I sat in bed last night and finished All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot. Yesterday, you'll recall I talked about how emotionally involved I had become with the characters, and how much the change, James, Tristan and Siegfried's departure for war had affected me. Well what I read last night was absolutely heart-wrenching.
You know how I've mentioned how James uses this convention of tying up both ends of his chapters with a joke of a anecdote etcetera, so that even though it's one chapter in a larger story, it is a satisfying story in itself? Well, I realise what he had been doing all this time. All this time, these little stories, his chapters, were adding up to his final point. He tied the story as a whole up with such a perfectly sorrowful ribbon of words that I was reduced to hysterical sobs for half an hour afterwards. It cannot be explained any better to you, because it took the entire journey of reading it to reap the full blast of the beautifull conclusion.
I think that I can unashamedly proclaim that this is my new favourite book. I have been emotionally involved and sucked into books before - Wuthering Heights made me grit my teeth and growl, The Moonstone made me gasp and shudder, The Lord of the Rings made me cheer and burst out in tears. But never before has a book made me do all the above.
I grit my teeth and growled when James had to deal with exasperatingly rude clients. I gasped when the Peter the yellow budgie died in his hand. I shuddered while he operated on Rock the Irish Setter's leg. I cheered when he triumphed against the odds. I burst into tears when he left for war. And what's more, he made me laugh. Time after time. He had me in stitches. Fittingly enough, for he is my favourite doctor.