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Book Review – ‘An Armful of Animals’ by Malcolm D. Welshman ~ @malcolmwelshman

‘An Armful of Animals’ is Malcolm D. Welshman’s memoir.  He self-published it last year and it is available in paperback and as an eBook.  I was sent this book a while ago to review and would like to thank Malcolm for my copy.

I will tell you all in a minute what my thoughts on this book are.  First though, here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

Malcolm D. Welshman has had a lifetime filled with exciting encounters with animals. As a lad in Nigeria, he is attacked by soldier ants and terrified by a snake in his treehouse. His treasured companion, Poucher, an African bush dog, prevents him and his mother from being savaged by baboons.

Once qualified as a vet Malcolm has to attempt life-saving surgery on his beloved parrot. On a road trip across the Sahara, there is a tussle with a lame camel and the operation on an Ostrich gored by an antelope.

Settling back in West Sussex in England, he tackles a cow that’s got stuck in a tree, wily cats and battles with cunning badgers and baby bats.
He shares all these fascinating experiences in this gently humorous memoir that will guarantee to tug at the heart strings while bringing a smile to your face. Anyone who loves animals will be enchanted and enthralled.

‘A witty take on a young vet’s life that pet lovers will find endearing.’ – Bel Mooney, Daily Mail.

‘A joyful read full of animals and fun.’ – Celia Haddon, author and former Daily Telegraph columnist.

‘Bursting with exotic creatures and eccentric characters, this touching memoir makes for a spellbinding read where the author’s love of animals shines through.’ – Jenny Itzcovitz, editor of Sixtyplusurfers.co.uk.

 

My Review

Having previously reviewed one of Malcolm D. Welshman’s books, I was really looking forward to reading ‘An Armful of Animals’. I must admit I don’t usually read memoirs but as this was a book about animals, I thought I would give it a go and I’m so glad I did.

I found ‘An Armful of Animals’ an absolute joy to read. The author has done a wonderful job of putting this book together. There was just so much packed into each chapter. I loved the style of writing and the humour throughout, though there were some sad moments too of course. It felt as if the author was sitting there in front of me telling me about his life.

I got to meet a large variety of birds and animals including a few pets from Malcolm’s childhood which was nice. It was very interesting to learn what made him decide to become a vet.

It’s very hard to pick my favourites out of the chapters as they were all good, so I won’t. One that really amused me though was about the cows and sheep. That made me chuckle a bit. The way the author described the owners was absolutely hilarious. They should have had name tags on! I also loved the chapter about Polly the African Grey Parrot. She sounded like a right little cracker. One thing though, the author can keep the snakes as I wouldn’t want them anywhere near me.

‘An Armful of Animals’ is a treasure chest of tales from Malcolm’s childhood onwards. If you are a pet or animal lover, then I urge you to read this book. You certainly won’t be disappointed.

I hope to read more about this author’s life sometime in the future. I am sure there are many more stories he could tell.

 

About Malcolm D. Welshman

Malcolm Welshman is a retired vet and author. He was the My Weekly vet for 15 years and has written many features for magazines such as She, The Lady, The People’s Friend, Cat World, Yours, and newspapers such as The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail. He is the author of three pet novels, the first of which, Pets in a Pickle, reached number two on Kindle’s bestseller list. His third novel, Pets Aplenty, was a finalist for The People’s Book Prize 2015. His latest book, An Armful of Animals – published September 2018 – is a memoir of encounters with creatures as diverse as a cow stuck in a tree and a red-footed booby. Jim Wight, James Herriot’s son, says of it, ‘A most enjoyable insight into a fascinating life.’ While author and columnist on The Daily Mail, Bel Mooney, states, ‘A witty take on a young vet’s life that pet owners will find endearing.’

A fourth pet novel, Pets are a Pleasure, is due to be published this autumn.

Malcolm is also an international speaker on cruise ships, having completed 47 such engagements over the past eight years. He is a bi-monthly contributor to a local community radio, Keep 106 in Dorset.

 

Links

‘An Armful of Animals’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H1HM7ZB

Amazon US – http://amazon.com/dp/B07H1HM7ZB

 

Website – http://www.malcolmwelshman.co.uk

Twitter – twitter.com/malcolmwelshman

Facebook – Facebook.com/malcolmwelshman.7

 

‘Are We Nearly There Yet?’ by Ben Hatch

I had heard that this book was good and so asked Ben Hatch if I could review it.  He very kindly took my details from me and passed them onto Summersdale Publishers Limited.  ‘Are We Nearly There Yet?’ is available to buy from internet booksellers and all good bookshops.  Alternatively you can buy it direct from Summersdale.

They were bored, broke, burned out and turning 40, so when Ben and his wife saw an advert looking for a husband and wife team with young kids to write a guidebook about family travel around Britain, they jumped at the chance and embarked on a five-month tripI thought this book was well presented.

I liked the ‘Draft Copy for Guidebook’ section at the beginning of most of the paragraphs.  There are lots of interesting little facts about the various places the family visited.  It’s a very useful book to keep, say if you were considering going on a trip and perhaps visiting some of the same attractions.  During the course of their trip, Ben and his family went to many places including zoos and museums.

‘Are We Nearly There Yet?’ has it all.  It’s serious, emotional and funny.  Amongst other things, whilst on their journey Ben has to deal with the fact that his dad (Sir David Hatch) is really ill and is going to die, and it’s obviously a very difficult time for him.  I’m sure if his dad was able to read this book now he would have a big smile on his face.  We also get a very good insight into Ben’s childhood – there were lots of amusing tales.

I really enjoyed reading about the antics the children got up to. Being that I have a toilet sense of humour, Phoebe made me laugh including the time when she told the room service staff ‘My daddy ate some meat that wasn’t cooked properly and did a poo in the grass.’  Another section that I couldn’t help laughing at although it was fairly serious was when Ben stuck a toothbrush up his bum.  Surely that’s something which John Cleese as Basil Fawlty would have done!  I won’t say anything else about this incident as I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t read this book yet.

The paragraph which had puff adders at the location where Ben and his family were staying actually scared me a bit.  I really don’t like snakes and was sitting up in bed quite late a few nights ago reading this particular section, when for a second I thought there was one slithering up onto my bed and actually had to turn and look.  Shows how engrossed I was in the book!

Through good and bad, Ben and his family managed to complete their trip.  Although glad to be home, it must have been really strange for them.  From travelling around and staying in various hotels and apartments to having to get back to normal life must have been a bit of a shock.

I give this book a well-deserved 5 out of 5.

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