A nice read about a young Irish doctor, Barry Laverty, who travels to the small village of Ballybucklebo to apprentice under an old curmudgeon of a doctor, Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly. O’Reilly’s brash manner and unorthodox medical treatments at first unsettle the young doctor, but as he realizes the care and the shrewd understanding that O’Reilly has for the villagers, he begins to see medicine not only as a science to treat the body, but as a philosophy to cure the soul.
While I enjoyed many of the situations in the novel, it didn’t completely enrapture me. The characters were lively and interesting but somehow they never touched my heart. At times, the author appeared to manhandle them in a certain way to enhance a laugh or situation, which took away from their natural development. This book reminded me of the TV series, Doctor Finlay (based on the books by A.J. Cronin) which follows the life and cases of a doctor in post-WWII Scotland, although it lacks some of the warmth of the characters in the show.
All in all, this was a satisfactory light read and it was nice to escape from the city, and into the wild simplicity of Ballybucklebo.