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My Family and Other Animals by Gerald…

My Family and Other Animals (1956)

by Gerald Durrell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Corfu Trilogy (Book 1)

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3,312961,643 (4.27)343

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English (86)  Spanish (5)  Catalan (3)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All (96)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
I first read this very funny book when I was in high school and subsequently tracked down and read most of Durrell's other works as well. This volume and the others about Corfu are the memories and emotions of a boy expressed in the sophisticated and poetic vocabulary of an adult. ( )
  ritaer | Mar 8, 2017 |
A very pleasant memoir. Ten-year old Gerry spends a year on Corfu - his family just got tired of gloomy English weather.
The descriptions of the land and seasons are lyrical. You learn a lot about the flora and fauna - Gerry collects the most amazing assortment of birds, reptiles, etc. His family doesn't always approve. But his family is at least as oddball as the pets. The scorpion incident was pretty funny, as long as you weren't actually present for the excitement. Larry catches on fire, but his only damage from it is a hang-over.
Gerry wears out several tutors, each with a unique personality.
Definitely a fun book and a quick read - perfect for bookclub. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
The cover of my Penguin edition calls this a "autobiographical novel" and at the end I was left wondering how much of the book was true and how much of it was fictionalised. I came away from it feeling like it was truth exaggerated for comic effect and after some googling about the author, that seems to be an apt description.

I grew up much like Gerald Durrell, spending all my free time exploring and watching all manner of wildlife. I stopped short of actually making most of them pets (although I raised more than my share of the local frog population) because I was devastated if anything ever happened to the animals. Plus, my very clever mom, coming from an earlier generation that had less angst about lying to their children for the greater good, told me if I touched baby animals their moms would scent me on them and abandon them to die. This applied not only to birds, but to any and all animals save dogs, cats, and hermit crabs. She also told me sea monsters came out at night and ate people. I love my mom. Although I still can't swim in the ocean after dark.

I digress, but I found a lot to like about this book, it was at once familiar, eccentric and hilarious. It's an easy, if long, read that meanders from one anecdote to another with vivid, sometimes flowery descriptions that make me feel if I never actually visit Corfu, I've still seen it through Mr. Durrell's eyes.

It was a perfect read for a dreary couple of days while languishing about with the sniffles. ( )
  murderbydeath | Nov 27, 2016 |
Sweet, funny, beautiful! The BBC adapation with Imelda Stantan is what led me to this book. It's a wonderful, memorable read. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Set in Corfu in 1935, this is a wonderful beach book. ( )
  FoxTribeMama | Oct 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gerald Durrellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barrett, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, which, by often rumination, wraps me in a most humorous sadness."--As You Like It
To My Mother
First words
This is the story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu.
From that moment I guarded the nest jealously. I erected a protecting wall of rocks round it, and as an additional precaution I wrote out a notice in red ink and stuck it on a pole nearby as a warning to the family. The notice read: "BEWAR - EARWIG NEST - QUIAT PLESE." It was only remarkable in that the two correctly spelt words were biological ones.
Gradually the magic of the island settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen. Each day had a tranquility, a timelessness, about it, so that you wished it would never end. But then the dark skin of night would peel off and there would be a fresh day waiting for us, glossy and colorful as a child's transfer and with the same tinge of unreality.
'But how did the scorpions get on the table, dear?’
'That bloody boy. . . . Every matchbox in the house is a deathtrap. . . . '
Mother, looking like a tiny, harassed missionary in an uprising, was dragged unwillingly to the nearest lamp-post by an exuberant Roger, and was forced to stand there, staring into space, while he relieved the pent-up feelings that had accumulated in his kennel.
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My family and other animals is by Gerald (Malcolm) Durrell
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142004413, Paperback)

As a self-described "champion of small uglies," English writer Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) devoted his life to writing and the preservation of wildlife, from the Mauritius pink pigeon to the Rodriques fruit bat. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the Greek island of Corfu, but ended up as a delightful account of his family's experiences that were, according to him, "rather like living in one of the more flamboyant and slapstick comic operas."

As a 10-year-old boy, Gerry left England for Corfu with "all those items that I thought necessary to relieve the tedium of a long journey: four books on natural history, a butterfly net, a dog, and a jam-jar full of caterpillars all in imminent danger of turning into chrysalids." Durrell's descriptions of his family and its many eccentric hangers-on (he stresses that "all the anecdotes about the island and the islanders are absolutely true") are highly entertaining, as is the procession of toads, scorpions, geckos, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, the puppies Widdle and Puke, and the Magenpies. This is a lovely book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:22 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A memoir of an English boy growing up on the Greek island of Corfu recounts the author's humorous adventures as he collects all kinds of animals and insects and brings them back to the house, much to his family's dismay.

» see all 7 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141321873, 0141037474, 0241951461

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