Title: Riding with my Dad Author: Dr. Ninja
What's it about?
Riding with my Dad reads like a memoir of a 12 year old boy as he helps his father out at his dad's veterinary clinic in small town Iowa. Ray loves spending time in the clinic and acting as an assistant of sorts to his father as they treat animals common in their farming community. He stands by his father's side as his father perform C-sections, live births and routine check ups and even a prolapsed uterus.
Favorite Characters: My favorite character was Lonnie, Ray's father. I must admit that he may be my favorite partly to do with my age. However, there was just something about his humor that I loved. It was amusing and, at times, reminded me of my husband or, sometimes, even me and how we interact with our kids. I also really liked how he didn't talk down to Ray, even when it came to the medical stuff, but he still ensured that Ray knew what was needed and I loved Lonnie's way of always teaching in an organic way, talking through and explaining what those around him didn't understand.
Least Favorite Characters: I don't have a least favorite, really. That's not becuase I didn't like the book, but because this book doesn't need a "bad guy". It's more like short stories (one per chapter) then one entire story where each chapter progresses the over arching, larger story.
Favorite Part: My favorite part of the book is probably the one chapter that wasn't about animals, but the part when Lonnie and Ray get their hair cut. It made me laugh out loud fall in love with the town even more.
Least Favorite Part: My least favorite part was towards the end when the students were fixing the kittens. It wasn't a bad or gory part, but I felt like that may be hard form some kids to read, I think it would for my sensitive 11 year old, at least.
Any other Thoughts?
Ok. Confession time. When this book was first recommended to me, I thought that when they said "vet" they meant a veteran from the army or something, so I spent half the book wondering when Ray and Lonnie were going to get in the truck, go on a long ride while Lonnie told Ray about his time in the service. I went back through the convo. (it was done through messaging) and guess what? I have no idea why I thought that the story was about a road trip where the father tells the son about his time in the service. That's not what was said at all! But honestly I'm glad (not that if it had been, it wouldn't have been good. It could have been awesome), but I enjoyed what it was instead.
I liked the small town Iowa scene and while I personally do not live in a small town, a lot of my family has or still does and I could see the scene and events taking place in a small town! Better yet, the town of Clifton, as portrayed in the book, had a Stars Hollow feel to it, which, as a big Gilmore Girls fan, I totally appreciated!
I also really appreciated that the book rides a thin line between talking to people like they are stupid and assuming they know nothing about small town farm life and ensuring that, even if you've never lived on a farm or spent much time on a farm, you can piece together the information you don't have, which I was thankful for! There were a few times when they mentioned equipment or such and I thought I was going to have to look it up but, as I read (in an attempt to get to a good stopping point to look it up) something was explained or said that told me what I needed to know. I didn't have to move out to a farm to find understanding (which is good because, while I appreciate farms and find them fun to visit, I wouldn't consider myself a farm girl.
Of course, the book is not perfect (let's be honest, no book is) with some grammatical mistakes and typos and some times when I felt like there was information that should have been introduced sooner or expanded on. It was also written in a "tell me" first person style and, if you're not a first time reader, you probably know that I greatly prefer the "show me" style. However, I think this is one of those cases that "tell me" works well for the story. It feels more like Ray is sitting down in front of you telling you those stories and it also helps limit the gross factor. Yes, there's some blood and surgery. There's some unpleasantness in some of the medical work, but it's done well. Dr. Ninja was slick and stealthy as he told the story with just enough to get the picture without going so far that it's totally gross and a little too gory for a 12 year old's parents taste and I LOVED it! It left me feeling comfortable with letting my own kids read it if they choose!
I guess the only other "complaint" if that's what you want to call it is that the chapter about the hair cuts was about the only chapter that wasn't about Lonnie and Ray taking care of animals in, what was usually, fun or exciting medical adventures. It almost seems out of place, which I will NOT mention to Dr. Ninja (you don't think an author with his own businesses will take time to read little all me, do you?) because that was my favorite part (only slightly above the escaped bulls fiasco). It was one of the scenes that gave me major Stars Hallow vibes and I don't want him to take it out...ever! Or second guess including it in the book at all!
In the end, it was a good book. I really enjoyed it even if it was written for people a few years younger then me. It's a great "boy" book about animals that girls can also enjoy!
So what's the rating?
I give this book a
10 pigs in a car
But that's just me! What did you think? Let me know your favorite part in the comments.