Chrissie's Reviews > My Family and Other Animals

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
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's review
Jun 05, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fauna, greece, immigrants, bio, great-britain, sample-g, humor, deals, audible-uk, islands, series, 2016-read
Read from August 15 to 17, 2016

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! Fun stories based on the author’s own diaries, begun when he was ten, visiting Corfu with his family for the first time. Stories both about his strange pets and the bedlam that repeatedly arises in this very special family. The eruptions of total bedlam will surely have you reminiscing about your own familial calamities.

OK, so have your read books by Gerald’s brother, Lawrence Durrell? These two brothers don’t write the same at all! I was curious to see the two authors side by side. Larry/Lawrence is drawn by Gerald as a younger brother might. Lawrence is thirteen years Gerald’s senior and not the naturalist or conservationist his brother came to be! The tone never gets nasty; the ensuing events are simply related as they happened. The whole family, quirks and all, is viewed through the author’s observant ten-year-old eyes. Lawrence was highbrow even back then, always giving advice, inviting friends over, eating and drinking and telling others what they should do. I think I see the Lawrence Gerald draws in Lawrence’s own books; I think he has drawn him to a tee. I read the first two books of Lawrence’s well-known The Alexandria Quartet and decided I had had enough. Too highbrow for me.

I think this, the first of the author’s Corfu Trilogy is better than the second, Birds, Beasts and Relatives. In the near future I will be picking up the third, The Garden of the Gods. I simply have to check it out. What if it is as good as the first?! Don't get me wrong, the second is good too, but just not as good as this.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Nigel Davenport. It is easy to follow and very well done.

This is really a very good light read. Everyone needs books like these on and off. Lots to laugh about - concerning both humans and animals. Don’t disregard the interesting details on flora and fauna. Look at the title. It’s a perfect fit for the book. Some of the writing is simply gorgeous. You will want to visit Corfu.
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Reading Progress

02/24/2014 marked as: to-read
08/11/2016 marked as: own-unlistened
08/15/2016 marked as: currently-reading
08/17/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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Lisa Vegan I loved this so much when I read it as a kid. I have reread it once as an adult and still really liked it. I'm not sure why I didn't go on and read the 2 further books. At first, I'm sure I didn't know that they existed. I'll be curious if you like the third book, and where it falls with the first and second. Great review, Chrissie. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.

Chrissie thank you, Lisa for appreciating my review. I am really curious to know how I will react to the third book, when I get to it. It is an added plus to see the family when you have read books by both of the brothers.

Lisa Vegan I haven't read Lawrence. I probably should. But I love Gerald.

Chrissie They are as different as night and day.

Lisa Vegan Chrissie wrote: "They are as different as night and day."

I've heard the same from others.

PattyMacDotComma This sounds good - I haven't tried an audio book, but this one, with Nigel Davenport - ahhhh!

message 7: by Chrissie (last edited Aug 18, 2016 03:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Patty, so I guess you are a fan of Nigel Davenport? I don't know much about him, I am ashamed to say.

It was definitely VERY good. Nice you appreciated my review. Thank you.

message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul My wife met him when he presented her with a prize of a trip to Nepal.

Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* I remember devouring Durrell's books as a teenager. Wonderful review. They are something I obviously need to revisit.

Chrissie Paul wrote: "My wife met him when he presented her with a prize of a trip to Nepal."

Wow,and please tell me how your wife won a trip to Nepal?! did you go with her? Tell me more.

message 11: by Paul (new)

Paul It was a competition that she won in association with the Zoo, she was only 15 at the time but still went by herself

message 12: by Chrissie (last edited Aug 19, 2016 01:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Paul, what was the competition at the zoo? what a great experience, something one would never forget. Nepal, what a win.

message 13: by Chrissie (last edited Aug 19, 2016 01:30AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Sandy I didn't see your comment until now. Do try the books again, and if you haven't read the first read that b/c I think it is better than the second. I found the fauna more interestingly, compassionately described in the first rather than in the second book. Everybody needs humorous, enjoyable books to lighten one's mood off and on.

message 14: by Jean (new)

Jean I'm reading all his books in order Chrissie :) They are great fun but also so informative!

message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Chrissie wrote: "Paul, what was the competition at the zoo? what a great experience, something one would never forget. Nepal, what a win."

It was to write an essay from what I gather; she had an amazing trip. Durrell, as it is now called, is well worth a trip if you go to Jersey. We have just been and had a lovely walk around again.

Chrissie Jean, I do think the first is better than the second, but I will be trying out the third too.

I am adding books too fast. i cannot keep up with all of them. I thought I would mention this - Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. Currently I am reading a book about Istanbul and an elephant plays a prime role. I cannot keep up with all the books I want to read.

Chrissie Paul, I have never been to the place. Thanks for telling me it is worth a visit. Someday maybe, but we don't travel much any more. Going to England with a dog is such a problem.

Kevin Ansbro Wonderful review of a magical book, Chrissie.
I first read this at the age of eleven (and thereafter the other two) and fell in love it.
Then, as a middle-aged man, I decided to read it again, doubting that it would have the same effect on me.
But it did!
Gerald Durrell was a master of descriptive imagery.

message 19: by Chrissie (last edited May 12, 2017 11:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Gerald Durrell's books are lots of fun. I'll take his books any day over those of his brother.

Thank you for reading and appreciating my review. And I am very happy you stopped by here to chat. This button pushing without communication, drives me up a tree.

Kevin Ansbro Chrissie wrote: "Gerald Durrell's books are lots of fun. I'll take his books any day over those of his brother.

Thank you for reading and appreciating my review. And I am very happy you stopped by here to chat. Th..."

Me too!
Have a fab Saturday! : )

Chrissie You too!

We have just come in from a nice long walk on the beach. We had to start early because it is high tide today when we usually walk and then it is impossible to walk the whole length. We went early to avoid this.

message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Chrissie, How long is the beach? Do you walk Rounf trip?

Chrissie Yup, we walk a particular section back and forth.The total is about 4-5 km. Oscar swims and we throw out his floating toy which he loves to retrieve. We do it every morning, rain or shine. Today we started at 6. He considers this HIS beach. you should see how he checks out others on the beach. He is just curious to see who else is there. I love watching how he approaches other dogs. If they are far away, He gallops closer. Then at a good long distance from the dog he stops. Running straight up to another dog is aggressive in dog language; he never does this. He can be a good 15 meters away when he stops. The dogs use their noses to discover each one's age and if all looks good he starts wagging his tail and approaches slowly, not straight head on. The whole procedure is lots of fun to watch. Nobody was on the beach today. Nobody gets up at the crack of dawn as we do.

message 24: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Chrissie, That sounds lovely. That is enough of a reason to love it there. Oscar does sound wonderful and like lots of fun. Dogs are fun! I love watching them doing just about anything.

Chrissie It is fun watching them.

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