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My Family and Other Animals

(Corfu Trilogy #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  30,012 ratings  ·  2,519 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 January 1st 1956)
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Jamie I'm not sure if you mean The Durrells which is the most recent 'adaptation'. That show is not like the book at all! The book is very funny and…moreI'm not sure if you mean The Durrells which is the most recent 'adaptation'. That show is not like the book at all! The book is very funny and beautifully written, focusing mostly on the wildlife of Corfu and humorous things the family do in reaction to Gerry's pet collection. The T.V. show seems to focus on human love affairs and sex which are curiously absent from the actual source material...stick with the book, it's much better! :)(less)
Inana They CAN be read standalone, but I recommend you read "My family and other animals" first (or buy the 1-volume trilogy). Then you'll be hooked (or…moreThey CAN be read standalone, but I recommend you read "My family and other animals" first (or buy the 1-volume trilogy). Then you'll be hooked (or not) and will want to read the rest - in whatever order you find them. I've re-read most of them over the past ≈30 years, and think the earlier books are the best. Later ones were to fund the zoo that he eventually, wonderfully, DID start on the island of Jersey. (less)

Community Reviews

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4.25  · 
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 ·  30,012 ratings  ·  2,519 reviews


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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.
*ADVANCE WARNING*
Review includes mention of tortoise sex!


It's usually a huge mistake to return to a childhood favourite, hoping 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 its 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 b
...more
dream
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!
Jola
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
...more
Robin
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
...more
Margitte
"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
...more
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
...more
Johanna
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hay tres ingredientes que hacen esta lectura exquisita: naturaleza, sensibilidad y humor. Los animales son personajes principales a los que el narrador les atribuye motivaciones, intenciones y personalidad. Terminas encariñándote con ellos y disfrutando la divertida fabulación que Gerald va mezclando con apuntes científicos y tiernas descripciones. De esa manera, hacen parte del escenario termitas, tortugas, escarabajos, escorpiones, aves, delfines, urracas e innumerables especies que habitan Co ...more
Chrissie
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
Magrat Ajostiernos
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
¡Me ha encantado! Es entrañable, evocador y MUY divertido, hacía tiempo que no me reía a carcajada limpia con un libro pero Durrell lo consigue con una facilidad envidiable.
Esta familia y su peculiar zoo ambulante se ha quedado conmigo, por supusto leeré las secuelas ♥
Το Άσχημο Ρύζι Καρολίνα
Η απογοήτευση όταν αγοράζεις ένα βιβλίο με τη βεβαιότητα πως θα το απολαύσεις αλλά στο τέλος σε αφήνει με ανάμεικτα αισθήματα. Είναι το πρώτο μέρος μιας τριλογίας.
Τα άλλα δύο είναι τα:
Birds, Beasts, and Relatives
The Garden of the Gods.

Αλλά επειδή σαν ιστορία είναι καλογραμμένη και ευχάριστη και έχει μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον ο τρόπος που ο συγγραφέας ζωντανεύει την εποχή (Κέρκυρα 1935) και τους χαρακτήρες του βάζω πέντε. Άλλωστε δεν φταίει ο Ντάρελ που προφανώς το παιδί μέσα μου έχει πεθάνει. Πιστεύ
...more
Melody
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,
...more
Hayes
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.
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
...more
Annelies
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!
Julie
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
...more
Anna [Floanne]
Che libro meraviglioso!!! La mia famiglia e altri animali, primo romanzo della Trilogia di Corfù, che ho intenzione di continuare al più presto, è il racconto spassosissimo dei primi cinque anni di vita del famoso zoologo inglese nell'isola greca, in compagnia della sua bizzarra famiglia. Durrell racconta l'isola e le sue meraviglie naturali, mescolando, alla sua crescente passione per la Natura, aneddoti della propria vita familiare. La madre con la passione per cucina e giardinaggio, una sorel ...more
Pavle
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: džep-toalet-bus
Hoću ja (tvoje detinjstvo, Džeralde Durele)!

To bi bio moj utisak. Pola romana sam proveo u ljubomori, pola u apsolutnom uživanju. Tipično engleski humor, zanimljivi likovi (posebno kada se malo čačne Vikipedija i istorija porodice u pitanju), tek ponekad suviše meandrirajuća narativa. Medjutim, toplina kojom zrači, krajolik kojim odiše – lek za dušu i mozak. Ali postoji i momenat gorčine, jer zaista, zaista nije lako čitati ovako nešto u sred užeglog pazuha od grada Beograda i još užeglijeg ispi
...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
Maria Alvino
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il libro è scorrevole e ben scritto, in molti punti comico, l'unica critica che farei è l'eccessiva descrizione scientifica della fauna, che per un lettore non esperto o appassionato dell'argomento puó risultare pesante. Nel complesso, buon libro, sicuramente vale la pena leggerlo.
Teresa
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-india, 5e
Gerald Durrell, irmão do escritor Lawrence Durrell, escreve um relato - biográfico e muito divertido - sobre os cinco anos que ele e a sua família viveram na Grécia.

As personagens:
A família Durrell;
Alguns habitantes de Corfu;
Amigos de Larry (Lawrence), um grupo de excêntricos (quase tanto como os Durrell), que os visitam na ilha e que protagonizam cenas hilariantes;
Muitos animais; cães, tartarugas, águias, pegas, lagartos, escaravelhos, cobras, e um mundo sem fim de bicharada que foram a paixão
...more
Carmo
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Se não fosse pelos rasgados elogios dos amigos do Goodreads nunca teria dado por esta preciosidade. E o que eu teria perdido...

A Minha Família e Outros Animais foi dos livros mais divertidos que li, que me levou a ataques de riso incontroláveis e a a figurinhas de que é melhor nem falar.
E nem foi preciso o autor puxar muito pela imaginação, só teve que desfolhar as memórias da meninice passada na ilha de Corfu, na Grécia.
Completamente à solta numa ilha cheia de bicharada, o miúdo deu rédeas à su
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Hilarious, vibrant story! It sort of reminded me of two of my favorite authors, Jonathan Dunne and Farley Mowat. The story of a wacky family moving from England to Greece, it's a completely unforgettable memoir with a lot of originality.
Leslie
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
Maria
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.

"Yup."



And it's totally true. Everything is funny about this book… even the acknowledgements!
Bettie☯
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!
Judy
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Carrie
Dec 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Vicky "phenkos"
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars -- rounded down to 3 because Nancy, Lawrence's first wife who lived with the family in Corfu, is written out of the account.

I've been watching the ITV series with enormous interest and delight, captivated by wonderful performances by Keeley Hawes (Louisa Durrell), Josh O'Connor (Lawrence Durrell), Daisy Waterstone (Margo), Callum Woodhouse (Leslie) and Milo Parker (Gerald). The adventures of this resourceful family in 1935 Corfu and the people that move around them (Dr. Stephanides, Sp
...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
I am so glad that I finally read this book who stood neglected on my TBR shelf for too long.
Durell’s remarkable ability of observation enables him to vividly portray on paper the behaviour of the creatures (and the people) around him in their minuscule details. The descriptions of the landscapes of Corfu Island in their changing seasons are equally beautifully poetic and glossy.
Part nature guide and part autobiography, with plenty of humorous anecdotes, this memoir is a pleasure to read.
Shirley Revill
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Really enjoyed reading this book.
Highly recommended.
Thank you to Goodreads for a copy of this wonderful book.
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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

Other books in the series

Corfu Trilogy (3 books)
  • Birds, Beasts and Relatives (Corfu Trilogy #2)
  • The Garden of the Gods (Corfu Trilogy #3)
“I do wish you wouldn't argue with me when I'm knitting.” 100 likes
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