Ever By My Side: A Memoir in Eight [Acts] Pets by Dr. Nick Trout
Published by: Broadway
Published on: February 2011
Page Count: 320
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased using a monthly Audible credit
Audiobook Published by: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Simon Vance
Audiobook Length: 9 hours
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Veterinarians, just like members of any other profession, are made, not born. What led young Nick Trout from his upbringings in England to his passion as a veterinarian surgeon isn’t as simple as being a lifelong lover of animals. It was the culmination of his relationship with his father, his mother and sister, and the pets he’s had or gotten to know along the way. His journey didn’t end upon graduation from University of Cambridge. It continued on through each part of his adult life. He tells his story, which is neither fantastic nor ordinary fluidly and with a humor unanticipated by this first-time Nick Trout reader.
I am not an animal lover by nature. It’s not that I don’t like them. I just have extremely little experience with them. Unlike my daughters, I never enjoyed zoos as a child. There were times that my siblings and I begged our parents for a dog. Knowing how much responsibility came with dogs, my parents never gave in to our pleading – even the time we worked up a pretty complex presentation for them. My husband also grew up largely without pets. Once we were married and moved into our own home, we never pursued pets of our own. You may be surprised that I ever picked up a copy Ever By My Side to listen to at all, even with Simon Vance as narrator. To be honest, you’re not wrong. There are so many things I am interested in that non-fiction about pets is something my eyes barely scan. That changed in this instance after I read a blog post about Ever By My Side on Simon Vance’s website. His heartfelt response to this book put in on my must listen list. I am happy that I did. Dr. Nick Trout’s discussion of his journey to and through his veterinary career was interesting and compelling.
There were many aspects of this memoir that were interesting: his early experiences as a veterinarian, selecting his daughter’s first puppy and joining a household with a resident cat, what stands out to me the most about Ever By My Side was the relationship between Nick Trout, his father and his father’s dogs. The first family dog, who was really his father’s dog, entered the house without the agreement of Mrs. Trout. I thoroughly enjoyed how the household adapted to the new family member. I could see my own dad doing something like that. It was interesting how the vision of veterinary school and Nick Trout’s future career diverged between father and son. There relationship was a thread woven throughout Ever By My Side. Pets aren’t the only creatures who stand by you no matter what you choose to do in life. All who stand ever beside you are your greatest blessings.
I fear I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but this is yet another excellent audiobook narrated by Simon Vance. That he himself is an animal lover added to the performance. That the book prompted him to write that beautiful post about his pets past and present was clear to me as I listened. Nick Trout’s memoir could not have been narrated better by anyone else.
I’m not sure what higher recommendation I can give Ever By My Side than to say that I was invested in Trout’s story from the very beginning. This woman, who was once a girl who easily grew bored at zoos, smiled, laughed, pondered and, in a few places, cried my way through this memoir. This isn’t just a memoir for animal lovers or those who would like to a look at the life of a veterinarian. It’s a memoir for everyone who appreciates how deeply humans can experience relationships with each other and with the animals who capture their hearts.