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My Family and Other Animals

(Corfu Trilogy #1)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  45,938 ratings  ·  3,620 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, 273 pages
Published June 29th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 1956)
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Bill Chaisson Neither the book nor the show are particularly accurate as memoir. Lawrence Durrell did not actually live with the rest of the family and was already …moreNeither the book nor the show are particularly accurate as memoir. Lawrence Durrell did not actually live with the rest of the family and was already married when the family moved to Corfu. Gerald does not appear in Lawrence's own memoir of that time at all.

I'm finding the latest TV series to be delightful escapist stuff. Corfu is gorgeous to look at and the writing is devoid of sentimentality, which is refreshing. There is a greater focus on relationships, including sexual ones, but that is true to the spirit of Lawrence Durrell's writing rather than Gerald's.(less)
mirba I read this book when I was 7 and I loved it so much.

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Kevin Ansbro
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Escapists, nature-lovers, people who find humour in commonplace situations.
A delightful, lyrical and altogether MAGICAL read.
Review includes mention of tortoise sex!

It's usually a huge mistake to return to a childhood favourite, imagining 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 pages jaundiced with age, I had mixed feelings about reading it again.
(A side note to any fellow Brits who once strode majestically in platform shoes: the price on the bo
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian someday. I loved learning about animals. We were never without a cat and a dog. We were the proud owners of some clever parakeets. One of them would perch on the back of the dog and hitch a ride around the living room. Hobie the poodle was less enthused than Cocoa the bird. I loved reading books about four-legged critters. Looking back, none of these things were all too astonishing – didn’t every little kid have pets and a desire to ...more
Kimber Silver
"This is the story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu. It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages. Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters."

I say, Mr. Durrell, introducing your wildly entertaining family was the icing on the
I loved 'My family and Other Animals'(1956) by Gerald Durrell from start to finish, thoroughly and in detail. That's why I will tell you about it from A to Z.

A is for animals
The way Gerald Durrell describes them is unbeatable. He casts a spell on you not only when he portrays quite spectacular species but also quite prosaic ones.

Gerry Durrell.
[Image source]

B is for bathing-costume
The chapter in which mother purchases an extravagant garment, 'covered from top to bottom with hundreds of frills an
Ahmad Sharabiani
My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1), Gerald Durrell

My Family and Other Animals (1956) is an autobiographical work by British naturalist Gerald Durrell.

It tells of the years that he lived as a child with his siblings and widowed mother on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939. It describes the life of the Durrell family in a humorous manner, and explores the fauna of the island.

It is the first and most well-known of Durrell's 'Corfu trilogy,' together with Birds, Beasts, a
4.5 Stars

”I should like to pay a special tribute to my mother, to whom this book is dedicated. Like a gentle, enthusiastic, and understanding Noah, she has steered her vessel full of strange progeny through the stormy seas of life with great skill, always faced with the possibility of mutiny, always surrounded by the dangerous shoals of overdraft and extravagance, never being sure that her navigation would be approved by the crew, but certain that she would be blamed for anything that went wr
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a perfectly charming memoir written by Gerald Durrell, a well known British naturalist and zookeeper. It's charming because it chronicles his experiences with his family on Corfu, as a 10-year-old animal enthusiast. It's charming because it is beautifully written. It's charming because it is humorous. It's charming because his family is so colonial and ooze Englishness but at the same time are quite unconventional.

For all those reasons, I would recommend this book and indeed, I had a fe
Jonathan Terrington
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 would like to make a point of stressing that all the anecdotes about the island and the islanders are absolutely true. Living in Corfu was rather like living in one of the more flamboyant and slapstick comic operas." - thus claims Gerald Durrell in his Speech of Defense - or as other authors would prefer to call it: The Foreword or Introduction.

Gerard Durrell: My grateful thanks then to:
My wife, who pleased me by laughing uproariously when reading the manuscript, only to inform me that it was
Nandakishore Mridula
Gerald Durrell is pure pleasure to read - the ideal medicine if you are stressed out or down in the dumps. Like P. G. Wodehouse, he is guaranteed to lift up your spirits.

This book is slightly different from his usual tales about zoos and animal collecting, though - humans actually take up a large part of it. As Durrell says in the introduction:
This is the story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek Island of Corfu. It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic accou
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
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Never before were animals (and yes, also insects) as funny and interesting as in this book. Insects will never be boring again after reading this book. Nor will birds or frogs or... Durrell handles them all with a lot of humour in the stories in this book. Exhilarating!
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laysee by: Candi
My Family and Other Animals (The Corfu Trilogy Book 1) is a delightful memoir by Gerald Durrell, a British naturalist, conservationist, and author. It documented with hilarity the Durrell family’s five-year sojourn on the Greek island of Corfu, a magical island paradise that I would love to visit one day. I read it rapturously over a few days and learned so much about the flora and fauna while vicariously tromping all over the island with the enthusiastic child botanist the author was at that ti ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Imagine that you receive a phone call that your eccentric uncle has passed away and you, his niece or nephew who barely knew him, have been tasked with the dreaded job of wading through some eighty years of his belongings.

Days later, you find yourself in his dusty home, making piles of old pants for Goodwill, and in doing so, you discover a tall column of meticulously organized journals. What's this?

Next thing you know, you're down on the floor, reading through page after page of fascinating not
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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,
Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Diane S ☔
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 one took me a long time to read, but I'm not sure why. I really enjoyed it for the most part each time I picked it up. This is basically the recollection of Gerald Durrell's early childhood when his family picked up and moved to the island of Corfu. I had never heard of this place before and was super intrigued. There were some parts I found a little boring when it talked about some of the nature parts. I loved hearing about the different animals Gerald came across and learning right along ...more
Otis Chandler
I got hooked on the show which was amazing, and was recommended to read the book, which I'm glad I did because it's equally amazing yet different. The Durrell's story is an escape from ordinary life in a way that I can't articulate but I kind of love. It's also hilarious - what a family! I really feel like I got to know Larry, Leslie, Margo, Mother, Spiro, even Lugaretzia.

One of my favorite quotes:

Gradually the magic of the island settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen. Each day had
Sonia Gomes
Jan 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone, gets your spirits up !
Gerald Durrell just loved animals; any shape any size, big or small. The criterion was ‘just be an animal’.
During the Second World War, the Durrells went to Corfu and Gerald as a ten year old could not have been happier, he would roam the entire island with his collection jars, his butterfly nets and his dissection box.
Of course he had to study; tutors came teaching all sorts of interesting things, skipping the prescribed curriculum altogether letting their imagination roam way beyond any school
Anne (On semi-hiatus)
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Laugh out loud funny and endearing. Gorgeous setting beautifully described. Wish I could take a trip to Corfu now. Can't do that but at least I have the next two books in the trilogy to read. :)). Watched the BBC adaptation first which was wonderful. ...more
Paul Secor
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Probably worth four stars, but any book that can get me caught up in a battle between a gecko and a mantis deserves five.
This is the story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu. It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages. Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters. It was only with the greatest difficulty, and by exercising considerable cunning, that I ...more
Judith E
In search of a reprieve from a cold and foggy England, Gerry Durrell, his 3 siblings, and his mother, plop down on the Greek island of Corfu. It is paradise for Gerry as he finds unique biological species to study everywhere, from the villa's garden walls to the clear and vibrant blue ocean pools. Tortoises, snakes, magpies, dogs, are all brought home to the chagrin of his family. Their reactions and their unsuspecting encounters are hilarious. They befriend the quirky and beloved local Greek re ...more
I wish I was a schoolboy (yeah, I need to be a boy to really enjoy all the adventures from the book) visiting my imaginary grandparents in an imaginary village. They would give me all the tasty food and let me do everything I want - climb the trees, sleep in the backyard or on the roof, have a little puppy from neighboring farm. One day I would find this book under the table leg, where my grandpa put to make it still from bouncing. The book would be covered in cobwebs, which, I would discover la ...more

Oh my, this was a delight! Gerald Durrell's recounting of his family's early years spent on Corfu put a smile on my face and gave me many laugh-out-loud moments. Gerry, as he was known to his family, was a free range child and naturalist from a young age, collecting all kinds of animals, birds and insects and basically driving his family nuts with his menagerie. And what great stories this made for, put down brilliantly by the author for us to enjoy. I imagine my enjoyment was made even bet
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jeannie by: kevin ansbro kimber silver
Shelves: 2019
Such beautiful writing! If you are looking for an escape and a feel good kind of story, this is the book for you!

"Outside, the island was striped and patched in black and silver by moonlight. Far down in the dark cypress trees the owls called to each other comfortingly. The sky looked as black and soft as a mole-skin covered with a delicate dew of stars. The magnolia tree loomed vast over the house, its branches full of white blooms, like a hundred miniature reflections of the moon, and their th
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
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Fictionalized Autobiography 1 10 Jun 29, 2020 11:58AM  
Play Book Tag: [Horizons] My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell 4 stars 3 14 Jul 01, 2019 09:41AM  

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Gerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell was born in India in 1925. His elder siblings are Lawrence Durrell, Leslie Durrell, and Margaret Durrell. 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 ...more

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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