And Nothing but the Tooth
Dr. Carroll James
Ridge Publishing (2017)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (1/18)
“And Nothing but the Tooth” by Dr. Carroll James is the third volume in his Tooth is Stranger Than Fiction series. Combination memoir, travel log and humor, the book is an amusing collection of short-stories based on the author’s life as a dentist, his worldly travels and views on life.
As the subtitle “Still More Humorous (and Sometimes Touching) Tales from a Globe-Trotting Dentist’s Storied Life” suggests, the stories Dr. James shares in this book continues to delight his fans with his animated storytelling abilities, unique perspectives, and matter-of-fact styled wit. Digging into a seemingly bottomless treasure chest of stories, the author regales readers with memories from his forty-plus year career as a dentist, marriage, life on a farm, and so much more.
I found the writing to be genuine and personable, the author’s personality transparently reflecting on every page. Several times during the reading I actually laughed out loud. The funniest story, in my opinion, entitled “Runaways,” tells of the author’s first experience with skiing. From page 46:
“After I struggled to bend over and grab them, another kid tossed me two bent-up poles. With both hands occupied by the skis, I didn’t even attempt to catch them. They bounced off my chest and clattered to the concrete floor…”
The picture I immediately conjured up was of a man so encumbered within his bulky wardrobe that he couldn’t move, let alone reach out and grab anything other than what might be specifically necessary for holding him upright. As I pictured the poles “bouncing” off his chest, I absolutely lost it. I read the paragraphs back to my husband and he just smiled politely at me – what does he know about humor?
Not having read the first two volumes, I had some concern about whether or not the stories would be organized chronologically. This was not the case, and other than the author referring to one of his first two volumes here and there, I was easily able to follow the stories without feeling like I was missing relevant pieces of information. That being said, I did find it somewhat hard to get a feel for how the collection was organized, though it had minimal impact on my enjoyment of the individual stories.
Overall I found “And Nothing but the Tooth” by Dr. Carroll James to be an enjoyable romp through the author’s life and recommend it as an uplifting feel-good read.