These two themes—the ever-evolving state of veterinary medicine and the bond between humans and animals—are explored in a series of chapters, each centering around a single case. The author also weaves in tales of her personal life, such as how adopting a cat gave her a new insight into feline medicine, or the fact that moving in with her boyfriend forced her to balance her constant drive for working with the needs of a new relationship. Fincham-Gray, who also has an MFA in creative writing, has created a wonderfully introspective look at the role of the veterinarian.
As a teenager in England, Fincham-Gray was enchanted by the TV adaptations of James Herriot’s best-selling books, which made a vet’s life seem as easygoing as a country stroll. She’s grown up to write My Patients and Other Animals an engrossing, visceral counterpoint ... My Patients and Other Animals is at its best when the author is at her nerviest, removing the romantic sheen from her profession and replacing it with a more realistic and complicated portrait. If it’s sometimes tragic, it’s also consistently rooted in compassion.
She doesn’t always deliver on the personal introspection she’s reaching for in this memoir, but elements like her short profile of the pancreas, which, in part, describes the organ as 'pale and malevolent, hiding between the smooth, jolly pink intestines and the dense, bloody liver,' are memorably vivid.
Veterinarian Fincham-Gray explores in her candid debut the intricacies of her profession from inside the medical exam room, where she has worked for 26 years, diagnosing some of the most inscrutable animal illnesses ... The medical aspects of the narrative will likely draw future veterinarians to the book, but it’s the tales of Fincham-Gray’s patients that will keep general readers hooked.
In this affably written amalgam of pedagogic and heartwarming material, the author chronicles her early years as a medical professional, particularly the culture shock of learning American vet medicine throughout her internship and the unique animals she encountered along the way ... Fincham-Gray also imparts cautionary information on the medical consequences of obese pets. Pet fanatics and animal lovers in general will savor these bittersweet stories exploring the enduring human-animal bond. A fervent, anecdotal memoir infused with heart, compassion, and a natural love for animals on every page.