Book Review: Tell Me Where It Hurts (Trout)

Tell Me Where it Hurts

Author: Nick Trout, DVM © 2008

Publisher: Broadway Books

Genre: Non-fiction

Subgenre: Doctors & Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Pets & Animal Care – Essays

Reviewer: Sara

Book received by: Purchased at book fair

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A memoir from a practicing animal surgeon in Boston, Tell Me Where It Hurts takes readers behind the scenes and inside the operating room of an animal hospital. Dr. Trout offers a unique perspective on real cases and the daily life of a veterinarian. Through tales of humor and sadness, the book takes readers on “an engrossing journey rich with the comedy and drama, complexities and rewards involved in loving and healing animals.” (1)


Busy moms (and dads), this book is a “must read” for the house with animals of all types and for anyone who feels a call to veterinary medicine. I recommend it both for reading enjoyment and for insight to the life of a veterinarian. Full disclosure: I’m a bleeding-heart for animals (especially those who literally wander into my life) and this book grabbed me right away. This was perhaps in part because I’m an animal lover, but also because Dr. Trout’s writing draws in the reader right away.

The book is laid out as if to have occurred within the span of a day. Not an average day of an average veterinarian, and probably not an average day for an animal surgeon in a large, metropolitan practice either. For the purposes of the book structure, it works. Dr. Trout manages cases, performs surgeries, guides new vets, deals with pet-parents (reasonable and irrational) and above all else, cares for the animals he treats. He does all of this with humor and translates it to the reader in a frank manner that makes him immediately likable both as the story teller and a vet.

The book is made up of dozens of cases, woven together. Some are sad, others make you laugh and still more offer fascinating insight at the progress in veterinary medicine and the vast ocean that is the difference between human and animal medicine. There’s good balance between the humorous and depressing, which can be hard to achieve in a medical memoir. Dr. Trout does this naturally, so much so that I felt I was drawn into the room with him and his patients. The tension is palpable in urgent situations and funny ones make you laugh out loud. I left the book very satisfied and with a deeper appreciation for the woman who is the vet for my furry armada and also my friend.


Have you read Tell Me Where it Hurts? Are you a pet parent, a vet-med student or applicant? How did this book resonate with you?

Is Tell Me Where it Hurts on your “to-read” shelf? Have you read other books by Nick Trout or similar vet medicine memoirs? Please share in the comments, I’m always on the lookout for new books to add to my shelf, and new authors try!

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Featured image: Book cover

  • Cover images (composite): dog –; hand – noa / getty images.
  • Book design: Chris Welch

(1) Quote from the back of book (paperback).


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