The second novel in a series that depicts the challenges and triumphs of veterinary school.
Krum’s (An Animal Life: The Beginning, 2014) hilarious sequel plunges readers back into University of Philadelphia School of Veterinary Science with the same cast of characters struggling inside and outside the classroom. This time, readers get a closer look at Mike London, a fourth-year student who has a reputation as both a lady’s man and a superstar vet. Although he’s eager to graduate, his faculty-doctor supervisor, “Special K,” is determined to intimidate him and ruin his chances. Mike’s vast knowledge and natural flair for healing animals begin to falter as Special K mercilessly tests him—and the doctor verbally abuses him each time he fails. Mike’s mistakes take a dire turn when Anna, a former Olympic hopeful who struggles with Lou Gehrig’s disease, discovers that her guide dog, Petunia, has suffered a nearly fatal accident. Mike mishandles the emergency, compromising Petunia’s recovery as well as his hope for a relationship with Anna. As Mike and his fellow veterinary students play out their individual dramas, Krum provides pieces of Mike’s childhood history, showcasing a series of disappointments and abuses at the hands of adults. As this back story unfolds, the author shows how Mike proves to himself and others that Special K’s philosophy—that a chance to cut is also a chance to heal—applies to his own life as well. Krum tells this tale of human and canine struggles with humor and sensitivity, and as a result, it’s both touching and fun. Mike and his friends are well-developed, complex characters whose strengths and weaknesses are clearly displayed throughout the novel. The story is also replete with glossary-defined, insider vet-school references (such as “cone of silence” and “FRoG”) that add texture and verisimilitude, making it an entertaining, substantive read.
A hopeful and remarkably human tale of one man’s achievements despite humble beginnings.