All Creatures Great and Small Character Review: James Herriot

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television show All Creatures Great and Small. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

One of the first great adventures as an adult is our first job. That experience (at least from my perspective) forever stays with us, regardless of how long our resumes become.

In the PBS/Masterpiece television series, All Creatures Great and Small (based on the book series of the same name), James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) is a newly licensed veterinarian who is eager to prove his worth in 1930s England. He arrives at the home and practice of Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West), hoping that Dr. Farnon will hire him.

Dr. Farnon is quite a character and would test the patience of the most understanding of people. He nearly goes home without a job, but the housekeeper, Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley) convinces her boss to give James a chance.

He is also helped by Siegfried’s carefree and sometimes less than practical younger brother Tristan (Callum Woodhouse). He is the yin to James’s yang in terms of temperament, perspective, and professional outlook.

Over the course of his employment, James becomes a respected veterinarian, appreciated by his colleagues and the community. Though he has the option of returning home to Scotland, he stays in Yorkshire. He is also infatuated with Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton). But Helen is spoken for. Hugh Holton (Matthew Lewis) is a local boy who is the son of the landed gentry. Eventually, Helen and Hugh go their separate ways, opening the door for James’s wish to become reality. When we last saw James, he had it all. A solid career, a fiance, and a future.

But World War II is on the horizon. He doesn’t know it yet, but everything that he knows is about to change.

James is an everyman. He doesn’t want much. He wants a career he loves, a family to come home to, and a place in this world to call his own. He has all that and so much more. But before he can get there, he has to go through a few growing pains along the way.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Thoughts and Prayers – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody

Mass shootings have unfortunately become part and parcel of the daily news cycle. There are two responses that we have become accustomed are the following: thoughts and prayers, and demands for gun control.

Randy Rainbow‘s new video addresses this dichotomy as only he can.

Using the song Dance: Ten, Looks: Three from the musical A Chorus Line, he calls out the usual bullshit response from the right when lives are unnecessarily lost to gun violence.

We all know what needs to be done. The question is, are those in power willing to step up, or will they once more bow down to their NRA donors?

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In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer Book Review

Love and hate exist in the same breath. It is merely a matter of which path we choose and the consequences of that decision.

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer, by Irene Gut Opdyke and edited by Jennifer Armstrong, was published in 2016. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Irene Gut, a Polish Catholic teenager, was living an ordinary life. The oldest of five girls, she is studying to become a nurse.

World War II changed everything. Coerced into working in a German officer’s dining hall, she uses the information she learns to save lives. Upon transferring positions and becoming the housekeeper in a Nazi Major’s home, she hides 12 Jews in the basement. To keep them alive, Irene will have to accomplish the impossible. Even if it means crossing a boundary she would have never considered before.

This book is very good. It proves two things. The first is that one person can make a difference. The second is that love can overcome hate. We just need the will and courage to act on that love.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer is available wherever books are sold.

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights Book Review

Abortion in its various forms has existed for thousands of years. It is only in the last century or so that the idea of reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy has been written into law.

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights, by Karen Blumenthal, was published earlier this year. The book traces the history of abortion rights in America from Margaret Sanger and Anthony Comstock all the way to the present day. Written in a down-to-earth and colorful manner, Blumenthal lays out the facts in a way that anyone can understand the history of this topic and why is so important today.

This nonfiction, history book is an absolute must-read. Though the audience is YA, the material can be read by anyone who wants to get a full picture of the subject.

My only complaint is that the narrative lags in the center for a bit. Other than that, it was an excellent read and the perfect explanation of why we need Roe V. Wade codified into federal law.

Womens Rights Women GIF by INTO ACTION - Find & Share on GIPHY

P.S. Did you see the news that by a large majority, Kansas voters voted to keep abortion legal? The message is clear: my body, my choice.

P.P.S Mothers Against Greg Abbott released an ad perfectly explaining why the government has no right to tell a woman what to do with her body.

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