- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 304 pages
- Dimensions: 104mm x 180mm x 22mm | 181g
- Publication date: 25 February 1999
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0140282599
- ISBN 13: 9780140282597
- Sales rank: 105,696
Soaked in the sunshine of Corfu, where the author lived as a boy, this delightful book tells of Gerald Durrell's early life with his 'family and other animals'. Brought vividly to life are the extraordinary members of the Durrell family and their many eccentric hangers-on, as well as the bizarre menagerie Gerry adopts for closer study. The procession of creatures he brings back to the strawberry-pink, the daffodil-yellow or the snow-white villa includes toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies, scorpions and geckos, ladybirds, glow-worms, octopuses and rose-beetles, Quasimodo the pigeon, the puppies Widdle and Puke and, of course, the Magenpies.
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Gerald Durrell was born in 1925 in India. His family eventually settled on the island of Corfu, where his interest in wildlife, a cause to which he would dedicate his life, first grew. He travelled extensively on zoological expeditions, and made over seventy television programmes on wildlife subjects. In 1982 he was awarded the OBE. Encouraged to write by his brother Lawrence, his first book, The Overloaded Ark (1953) became a bestseller, and he went on to write 36 other titles. He died in 1995.
By Karen 05 Feb 2010
Don't let the fact that this is an autobiography put you off. My Family and Other Animals is not a dry factual account of Gerald Durrell's childhood. The book is a charming and whimsical telling of wondrous adventures and a group of very colourful characters. It is somewhat reminiscent of an Enid Blyton Famous Five adventure.
Young Gerry Durrell finds so much delight in the little things it really is difficult to put this book down. Whether he is discovering tortoises emerging from the depths of hidden caverns after months of hibernation, or causing an uproar at the dinner table after secreting a matchbox containing a family of scorpions into the house.
There were many instances where I found myself laughing out loud. I also, on occasion, found myself holding my breath, reading with one eye closed and yelling at the page, "nooo, what are you doing?"
This book is the very embodiment of the term Ã??Ã??Ã??Ã?Â¢?~classic', and is one that everyone who is young at heart must read.
Durrell's department of natural history has found him a devoted audience which has come to expect his animals to be as entertaining as his humans and here is the ultimate reward. For this is the account of a stay on Corfu, when he was a ten year old, and his Mother, gentle, fluttering and sometimes firm, Larry, literary-minded and a constant critic, Leslie, dedicated to his guns, and Margo, whose romances are things of sharpest emotion, are fixed, if vehement, orbits in his pursuit of everything that walks, flies, crawls, swims. Taken under the wing of Spiro, who had visited America, they settle in the pink villa, move to a yellow one, land in a white one; they have a symptom-dwelling maid; they acquire a variety of friends and guests; they succumb to the insidious magic of an island. Young Gerry must be educated so there is George, who practices local dances and fencing during lessons, which come out on the ?? side; there is Theodore, a scientist and Gerry's source of information; the Belgian consul, who shoots cats, takes over French. Peter comes from Oxford as a tutor and is replaced by Mr. Kralefsky whose mother has talking flowers, and in his non-educative times Gerry is turning their houses into death traps. From one dog there are five, there is an owl, magpies, snakes, tortoise, - and on and on with one, then another creating havoc with Durrell tempers. And, of course, after a heavenly five years, the time comes to return to England. Hilarious family scenes, arguments and incidents, loving, alive nature observations, color and character among the pets, and bright sharp pictures of Corfu and its islanders - this should bring joy to his followers. (Kirkus Reviews)