My Family and Other Animals
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My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy #1)

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  14,221 ratings  ·  1,047 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, 301 pages
Published 1962 by Penguin Books Ltd. (first published 1956)
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The first from te trilogy and the first of Durrel I've ever read. No words can match my love for this author and his immense sense of humor, pure and light, nothing topical or burning beneath. I remember vividly laughing out loud on the streets and on buses while reading it, so wisely consider your reading spot! Howling of 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...more
Jan 03, 2011 Melody rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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,...more
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.
Jul 24, 2013 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
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."
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.
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
Sep 01, 2007 Nico rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Amanda Arra
It is sad to me that many of this author's books are out of print. This book is not. Gerald Durrell is dead now, but his influence on wildlife conservation is really beyond measure. He coined the term "extinction is forever", and was the first to champion captive breeding as a way to preserve species so that they can be reintroduced into the wild. He wrote books to support his causes, and travelled the world over to study animals and educate the public about them. This book is about his childhoo...more
The dude is funny, and I learned a TON about bugs and animals.

He started my obsession with National Geographic magazine (because of the articles on bugs and animals), caused me to have a gigantic crush on him (until I found out he was like, 75 when I was 16), and made me desperate to visit the island of Corfu.

The only unfortunate side effect of reading him is that I felt obligated to pick up Lawrence Durrell's books, and boy was that ever a disappointment. Not funny at all.
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!
Jenny (Reading Envy)
When I was shipping myself a box of books to read while at my parent's home, internetless in the woods for three weeks, this one was selected purely based on title. I handed it off to one of my sisters to read after me.

Although Gerald Durrell is the nature-geek little brother of Lawrence Durrell, don't go into this book expecting the beautiful language and intricate storytelling of Gerry's older brother. This is a story about a family's move to Corfu through the eyes of a ten year old. Larry, t...more
The story of how I came to read My Family and Other Animals is a pretty cute one. Last year, I was regularly reviewing South Asian books and, while I enjoyed them immensely, needed a break from the Subcontinent. Desiring to know a different part of the world, I sent a missive out to the great unknown abyss known as Twitter, requesting a good Greek title. Quickly, a person I’d never met and have never heard from since recommended this book. I bought it online on a whim and raced through it over t...more
Feb 03, 2010 Merry rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who needs laughter
Recommended to Merry by: Lee - OLBC Feb book
I am moving to Corfu. It is that simple. The beautiful Greek isle of Corfu is the perfect setting where the Durrell family relocate after coming to the conclusion that the English climate is damp and cold. So the adventure begins with this family and all their friends, human and animal combined. The setting is a wonderful classroom for the youngest member of the Durrell family, and proves to be a classroom for the reader as well, as the book is beautifully written and quite an education on most...more
I tried, desperately to like this book. I got to page 136 and while it was well written in an British Encyclopedia Brittanica sort of way, it was just too wordy for me. I can imagine re-reading this book one day when I am retired and have time to sit on my sun porch drinking iced tea. The lengthy descriptions of insects and reptiles just made it too difficult to plow through, especially while I had a witty, nasty, and sarcastic Augusten Burroughs book beckoning from my nightstand....
This book was treacle sweet, with little but funny stories about people’s eccentricities and hilariously over-stated mishaps with animals. It is a book that is candy-like in its addictiveness and ability to block out reality. It is from another era, but the author’s attitude towards animals is still a shock, as his passion was capturing wild animals and taking them out of the wild to keep as pets. I read this book wedged in between one on re-wilding the world, that explains how natural animal po...more
Although I really enjoyed the descriptions of many of the people and animals Gerry encountered during his time on the island of Corfu, I was not a fan of his eldest brother Larry. In fact, I wish I could go back in time and tell Larry: "Be nicer to your mother. Stop making fun of women. Oh, and P.S., it is your little brother Gerry's books about animals that will be remembered, not your books about sex." And I could be wrong about that-- maybe a lot of people DO know about Lawrence Durrel...? Re...more
Enjoyed this very much. There's a little too much description of scenery for my taste, but it was laugh out loud funny in several places. I recommend it for animal lovers, and for people who like All Creatures Great and Small and Cheaper By the Dozen.

I loved the tutor trying to tailor Gerry's history lessons for his naturalist soul: "When the enemy was sighted, Nelson was on the bridge bird-watching through his telescope... He had already been warned of the Frenchmen's approach by a friendly gul...more
Diane S.
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
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
What a great book -- 5 Stars!

I am not one who would even look at snakes, scorpions, etc. but I after reading this book from Gerald's perspective, I have a new way of looking at his passion. I have to say that the writing was excellent!! I look forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy. I also heard that there is a 2005 DVD on this book.
At times this book's eccentric characters and humorous situations reminded me of "All Creatures Great and Small". Except in a much more magical setting, and with geckos, magpies, and scorpions intead of cows, sheep, and cats.

The author mentioned several times that anything could happen in Corfu. After reading this, I believe it!
Петър Стойков
Цялото ревю:

Джералд Даръл описва детството си на остров Корфу (Гърция), където по цял ден търчи по слънчевите поляни и рекички и всеки ден открива по един нов свят
Gerald Durrell spent five years living with his family on Corfu from 1935 onward. The children had a rootless upbringing, moving from India to England so I assume another move wasn't a big deal. This semi autobiographical account was written in 1955. Five years of life on the island is pushed through a strainer.

"In order to compress five years of incident, observation, and pleasant living into something a little less lengthy than the Encyclopaedia Britannica, I have been forced to telescope, pru...more
Janette Fleming
One of my comfort reads....fell in love with it again when looking for a piece of humourous fiction for a literature event.

"Dodo was a breed known as a Dandy Dinmont. They look like long, fat, hair-covered balloons, with minute bow legs, enormous and protuberant eyes, and long flopping ears. Strangely enough it was due to Mother that this curious misshapen breed of dog made its appearance among us.
A friend of ours had a pair of these beasts which had suddenly (after years of barrenness) produc...more
This is one of my favourite books:D I love it so much! I read it twice, because I visited Corfu wiht my boyfriend this summer and I wanted to remember how Gerald Durrell describes this place. When I read the descriptions of Corfu and the nature I observed how great he can describe the place with an exceptional humour.My favourite quotation from the book is: "Gradually the magic of the island settled over us gently and clingingly as pollen. Each day had a tranguility, a timelessness, about it, so...more
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Gerald 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 and the animals...more
More about Gerald Durrell...
Birds, Beasts, and Relatives (Corfu Trilogy, #2) A Zoo in My Luggage The Corfu Trilogy The Garden of the Gods (Corfu Trilogy, #3) Drunken Forest, the

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