practice, never loses that initial entertainment factor. A few stories are poignant, and a few are laugh-out-loud funny. Take, for instance, the unsuspecting Beagle who fell asleep on his back in the yard on a very sunny day and sunburned body parts that normally live in the shadows. I mean, goodness, gracious....

Because this is far from my usual reading genre of mysteries and thrillers, a bit of an explanation is in order. First, I spent all my formative years on a small farm (riding a school bus on dirt roads, 4-H, and all else that goes along with country life). Second, my husband and I often watch the reality TV shows featuring usually quirky veterinarians. 

And last, but hardly least, one of our good friends is a vet in rural Hillsboro, Ohio, and he, too, penned an amusing book about his experiences (No Dogs in Heaven? Scenes from the Life of a Country Veterinarian by Dr. Robert T. Sharp, 2005). So when I was offered the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for a review, saying yes was a no-brainer.

Just for the record, this is not the book's first printing; the first, published in 2014, is said to have ranked as high as No. 5 on the Amazon Best Selling Humor List. Now that I've finished it, that comes as no surprise; if you're an animal lover - or just someone who enjoys "down home" reminiscing about real situations and real people - I'm sure you'll find it well worth reading. I know I did.

I must say, though, that in spots the book leans toward being a little too "folksy." Yes, I get that this is West Texas farm country; my point is that occasional corn-pone words like "fella" just stuck out like a prolapse amid the author's otherwise very articulate descriptions. Then too, like one of those angry bovines, the stories jump all over the pen, so a little more order (chronological, perhaps?) might be, well, in order. But lest there be any misunderstanding, I reiterate my opinion that this is a very enjoyable book. Try it - I think you'll like it too! 

Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere: Tales of Humor and Healing from Rural America by Dr. Bo Brock (Greenleaf Book Group Press 2016); 206 pp.

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