Books · Read in 2021 · Reviews

(audio) Book Thoughts: Listening to the Animals (Noel Fitzpatrick)

Emotional, but inspiring


Title: Listening to the Animals: Becoming The Supervet
Author/narrator: Noel Fitzpatrick
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir / Animals
First published: 2018
Edition: Audio/Hardback, published by Trapeze in 2018

We will travel with him through difficult school years and a very non-traditional career-path from farm animal practice in rural Ireland to the most advanced hospital for regenerative medicine anywhere in the veterinary world. We will hear in his own words the inspiration behind the inventions and techniques he has developed and the incredible lengths he has gone to in order to save the animals on his operating table, and we will begin to understand the emotional roots of his professional impetus. As heart-warming and life-affirming as the TV show with which he made his name, Noel’s memoir is a story of love, hope and compassion, and about rejoicing in the bond between humans and animals that can make us the very best we can be.

This was a book gifted to me and it took me a couple of years to decide to read it. I ended up going with the audio book, narrated by the author. I completely understand why my mother-in-law gave it to me. I love animals. I always have some around me. I wanted to be a vet when I was younger.

Yes, this book is about the journey the author went on from a young boy on a farm to being the ‘Supervet’ and having a state-of-the-art veterinary practice and a TV show, but it is about much more than that. Battling the odds is a major theme throughout the book, whether it is bullying or trying to make progress in medicine and science, making impossible things possible. This is clearly a man who has always worked very hard for what he believed in and his drive has brought him success, but also loss.

The author is clearly a very sensitive, beautiful person and his empathy shone through. However, there are times when I felt the book was a little too personal and emotional and that is unusual since I am a very emotional creature myself. Maybe it is because I am very sensitive myself that I felt uncomfortable at times, maybe it was too close to the bone. Maybe it was his emotional delivery on audio, which felt a little dramatic at times. I am not saying he should have done it differently, just that it did not always work for me.

I expected to love this book more than I did. I definitely thought it was interesting and inspiring, but for some reason I did not end up quite loving it. However, I did like this book and I would recommend it if you are interested in animals and their stories, as well as the life of a vet, or if you need that final push to persevere with something. You could just watch the TV show if you are more interested in the veterinary side rather than his personal story. Some of the animal stories in here were on the TV show.

This is not a book I would have necessarily bought for myself, but I am glad I read it.

5 out of 7 stars

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