Jonathan's Reviews > My Family and Other Animals

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
6313408
's review
Nov 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: personal-favourites, classic-literature, biographical, humorous

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, humour and the pure ability of a natural storyteller this is a sort of autobiography that you can read as a novel full to the brim with short stories.

If there's one thing Durrell does exceptionally well it's write description. And my thought has always been that a gifted writer is a master of description. His descriptive writing almost drips from the page so that you feel every detail in your imagination as a real sense.

However I would recommend this book and his other works because of the memories they'll leave with you after reading. You'll laugh at the outrageous characters he meets, the wacky things his family gets up to and be fascinated by the details of everyday life magnified to an extraordinary degree.
46 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read My Family and Other Animals.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

02/25/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Delacroix I'm currently reading this book and I completely agree, not only about the wacky characters, but especially because of the beautiful descriptions. The way Durrell phrases his words, the imagery he provides, is truly awe-inspiring. I'm really learning to appreciate the finer details of life, like lacewings laying eggs, and spiders changing colors.


Jonathan Daphne wrote: "I'm currently reading this book and I completely agree, not only about the wacky characters, but especially because of the beautiful descriptions. The way Durrell phrases his words, the imagery he ..."

Yes, I picked up The Alexandria Quartet today from my library. I'm interested in reading this because it's Gerald Durrell's brother Lawrence's work. The way Gerald describes his family makes them sound like a fascinating bunch of characters and his descriptions of people are both lush, vibrant and reflective on the ordinariness and extraordinariness of everyday life! Thanks for the comment Daphne, hope you find the entire book really good!


message 3: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Delacroix My interest piqued when I picked this book up, and I wanted to know more about Durrell's siblings, particularly because I'd been told that 'Larry' later became an author. Apparently three of four of the Durrells have written at least one book, excluding Leslie. But though Lawrence is supposed to be the professional writer of the lot, I can't help having the feeling that I'll enjoy Gerald's book more. ;D But that's just me! I've never seen such vivid description , though I have read the work of a wordsmith, and I can't expect to hit the jackpot twice in a row!

Aw, no, reading a review I can relate to always compels me to 'like' it and add my comment.


Jonathan It certainly sounds like a family of literature loving people. I think that Gerald's humour is what will make me love these books more even if Lawrence writes better. The immediate sequel is one of my favourite biographical type novels and also one of my favourite humour novels. I should try and finish All Creatures Great and Small one day which was similar!


message 5: by Daphne (last edited Nov 15, 2012 04:26AM) (new)

Daphne Delacroix Another thing they all have in common besides their...unique ability to cause a scene! Yes of course, I prefer the more British sense of humor known as 'dry wit' which Gerald possesses in such abundance. For that matter, if you like that kind of humorous tone, may I recommend My Man Jeeves (Jeeves, #1) by P.G. Wodehouse? It's a P.G Wodehous novel, and the series is quite famous so you may have read it, but all the same it's a good book. Also, be warned, it's fiction...but I'm sure fiction is all right, no?


Jonathan Thanks for the recommendation! Fiction is perfectly fine with me of course. I read all genres pretty much with a few minor exceptions.


message 7: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Delacroix No prob, I hope you like it =) I'm gonna take a guess and say that one of the genres are romance, another is spirituality/religion, and cookbooks! How accurate was I?


Jonathan Well I have read some cookbooks but I rarely read many. I have read some romances but not really any contemporary ones since they become erotica in the end and I don't read that. And I will read spirituality/religion books from time to time depending on what they discuss.


message 9: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Delacroix So you really are mean all-encompassing reader. Wow, it takes a lot to like so many types of books. But if you'll notice, I've finally added my review of the book under my currently-reading shelf. I'm reading slowly for one of the few times in my life because I really want to savour this book and capture the imagery as best I can.


Jonathan That's a great way to approach this book. I savour a book by enjoying it as I read and then coming back time and time again to read and re-read!


message 11: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Delacroix No, sorry, somehow I'm unable to do that XD I just won't know how to re-read a book when I always have so many luscious new unread books enticingly displayed on my bookshelves! It's impossible!


Jonathan I just read really, really fast :P
As in when I read something I like...


message 13: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Delacroix No, sorry, somehow I'm unable to do that XD I just won't know how to re-read a book when I always have so many luscious new unread books enticingly displayed on my bookshelves! It's impossible!


Marcy Singer Just to clarify, this book is not a novel, but a memoir.
I read Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet when I was in my early twenties, many years before reading My Family and Other Animals. I liked it back then, but when I tried to read Lawrence's Prospero's Island, after having read Gerald's books, I found the older brother's writing pretentious and overworked.
Gerald's descriptions of nature, animals, scenery, people, and conversations never get old for me. His sense of humor and the absurd is wonderful.


Jonathan Oh yes, I rectified my response to try and show what I meant better!


Kevin Ansbro Glad you liked this wonderful book, Jonathan. I agree that the descriptive writing and the outrageous characters make for an enjoyable read. Great review!


back to top