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My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy #1)

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  22,659 Ratings  ·  1,752 Reviews
When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of Durrell's family's experiences, from the many ecce ...more
Paperback, Essential Penguin #2
Published February 25th 1999 by Penguin (first published 1956)
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Sheila I haven't seen the film, but can't imagine describing the book(s) as crude in any sense of the word. A child's-eye view of the natural world and his…moreI haven't seen the film, but can't imagine describing the book(s) as crude in any sense of the word. A child's-eye view of the natural world and his rather peculiar family. Lyrical prose that lulls you with the rhythms of hot summers in another land and another time.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 04, 2008 Aleksandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pure-joy
The first from the trilogy and the first of Durrel's I've ever read. No words can express my love for this author and his immense sense of humor, pure and light, nothing topical or scathing beneath. I remember vividly laughing out loud on the streets and on buses while reading it, so wisely consider your reading spot! Howling with laughter in public places might cause you troubles, but the best part - you won't care a bit and will always consider it worthy!
I went back and decided to write a review on this non-fictional novel/memoir (not all events are fully true I believe) which is considered by some to be a modern classic.

I remember finding a box of Gerald Durrell stories on the shelf as a twelve year old and reading them in luxury. They captivated me as Durrell told the story of his childhood in Corfu hunting animals. Not only was it full of interesting facts about the animals he caught but also about the people in his life. Told with wit, humo
I just finished My Family and Other Animals. It's VERY, very good. It's light, it’s fun and in fact what it teaches about animals, human beings included, is absolutely spot-on! It teaches about animals which a lay person doesn't usually get all that inspired about - snakes and lizards and turtles and bugs. Some special birds too. I was running to Wiki time and time again to see these creatures. One can't help but be drawn in because the stories about the strange bugs and beasts are so bizarre! F ...more
Sep 10, 2007 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
1/2010 Review:
I inhabit this book. I walk through the olive groves and swim in the crystal seas of pre-war Corfu. I think I can never go to Greece because of this book. I would want the taxis to be horse-drawn, and the small boys to be ranging freely about the island.

I love so much about this book it's hard to pick and choose. I love that Gerry was so devoted to animals from the very beginning. I love the self-centered, irascible Larry (who grew into the genius Lawrence Durrell). I love Mother,
It gets better every time I read it. Thank Heavens Durrell didn't get much formal schooling, or they might have educated his writing ability right out of him. The chapter about the moonless midnight swim, with the fire flies flickering, and the porpoises making trails in the phosphorescence, and the millions of stars shining overhead was so incredibly beautiful that it brought real tears to my eyes.
Kevin Ansbro
Oct 02, 2015 Kevin Ansbro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Escapists, nature-lovers, people who find humour in commonplace situations.
A delightful, lyrical and altogether MAGICAL read.
*WARNING* Review includes mention of tortoise sex!

It's usually a huge mistake to return to a childhood favourite, hoping it would be just as good the second time around. So, when I found this book in the attic, with its dog-eared cover held together with Sellotape and its pages jaundiced with age, I had mixed feelings about reading it again.
(A side note to any fellow Brits who once tried to stride majestically in platform shoes: the price on the
Apr 15, 2014 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e5, n-india
Gerald Durrell, irmão do escritor Lawrence Durrell, escreve um relato - biográfico e muito divertido - sobre os cinco anos que ele e a sua família viveram na Grécia.

As personagens:
A família Durrell;
Alguns habitantes de Corfu;
Amigos de Larry (Lawrence), um grupo de excêntricos (quase tanto como os Durrell), que os visitam na ilha e que protagonizam cenas hilariantes;
Muitos animais; cães, tartarugas, águias, pegas, lagartos, escaravelhos, cobras, e um mundo sem fim de bicharada que foram a paixão
Mar 17, 2015 Carmo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Se não fosse pelos rasgados elogios dos amigos do Goodreads nunca teria dado por esta preciosidade. E o que eu teria perdido...

A Minha Família e Outros Animais foi dos livros mais divertidos que li, que me levou a ataques de riso incontroláveis e a a figurinhas de que é melhor nem falar.
E nem foi preciso o autor puxar muito pela imaginação, só teve que desfolhar as memórias da meninice passada na ilha de Corfu, na Grécia.
Completamente à solta numa ilha cheia de bicharada, o miúdo deu rédeas à su
Rebecca McNutt
Hilarious, vibrant story! It sort of reminded me of two of my favorite authors, Jonathan Dunne and Farley Mowat. The story of a wacky family moving from England to Greece, it's a completely unforgettable memoir with a lot of originality.
May 24, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hilarious book. It can be aptly summed up something like this:

In a restaurant, laughing for the past two pages. A woman asks me, "What are you reading?"

"My Family and Other Animals." I said, "They just got attacked by scorpions."

"And you're cracking up about that?" she asks, curiously.


And it's totally true. Everything is funny about this book… even the acknowledgements!
Mar 26, 2013 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Five stars all the way for this one. Yes, it was copyrighted in 1956, but this oldie is a goodie! Its hilarious. It captures the culture of the period on the Greek island of Corfu. It contains animals with unique personalities. Colorful characters abound in the form of the family's driver, Spiro, the tutor, Kralefsky, and numerous friends. This family has to be one of the first dysfunctional families to be chronicled. From the "Yes, dear" Mother to the eldest obnoxious son, Larry, to military Le ...more
Dec 20, 2007 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful account of a 10-year old boy's childhood years on the greek island of Corfu after his family moves there from England in the 1930s. The boy is a rabid naturalist, and is always collecting poisonous, slithering, leggy, and/or hostile creatures home (much to his family's dismay) to study and keep as pets. Parts of the book are laugh-out-loud funny, especially descriptions of the antics of his bizarre family members.
One thing did keep nagging me throughout the book- I kept thin
Re-read via the BBC

Naturalist Gerald Durrell's magical 1930s childhood with his eccentric family on the Greek island of Corfu. Stars Celia Imrie.

1956 - such a good year!
If you need to laugh at something genuinely funny with not an ounce of mean spiritedness in it, or if you need to think of sunshine sparkling on the water (John Denver did that best) or maybe you would feel better to learn of the antics of a couple of naughty puppies named Widdle and Puke,an owl named Ulysses, various pet scorpions and snakes who chill out in the bath, then get yourself a medicinal dose of Gerald Durrell. I think I'll make a new shelf called "Medicinal Literature". I myself beg ...more
Feb 09, 2017 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Τώρα τελευταία προμηθεύτηκα αρκετά αυτοβιογραφικά και ταξιδιωτικά βιβλία συγγραφέων που ταξίδεψαν και έζησαν στην Ελλάδα. Πάτρικ Λι Φέρμορ, Χένρι Μίλερ, Λόρενς και Τζέραλντ Ντάρελ... δεν είναι και λίγοι οι συγγραφείς που απόλαυσαν τις ομορφιές και τις ιδιαιτερότητες της χώρας μας. Έτσι, είπα επιτέλους να διαβάσω και ένα από αυτά τα βιβλία που αγόρασα, και επέλεξα το συγκεκριμένο. Πόσο ωραία πέρασα διαβάζοντάς το...

Λοιπόν, η (κάπως τρελούτσικη) οικογένεια Ντάρελ, μετακομίζει το 1935 από το βροχερ
Maria Carmo
What can I say about this book? It is an exquisite description of adventurous life, as a British family decides to leave for Corfu. Not just any family: a widowed Mother with her three boys and one girl, one dog called Roger and many other smaller "creatures"... Gerry, the youngest, is keenly interested in nature, botanic and zoology and his passion for animals and habitats will turn him, in future, into one major protector of the wild and of nature and its inhabitants... Gerald Durrell, the adu ...more
Dov Zeller
Where do I even begin?

Above all things, what I can say about Durrell is that he is a fantastic observer of animal behavior, and his observations don't stop with the human animal. Durrell, as he looks back on his childhood, gives the impression of being wildly at home in the world and full of awe, reverence, mischief, curiosity. I am reminded of reading "The Wind in the Willows" because I have a similar feeling that I am reading a deeply spiritual text.

Durrell basks in the quirks of his fellow c
Diane S ☔
Sep 09, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful book and what a quirky family. Durrell is a natural born storyteller, he does such a great job with the visuals. I could really experience Corfu through his writing and some of the visulas were darn near hysterical. A turtle for a pet, a turtle who will come when called and loves strawberries. A baby pigeon who they hand feed and who than doesn't learn how to fly but follows them everywhere, running behind them and cooing. A traveler trader who has beetles tied around their wai ...more
I am so glad that I finally read this book who stood neglected on my TBR shelf for too long.
Durell’s remarkable ability of observation enables him to vividly portray on paper the behaviour of the creatures (and the people) around him in their minuscule details. The descriptions of the landscapes of Corfu Island in their changing seasons are equally beautifully poetic and glossy.
Part nature guide and part autobiography, with plenty of humorous anecdotes, this memoir is a pleasure to read.
So very amusing and heartwarming. I wish I'd come across My Family and Other Animals when I was little! I enjoyed Gerald's explorations and fascinating descriptions of nature and its creatures, combined with hilarious family dynamics. The asthmatic guest and his horse-blanket, Margo kissing a pair of mummified feet or the incident with mommy-the-scorpion..
I never particularly cared for Corfu before, but it seems like the most magical place on earth to me now.
Nov 08, 2011 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
I just read this again in October 2012 as it was a selection for our book group. Even the third time around, this book has not lost its charm. Durrell's keen powers of observation extend not only to his beloved natural world but also are trained on the eccentricities of his family, their friends, and the people he encounters on Corfu like Spiro, who takes the family in hand when they first arrive and “Like a great, brown ugly angel he watched over us as tenderly as though we were slightly weak-m ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I wish I had written a review after I finished this, but I didn't. So until the next reading, I'll have to settle for plugging in a couple of quotes in place of a review.

"Why should we have to fawn all over the old hag because she's a relation, when the really sensible thing to do would be to burn her at the stake."

"What a masterly understatement. You are always ready with the apt platitude to sum up a catastrophe. How I envy you your ability to be inarticulate in the face of Fate."
Το Άσχημο
Η απογοήτευση όταν αγοράζεις ένα βιβλίο με τη βεβαιότητα πως θα το απολαύσεις αλλά στο τέλος σε αφήνει με ανάμεικτα αισθήματα. Είναι το πρώτο μέρος μιας τριλογίας.
Τα άλλα δύο είναι τα:
Birds, Beasts, and Relatives
The Garden of the Gods.

Αλλά επειδή σαν ιστορία είναι καλογραμμένη και ευχάριστη και έχει μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον ο τρόπος που ο συγγραφέας ζωντανεύει την εποχή (Κέρκυρα 1935) και τους χαρακτήρες του βάζω πέντε. Άλλωστε δεν φταίει ο Ντάρελ που προφανώς το παιδί μέσα μου έχει πεθάνει. Πιστεύ
Tanja Berg
Rating 4* out of 5. This is a highly amusing autobiographical novel about the young author and his stay on Corfu. Gerry's fascination with animals and attempts at keeping them is heart-warming to the reader and a source of frustration for his family. I can certainly relate to his interest in critters, which far surpassed my own at the same age. Or rather, my interest was as great, I just didn't have his ingenuity. Although there was the dead and forgotten tarantula in my freezer and feeding my m ...more
Sep 01, 2007 Nico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: intelligent, curious children & adults
I read and carried with me everywhere Durrell's "My Family..." as a child. Growing up in Cyprus and Tuscany, I sympathised endlessly with the plights of the family abroad, and crawling through olive groves and overgrown streams, spending the day wandering through valleys forgotten by my family (who were drunk at the picnic table) allowed me to not become Gery Durrell but to become friends with him. Beyond how it related to myself, it is a hilarious and brilliant tale of moving to Corfu between t ...more
Jan 22, 2016 Sonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
بعضی کتاب ها هست که با خواندنش تصاویرصحنه ها و توصیفات جلوی چشممان است . کتابی که نمی توانی جلوی خنده ات را از تصور آن صحنه بگیری. کتابی که دنیای زیبا و بی نظیر کودکی را جلوی چشمانت دوباره زنده می کند.
این کتاب در واقع بر اساس خاطرات "جرالد دارل" که چند سالی از دوران کودکی اش را در جزیره ای یونانی گذرانده سپری کرده نوشته شده است و نویسنده از واقعی بودن بسیاری از خاطرات ذکر شده در داستان خبر می دهد. کسی که از کودکی مجذوب دنیای جانوارن بود و همراه خانواده نسبتا عجیبش خاطرات بسیار جالبی در مدت اقامت
Aug 04, 2013 Malia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a delightful book. I can only recommend it. It's not terribly long, but written in such an elegant but humorous way I cannot believe it took me this long to read it. I'm not a big nature person, and while this book is written by a future zoologist it doesn't seem to matter. The story is much more than a catalog of a boys adventures on Corfu, but rather a story of a very real family. I have been to Corfu and can attest to the fact that it is striking, so reading of this family who f ...more
Paul Secor
Probably worth four stars, but any book that can get me caught up in a battle between a gecko and a mantis deserves five.
Apr 04, 2017 Debbi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely charming! I was transported to an exquisite place in a gentler time...the perfect escape.
Bart Thanhauser
This book is about an upper crust, eccentric British family that one day decides to pick up and move from rainy gloomy England to the small Greek island of Corfu. There’s nothing deep here, but at its best it’s a funny, charming (I grimace to use this word, but so be it) book. Written by the youngest son of the family, each of his family members stands out sharply. Each is defined by their own comical eccentricities(Margo the acne-splotched primadona, Leslie the rotund Teddy-Roosevelt type hunte ...more
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Gerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell was born in India in 1925. His family settled on Corfu when Durrell was a boy and he spent his time studying its wildlife. He relates these experiences in the trilogy beginning with My Family and Other Animals, and continuing with Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods. In his books he writes with wry humour and great perception about both the humans ...more
More about Gerald Durrell...

Other Books in the Series

Corfu Trilogy (3 books)
  • Birds, Beasts and Relatives (Corfu Trilogy #2)
  • The Garden of the Gods (Corfu Trilogy #3)

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“I do wish you wouldn't argue with me when I'm knitting.” 85 likes
“I said I *liked* being half-educated; you were so much more *surprised* at everything when you were ignorant.” 74 likes
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