Excerpt from Ever By My Side by Dr. Nick Trout, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Ever By My Side

A Memoir in Eight Acts Pets

by Dr. Nick Trout

Ever By My Side
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2011, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2012, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


To fully appreciate the bond that formed between me and Cleo, you have to understand our shared interest in swallowing inanimate objects and to help you do so I must mention a chilling yet formative recollection from my childhood.

Late one night, barefoot and immersed in oversized cotton pajamas, this four-year-old boy stood alone in the kitchen having snuck out of bed in search of a snack and a glass of milk. I have always been partial to yogurt, methodically working my way to the bottom of the carton, scraping every last pink glob of strawberry-colored additives off the plastic and onto my spoon. Even now I can recall the feel of that particular spoon, cool and smooth and small, like a silver christening spoon, satisfyingly tinkly on my deciduous teeth and almost weightless in my mouth. With the yogurt gone and my mind in a dull and dreamy state, I began playing with the spoon in the back of my mouth, appreciating the metallic sensation way back on my tongue and how it was possible to push it a little farther and induce gagging, a sharp and forceful contraction deep in my belly - until somewhere just beyond this point, the reflex of actual swallowing took over, involuntary and, to my horror, completely irreversible. I felt the tiny handle leaving my fingertips and slipping from my grasp, and suddenly, like the yogurt, the spoon was gone, disappearing deep inside my body.

When I felt it go there was no pain or discomfort, only the rush of fear that I had done something very wrong and, perhaps more important, impossible to justify. I mean you don't just swallow a spoon by accident. What was I going to tell my mum and dad? I fell on a spoon while my mouth was open! I was so hungry I ate my yogurt, spoon and all!

I waited for a few minutes and nothing happened. I had a drink of milk and nothing happened. I didn't feel any different. If I jumped up and down nothing rattled inside my body, nothing tickled or poked through my skin. In the end, instead of confessing my sin to my parents, I decided to wait and see what, if anything, happened and besides, I was tired, so I went back to bed.

At this early stage of my life, I'm not entirely sure I could make any connection between what went into my mouth and what came out the other end. All I knew was that by the next morning I still felt fine. No one seemed to have noticed there was anything missing from the cutlery drawer and so I decided to keep my acquisition of a foreign body a secret, comfortable with the notion that the little spoon was lost inside me, hidden somewhere dark and warm and safe, not causing me any harm, inert and happy to simply hang out. It was not until I was thirteen years old, and clearly not much wiser, that I feared my secret would be revealed.
In trying to define my early teenage stature, some might use the word lean out of kindness. Truth be told, I was a scrawny whippet of a boy. I was, however, blessed with a semblance of speed, a characteristic that did not go unnoticed by our school sports teacher, Mr. French.
"All you have to do is catch the ball and run for the line."

Sounded simple enough, but his synopsis of what would be required of me as a winger on our school rugby team failed to do justice to the rough and tumble of what the game meant to boys with far more muscle, spite, and testosterone.
I like to remember the critical moment in terms of the dying seconds of a crucial game, perhaps a grudge match against local rivals or a match to claim a league championship title, with time running out and one more try needed to win - me making an impossible catch, a shimmy left, a fake right, defenders falling at my feet as I charged for the line, rugby ball tucked tight and safe in my chest as I leapt over giants and landed for my winning points just as the final whistle blew. What actually transpired was that I caught a ball in the middle of the field and hesitated, and in a moment of panic half a dozen boys jumped on top of me, frozen mud on the right side of my body, hundreds of pounds of grunting, writhing, sweaty bodies on my left. Something had to give as a result of this mayhem and unfortunately that something happened to be my breastbone.

Excerpted from Ever By My Side by Dr. Nick Trout. Copyright © 2011 by Dr. Nick Trout. Excerpted by permission of Broadway Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Dr. Nick Trout

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.