To Mr. James Herriot | Teen Ink

To Mr. James Herriot

June 24, 2011
By WolfenWarrior PLATINUM, Some City, Virginia
WolfenWarrior PLATINUM, Some City, Virginia
28 articles 47 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
Do it and don't look back.

Dear Mr. Herriot,

I would just like to say that you are one of my absolute favorite authors. Your style, your honesty, and your life captivate me as I eagerly read each page of you works. I’ve never met you, but I feel like I know you from your amazing books.

You have know idea how much you have influenced my life. My mother instilled in me at an early age a love of your stories, which has only increased as I’ve gotten older. As soon as I got my hands on James Herriot’s Favorite Dog Stories, I knew I had to read all of his books, and I quickly read If Only They Could Talk. I have wanted to be a veterinarian ever since I can remember, though my ambitions have occasionally diverged to other career paths; namely paleontologist, archeologist, veterinary technician, and biologist. I’m sure you can see the pattern there, the one thing that is apparent in all of my choices. I am fascinated by nature, and I love animals, much like you. As far as careers go, even with my ever changing tastes and phases, the one thing I always come back to the ambition of becoming a veterinarian.

I am now in the tenth grade, about two years before high school is over and I really begin to pursue my childhood dream. I am home schooled, but I am not friendless and anti-social as home schoolers are commonly perceived. According to my family, I am working far too hard in school, studying late into the night and, some days, every available minute. I receive high marks, but I always feel as if no matter how much school I do or awards I receive, I will not be good enough to be accepted into vet school.

I am always telling myself I’m not good enough, but my family and friends always convince me I’m wrong, which I know is true. Any time I feel as though I won’t be able to become a veterinarian, I remember that you thought the same thing many times, and my fears are quieted for a while.

As ridiculous as it may seem to you, I have found that we have many things in common, and this gives me an immeasurable amount of hope. When I fail a test or quiz, I remember that you did too; when I become upset about not understanding math, I remember that you didn’t either; when, last year, I got almost every question right on my history SOL, I remembered that you loved history; when one of my pets has a medical problem, I think, “What would Alf do?”; when you died on February 23, 1995, I was born about seven months later, on September 27.

In your books you tell, with little added fiction, your life as a veterinarian. The characters (human and not) are wonderful, their antics hilarious, and their unique personalities are timeless. There is also a lot of objective information that helps the reader understand what is going on as well. The contrasting personalities are fun to read, such as Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, and Madame Pumphrey and Soames. The books also reminded me a bit of my own life. Since I live on a small farm, it seems as though my mom and I are almost veterinarians ourselves sometimes. Also, it seems like whenever things are going great, something just has to go wrong. I love the descriptions in your books as well. As I read I can see the Yorkshire dales appear before my eyes, a cow in labor, or a young vet being vigorously kicked by two cows.

I would just like to say thank you, Mr. Herriot, for all you have done for me.

Mary E.

The author's comments:
I wrote this at the beginning of the school year for a contest thingy

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