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By: Sean Peter

The Wish Dogtor

Pages: 252 Ratings: 4.5
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In the first of his books, Sean Peter describes a fictionalised account of his life as a young Irish boy in 1960s’ Swaziland, growing up with the daily exuberance that only the young can find “running wild” in the countryside with friends. Sean suddenly finds his freedom caged, as he is sent to a Draconian boarding school in South Africa, and discovers the dichotomy of apartheid. At a coming of age, Sean’s journey finds him at a forward-thinking, liberal university before being thrown into an ultra-conservative veterinary school to finish the necessary training to help animals. While he is deeply satisfied with his work in the townships and the daily experiences with his patients, he is disturbed by the treatment he sees committed at the hands of government officials. Torn between his dream to help animals and the need to do what’s right, life-changing choices lead to his conviction as an “uninspired” terrorist.This is not an autobiography but rather a fictionalised narrative of someone trying to live a normal life but failing dramatically due to their own poor decisions.

An itinerant used and abused animal practitioner.

A keen sailor and yacht master.

A citizen of the world.


The author grew up in Southern Africa and was educated at South African private school and universities. He has a keen interest in the flora and fauna of the continent and understands the people. He has a deep empathy in respect of their culture. An avid sailor and visitor down the less-trodden paths around the world, he is a risk taker and animal practitioner, having owned and run a number of practices which occasionally incur the ire of the establishment.

Customer Reviews
4.5
4 reviews
4 reviews
  • Sarah Louise Kay

    A poignant, lovely story... couldn't put it down.

  • Karen Harding

    Sean manages to convey a vivid joy in the wildlife of his childhood in Swaziland. He is awkward and self-deprecating in adolescence and relates his story with humour and stoicism. He never loses his love for animals or Africa, even when he gets caught up in events as a young man and lands himself on the wrong side of the authoritarian apartheid regime.

  • The good teacher

    A highly readable and thoroughly enjoyable tale from Sean Peters in this his first novel. Sean describes with affection his free-range, barefoot childhood in Swaziland, his family, his friends and his transformation into nimble ballroom dancer. I was intrigued by this enjoyable book and left wanting to find out what happens next. How will the events he describes in this book affect his life? Are they to have the profound and unrelenting impact that I suspect? Hurry up Sean - I can't wait to read the sequel and discover more twists and turns!

  • This is a really enjoyable book. It's the kind of book that, once you have started on one of the sections, you just have to carry on reading until you find out what happens. The story of the young life spent in Swaziland and the freedom Sean had with his friends is just compelling. It opened a completely new world to me. His school days are also brilliantly covered with some kind and some not so kind teachers. The book finishes with his time at veterinary school and his first posting in Soweto, where he is eventually, unfairly, convicted of terrorism. I gave the book to my husband to read. Normally, it might have taken him a month or two to get through it, reading a few pages each evening. He read this one in a few days! He just couldn't put it down. We both look forward to reading Sean Peter's next book to find out what scrapes he gets up to in the future.

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