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A Zoo in My Luggage

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,090 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Fans of Gerald Durrell’s timeless classic My Family and Other Animals will love this hilarious tale, which finds him as an adult still charmed by his beloved animals. A Zoo in My Luggage begins with an account of Durrell’s third trip to the British Cameroons in West Africa, during which he and his wife capture animals to start their own zoo. Returning to England with a few ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published 1962)
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A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald DurrellAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienKim by Rudyard KiplingAnne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
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Community Reviews

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Jun 25, 2015 Phrynne rated it really liked it
I'm sure I must have read this years ago along with the rest of his books, but I was quite happy to read it gain. Durrell's books are a bit dated now but they are still warm and funny and full of beautiful descriptions of the countryside and of facts about the many animals he meets along the way. This was a fairly light hearted and entertaining book which could have been designed for reading in a waiting room. This was where I read most of it and it served the purpose perfectly!
A Zoo in my Luggage is Gerald Durrell's account of a six-month trip he and his wife made in 1957, collecting animals in Bafut, a mountain grassland region in Cameroon, West Africa. This was the author's third trip to what was then the "British Cameroons", which resulted in the founding of Jersey Zoo (now the Durrell Wildlife Park). The writing is typical of his lively humorous style. Durrell was a prolific author, publishing 37 books in all, of which this is the seventh. They include a few serio ...more
Jul 10, 2010 Carrie rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals, own, shelf-1-1
I love Durrell's book the Amateur Naturalist, so I was excited to learn more about his life. But I was so disappointed by this book. His descriptions of Africa are beautiful and his animal stories are of course interesting, but I was surprised at just how arrogant an irresponsible he was, and how little his animals meant to him much of the time. He refers to them as "items" or "stuff" and has a very clear preference for the rare and exotic and the bragging rights that come with being the first t ...more
Oct 03, 2014 Biblioworm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teenager
Натолкнулся на аудиокнигу, где были собраны отрывки из различных книг Джеральда Даррела.
Это как раз тот случай, когда не надо делать никакой скидки на воспоминания детства.
Книги великолепны.

Книги Джеральда Даррела относятся к тому уникальному случаю, когда хороший специалист оказывается талантливым литератором.

Чтение таких книг неизбежно приводит к тому, что хочется посвятить свою жизнь описываемой профессии, так увлекательно о ней рассказывается.
Естественно, увлекательна любая профессия, когда
Jamie Collins
Sep 02, 2015 Jamie Collins rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, humor, animals
An entertaining little bit of memoir from Durrell about his trip to Cameroon to collect exotic animals for the zoo he planned to establish back in England. He took the somewhat backwards approach of acquiring the animals first, then looking for a suitable location to exhibit them.

It’s an amusing read, just a series of anecdotes about catching (mostly buying from the locals, actually), housing, feeding, nursing and photographing the animals.

He also writes a good bit about his host in Cameroon, a
Irene Lazlo
Ojalá hubiera hecho caso a mis padres antes y me hubiera animado hace años con Gerald Durrell. Como siempre lo he hecho tarde y mal y he empezado por el primer libro que he pillado y no por los primeros que hablan de su infancia. Aún así lo he disfrutado muchísimo, me ha despertado inquietudes y me ha hecho entender muchas cosas. Está escrito con mucho humor y a la vez mucha sensibilidad. Me da la sensación de que describe las cosas con exactamente las palabras adecuadas y las metáforas perfecta ...more
Jun 13, 2016 Adrienne rated it liked it
This book was much more difficult to read than My Family and Other Animals, and I'll tell you why in a minute. But first, the good stuff: Durrell knows how to set up a yarn, especially a funny one. Even though I was expecting them, there were a few moments when I laughed out loud. Once, I was caught totally off guard by a funny line, and, since I unfortunately had just taken a sip of cider, literally choked and spit it everywhere while laughing. The stories in this book are funny, and the love h ...more
Dec 04, 2015 Joan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a sense of humor
Recommended to Joan by: Aunt Florence
I had mentioned this book to someone on Goodreads so decided to check out the library copy and reread it. It is as wonderful as ever and is one of my favorite by Gerald Durrell. In it he tells about a collecting trip he took to Bafut in Africa and his adventures with animals and people during the six months or so he was there. As the title indicates, these animals formed the core of his zoo when he returned to Britain. Once there, he was dumbfounded at how few places wanted to cooperate and get ...more
Minnie Romanovich
May 29, 2007 Minnie Romanovich rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Enough good things can't be said about Gerald Durrell and his amazing (true) animal stories. Touching, clever, interesting, very witty and thoroughly compelling. I have seven of his books already, and my collection is steadily growing.

Highly recommended.
Deborah Pickstone
Nothing really measures up from GD after The Corfu Trilogy but this is mildly adequate apart from the reproduction of the use of Pidgin English throughout and a very Colonialist flavour to his thinking that I actually found offensive. I can usually allow evidence of the reality of a former time to sit in its place and not bother me but this time it did bother me and I am put off reading any more from this author; I believe his heart was in the right place but I could clearly slap him for some of ...more
Iona  Stewart
Jun 18, 2016 Iona Stewart rated it it was amazing
This is another enjoyable and amusing book by Gerald Durrell, an account of one his animal-collecting expeditions to Bafut in the British Cameroons in West Africa. I didnt know where this was and had to look it up in my atlas; the country must now have changed its name.

Previously, while collecting animals in that country, Durrell had been permitted to stay in the Palace of the Fon of Bafut. I dont know what a Fon is, neither could I find the word in any dictionary, but Durrell states that he was
Dec 12, 2011 Ensiform rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, animals
The true and amusing tale of how Durrell went to the Cameroons to acquire animals for his own zoo, which was then set up on Jersey in the Channel Islands. It’s apparent how much Durrell loves wildlife, or at least collecting it; and he knows how to write with fluidity and humor. I think the story was marred by Durrell’s authorial ego (he criticizes his wife for clucking over and anthropomorphizing the cute animals, but he does it all the time himself; he assumes that collecting animals from thei ...more
Angelica Bentley
Nov 03, 2013 Angelica Bentley rated it really liked it
This is an autobiographical account of how Gerald Durrell (an already much experienced “animal rustler”) assembled his own private collection of exotic animals which, in due course and against considerable odds, became the backbone of his zoo on the island of Jersey (now the Durrell Wildlife Park).

I would not normally want to read about wild animals in a zoo, but this is the story of a passionate animal lover who is committed to doing what it takes to save at least some of the species that manki
Aug 24, 2014 Heather rated it it was ok
I was excited to begin this read of Gerald Durrell, founder of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, an incredible Non-Profit Organization. However, I was pretty shocked at how Durrell's writing, in this particular book, stereotyped the Africans that he encountered (to put it mildly!) Today, conservationists typically don't think it's a great idea to roam the countryside, stealing rare baby animals from their mothers, to put into cages and bring back to the collector's homeland with little id ...more
Jan 26, 2012 Tal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens when the charming, animal-obsessed boy of the classic memoirs My Family and Other Animals and Birds, Beasts and Other Relatives grows up? He founds a zoo, of course. On his third trip to West Africa, he and his wife capture animals for this enterprise. Upon returning to England, however, they have nowhere to put the animals - Cholmondeley the chimpanzee, Bug-eye the bush baby, and others - as managing his menagerie proves to be just as adventurous as capturing the creatures. A Zoo i ...more
Jul 28, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No matter how 'out of date' his books may be now, Gerald Durrell remains an absolute pleasure to read. Not only does he have a wealth of fascinating experience from which to draw, he has an excellent eye for detail. His style is dry, amusing, and full of that oh-so-English litotes which is so rarely seen in newer writing. I often found myself laughing out loud at his delightful way of phrasing things.

I did find the constant use of pigdin grated a little. However, this was mostly because it sound
Sep 03, 2014 William rated it liked it
Entertaining, but very very light in the depth department. Good for real brain candy when you don't want to think even a little.
Jan 13, 2015 Derek rated it liked it
read travelling Indonesia in 1990:
Apr 11, 2014 g-na rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an autobiographical story about a visit Durrell took to British Cameroon (now Republic of Cameroon) to collect animals for a zoo in the U.K. On one hand, it was an interesting slice of a zoologist's life at a particular point in history. On the other, the way his "research" was conducted was completely irresponsible when measured against today's standards, and I found that difficult to read.

Durrell decided he wanted to open a zoo so he first travelled to Africa to capture animals, kept t
May 13, 2008 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! I've read many books by Gerald Durrell, several of which involve his animal-collecting trips all over the world to obtain creatures for his small zoo in the Channel Islands. This book covers a 6-month collecting trip in Cameroon and his tongue-in-cheek descriptions of his adventures and MISadventures with animals is delightful and had me laughing out loud. I had to google several of the animals having never heard of such creatures as water chevrotains and bushbabies.
May 28, 2012 Robin rated it really liked it
British naturalist Gerald Durrell and others travel to Africa on an animal collecting trip in this non-fiction book. He tells some great stories about getting animals and visiting (i.e. drinking) with a local headman. Though he had wanted to use the animals in a zoo in Great Britain, he eventually was able to find property in Jersey -
Jun 19, 2016 Susanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shay Noble
Tiring of collecting animals for others, Durrell and his wife set about collecting for a zoo of their very own. We follow them through their journey of the Cameroon's where they capture as many werid and wonderful beasts and they can carry. After finding all of their animals they return to the UK and begin the task of finding a site to set up their zoo, a task much harder and more frustrating than it sounds.

It took me a long time to get through Durrell's novel as I just couldn't get into it. Whi
Marie Knock
Feb 09, 2013 Marie Knock rated it it was amazing
It takes a few chapters to warm up, but after that it's gripping. I read it all in one afternoon. It's not for those who are used to fiction or controllable life tales, but for anyone who is remotely interested in wildlife and conservation it's a must read.
Aug 27, 2012 Jocelyn rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
Fun to re-read after decades! Not sure what feels more dated - the innocent enjoyment of pidgin English, or the gifts of cigarettes in exchange for favours :-)

Borrowed from Colin
Wendy Waring
Mar 12, 2014 Wendy Waring rated it liked it
Read this while in Cape Town for three months.
Durrell's use of the local creole Camtok and the local Black labour force is unabashedly colonialist, and at times he is condescending and rather heartless as he bullies people into doing whatever it takes to get his animals. (Sure, risk your boat, your livelihood, to get me this animal. I promise I'll buy you another if necessary...) So as a transparent anthropological view to the attitudes of Whites at the time, it was enlightening.
I enjoyed the a
May 24, 2016 Liz rated it it was amazing
Preparatory to starting his own zoo (instead of collecting animals for others), Gerald Durrell and his wife Jacqui traveled to West Africa. There he obtained such animals as:

Georgina, a baboon, who had once been a pet. Because she was so tame, instead of caging her, they allowed her to roam part of the yard from a tether during the day. From here, she could hide just out of sight of visitors entering the compound, jumping out at the last minute. “A dear old lady, weighing some two hundred pounds
Jun 30, 2015 Rosemary rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A Zoo in My Luggage is a book of its time. Published in 1960, this is the true story of one of Gerald Durrell's "animal collecting" trips to the Cameroons (then held as colonies by Britain and France) in the late 1940s. A reviewer of the present day would no doubt remark on the strange pidgin English spoken by the Cameroonians (and Durrell), the stereotyping of Africans, and the methods of animal collecting, or indeed if Durrell should have been doing that at all. Those would be valid points, I ...more
Tejas Janet
Feb 15, 2014 Tejas Janet rated it liked it
Shelves: around-the-world
This is only the second Gerald Durrell book for me, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't find it as purely entertaining as My Family and Other Animals. Durrell means to write with humor and a measure of humility, but unwittingly comes off as patronizing and even arrogant in his approach both to the Cameroons and to the animals he has come to collect. This is most unfortunate because I don't believe this to be an accurate characterization of the man whose lifework led to the founding of the Durrell W ...more
It's been a few years since I read a Durrell book (The Bafut Beagles) and it turns out I seem to be picking up the story where it left off, as this book accounts Durrell's second journey back to Cameroon and the Bafut area - once again on another animal collecting expedition. As with the other book, this can feel a little uncomfortable at times, and you have to remember this was going on in the 1950s - times and attitudes have changed. Here Durrell wants to create his own zoo, having grown tired ...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
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