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Book Review: “An Animal Life: The Beginning”

January 06, 2014 By: Dr. K Category: Opinion

I was contacted a year ago about reading and reviewing a book for a colleague, Howard Krum, and I promised I would follow through. A baby, two career changes, and a move later I have finally completed the book!

Step aside, James Herriot. Gone are the days of romanticized veterinary medicine. An Animal Life: The Beginning chronicles the first semester of veterinary school by following the class of 1992 through Anatomy labs, Wildlife rounds, and cram sessions. Dr. Krum attended veterinary school at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, rendering his accounts of the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and large animal antics hysterically and, oft times, painfully accurate.

Dr. Krum touches on the cruel, competitive, sometimes thankless pursuit of veterinary medicine with humor and wit. He has begun weaving a tale of non-traditional students whose lives are irrevocably intertwined as they toil through their first semester. You will be captivated by Dr. Violet Green, a wildlife vet who does the right thing despite the risks, and Jack Doyle, a former police officer who finds himself in veterinary school.

Dr. Krum provides a good read, though sometimes unbelievable, and entertains as well as educates. If you plan on attending veterinary school, this book is a must read. This novel succinctly describes life at Penn Vet and successfully illustrates just how demanding veterinary school is.

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