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Menagerie Manor

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  1,057 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Menagerie Manor is sure to delight fans of Durrell's beloved classic My Family and Other Animals and other accounts of his lifelong fascination with members of the animal kingdom. With his unfailing charm, Durrell tells the story of how he finally fulfilled his childhood dream of founding his own private zoo, the Manor of Les Augres, on the English Channel island of Jersey ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published 1967 by Penguin (first published 1964)
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Jul 29, 2014 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants a relaxing bedtime read.
Durrell is a self-deprecating, kindly and often hilarious writer, whose love for animals shines throughout this book. The book is dated though. Would conscientious zoo owners now buy from disreputable animal dealers, or try and raise money on the sort of flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants basis that he did? I also wondered about the size of the cages in his zoo and levels of stimulation provided for the animals. I felt he would have explored these issues were they important to him, but they were ba ...more
I’ve always known about the existence of Gerald Durrell and had the impression that there was much to recommend him, but never got around to reading one of his books. A lifelong animal freak, this book is about the zoo he set up on the grounds of an old manor house (Jersey Zoological Park) in the Channel Islands, with the help of his wife, his mum, his staff and many very tolerant neighbours.

While by no means a work that puts any strain on the old brain cells, the book is nonetheless very enjoya
Like all of Gerald Durrell's books that I have read, this was a fun and fast read. I love reading his stories about his animal experiences. You always learn something new that any animal lover out there, will enjoy learning about.

This book talks about some of the animals that have made some lasting memories for Gerald during the first five years of his zoo, that he opened up on the Island of Jersey. There are some hilarious stories about animals escaping from their cages to some heart warming s
It has been years since I've read anything by Durrell, and this book has brought back the enjoyment I had when I was a teenager and reading such gems as Birds, Beasts, and Relatives - which sadly I have lost from my shelves.

In Menagerie Manor, Durrell recounts the efforts, good times, and bad times, experienced while setting up his Zoo in Jersey. The tale of the escaped tapir amused me considerably - as it is an event that I could picture my family being involved in. The plight of the two baby
Dec 14, 2011 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, animals
More of Durrell’s tales about animals, this time centered around the zoo in Jersey. Acquiring and caring for animals gives more charming, informative and sometimes strikingly funny episodes. Durrell’s prose style is as usual chronologically vague, with little structure --- the book is really just a series of vignettes. Durrell’s fatuous personality comes through again, but not so much, and his trials and errors with the care of animals are understandable, considering his position as a pioneer in ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having grown up on Gerald Durrell's books, it was an absolute delight to re-read Menagerie Manor - I think, for the third or fourth time. A series of often hysterical anecdotes from the first few years in the life of Durrell's Jersey zoo, the pages trip through the fingers, many of them adorned with wonderful drawings. Durrell himself is as fascinating as his stories although, fifty years on, it's inevitable parts have dated. Nevertheless, a joy from start to finish. I'm so pleased Bello books h ...more
Ramona Springer
Jun 24, 2017 Ramona Springer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Durrell has tales to tell about his animals and tells them in a most descriptive way. This is the second of his books which I have read.
Jun 17, 2017 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was very funny and full of lovely animal stories from a very knowledgeable man.
May 29, 2017 Vandana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book. I read My Family and Other Animals in High school and loved it. I think Mr. Durrell could write about absolutely anything and make it interesting and amusing.
Sep 07, 2011 Jyoti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a funny book -- quite a lot like Durrell's My Family and other Animals -- except this one was written when Durrell was married and possibly in his 50s. It provided an account of setting up of the Jersey Zoological Park in the UK and more specifically, how he acquired various animals and got them used to the life in a zoo. Many animals were apes and primates and expressive but many were also reptiles so unsocial. He mentioned that he had a particular liking for snakes and reptiles -- creat ...more
Nov 14, 2011 Ercsi91 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that can't be read in a quite place.
Advice for those who want to read this in the future -don't read it if you're in a library. Don't read it at one a.m when you're supposed to be in bed. Don't read it in the computer lab during class.
Cause if you burst out in laugh blame it on the writer. It happened to me a few times XD
This book tells the story if you have a zoo what are your duties and more important how can u manage to survive being not to became crazy XD Mr. Durr
Nov 18, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. I really did. And I'm sure that the author means well, and I know that it was written a long time ago and that veterinary medicine, conservation, and animal science have progressed significantly since then. And yet....

The author just comes across as a condescending, entitled, thoughtless person. And while he loves the animals, he seems to lack any respect for them, repeatedly referring to them as ugly and stupid, and talking about how, when they're difficult, he wants
Matthew Kingston
Apr 27, 2012 Matthew Kingston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book because my dad had read another book from this series to me when i was young and i really enjoyed it. I have also read others of the series and thought this one would be just as good as the rest. This book covers my autobiography square on my bingo board. We have inherited an incredibly beautiful and complex garden, but the trouble is that we have been appallingly bad gardeners. I was learning the whole way through this book, it is filled with many different animal pe ...more
Deon Stonehouse
This is the 3rd of his books discussed in Travel Essay Book Club. From an early age Durrell was fascinated with nature. He grew up (although it is amazing he survived childhood) to be a leading conservationist and the founder of a zoo on the Isle of Jersey. His love of the animal kingdom caused all kinds of havoc in family life and in his zoo. Durrell is an amazing man; he brought passion and care to saving endangered species and trying to give zoo animals more dignified and enriched lives. He i ...more
Dec 13, 2016 Zuza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Skvělá, vtipná a milá knížka.

Durrella omrzelo chytat a vozit zvířata do zoologických zahrad, proto se rozhodl pořídit si zoo vlastní. Místo aby si ale nejprve pořídil prostory a až pak zvířata, rozhodl se pro opačný postup. Kterak shání a loví zvířata se můžete dočíst v předchozí knize Zoo v kufru (není ale nutné číst to ve správném pořadí). V Zoo na zámku tedy už má zvířata a konečně se mu podaří sehnat i prostory, takže příhody jsou ve většině již z jeho vlastní zoo. Jsou psány mile, vtipně
Tracy Terry
Mar 03, 2015 Tracy Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1964 so a much earlier book than The Aye-Aye And I. Unlike many of his previous books which chronicled his adventures 'collecting' animals Menagerie Manor deals with his Jersey zoo and its occupants.

Overturning the stereotype of a zoo as a place of captivity in which animals are kept in appalling conditions, a zoo ahead of its time. Whilst for me this doesn't begin to compare with his earliest books it is still full of a wit and a wonderful attention to detail, made even bett
Jul 26, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This picks up from where a Zoo in my Luggage left off.

Durrel now has a zoo in his backyard and is desperately finding a place to build a zoo. The book details his anecdotes with animals trying to cope in a domestic situation - again chimps and baby gorillas in a house do make fascinating reading to finally finding a spot on the Jersey islands in order to build his zoo and conservation unit and yet still having to keep a good number of the animals near the Jersey Manor, which causes chaos.

Like al
Aug 20, 2013 Shenek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One day we were in the DC zoo and started talking with a dad at the kids playground. Turns out he and his wife are both veterinarians and his wife works for the zoo. We ended up discussing James Herriot and how much we love his books. Then he suggested books by Gerald Durrell. My husband and I were excited to give him a try. Unfortunately, we were both disappointed. Obviously we were expecting too much. I wanted the heart warming personality and personable anecdotes of Herriot. Durrell provides ...more
James M.
Jun 24, 2013 James M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful account of Durrell's establishment of a zoo, and wildlife preserve on the Isle of Jersey in the British Channel. Durrell weaves a plea for animals on the verge of extinction with tales of the antics of animals at his amazing shelter/home, for the captured, and often unwanted or abused creatures. It is a fun book, told with intimacy and affection for his wards of exotic mammals, birds and reptiles. I have a wide knowledge of wildlife, but still, Gerald introduces me ones unfamiliar, ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Joan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
This is an account of how Gerald opened up what became the Durrell Trust, a leading zoo which focused on endangered animals close to becoming extinct. However, that was not necessarily true with the animals that originated the zoo. Many were not endangered, but all seemed to have had fascinating personalities! As usual, Gerald was unable to write anything but a hilarious book, even if there was a purpose to this book. He needed funds to keep the zoo going and this was the only way he had of rais ...more
Christine Busuttil
An interesting short read from the very witty and entertaining Gerald Durrell
A very different read to the Corfu trilogy which I love
This book is less colourful but very informative as it was written later on in his life about establishing his zoo
I must admit to feeling very sad when he describes having to force feed some poor unhappy creatures
It did make me think about the whole issue of keeping animals in captivity.
Christine Ottaway
Gerald Durrell had a real talent in describing animals and their situations in a colourful and amusing way. The book is very dated now and I am not at all sure what conservationists would think nowadays about feeding apes on chocolate biscuits to get them to behave or greenly habituating animals. All a bit different now. Nevertheless this book makes an entertaining read with a few chuckles and Gerald Durrell has certainly left an impressive legacy.
Jan 21, 2013 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I am always riveted and amused with these animals that Durrell depicts. His zoo is so personal and his love of them and the space they inhabit is evident through his words. His call for conservation and saving animals from extinction is as topical today as it was when he wrote it over 40 years ago.
Ian Smith
Earnest and informative, Gerald Durrell tells of the founding of his Jersey zoo, and some of its remarkable occupants. Delightfully, almost childishly, described, it nevertheless lacks some of the gloriously flamboyant colour and humour of his reminisces of Corfu. Pheasant rather than peacock, but still a great book.
Sep 13, 2015 Raja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is not every day that you hear a lion being affectionately described as a bit of an imbecile. It is this sense of joy mixed with exasperation that makes Gerald Durrell such a good read. Being quite educational doesn't hurt either. Love animals and like to laugh? This account of adventures in running a zoo is perfect for you.
Zoe Jussel
Sep 17, 2015 Zoe Jussel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful read Durrell always offers. To actually start a zoo on the island of Jersey is not everyone's ambition, but Durrell goes about it with vigor, enthusiasm, few funds and love. Great fun to read about the animals and his accumulating them for breeding purposes and keeping them alive and thriving, not always an easy chore.
Minnie Romanovich
May 29, 2007 Minnie Romanovich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 10, 2015 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice little book about Durrell's private zoo--more about animals and less about people, which is OK, except that he's such a fun writer that I wish it were the other way around. Still, you do get a man in his pajamas at 3am chasing a giant porcupine through the countryside with a broom.
Aug 13, 2016 ForeverDay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful read. As always, I loved his anthropomorphising of the animals (as someone who grew up with a lot of different creatures and breeds around they feel v real) and some of the scenes made me laugh aloud (and relate them to those around me).
Mar 11, 2008 Yn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the view of how a zoo is run. Gerald Durrell tells a great story. (It's no wonder his bother is one of my favorite authors.) Mom and Dad both read this book as well. It's in the pile to bring back. I think that you might enjoy it.
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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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“Ask the average person his views on snakes and he will, within the space of ten minutes, talk more nonsense than a brace of politicians.” 5 likes
“The uncivilized behavior of some human beings in a zoo has to be seen to be believed.” 3 likes
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