My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

To be honest, when I read this book I didn't know anything about the book or the author. I simply recognised it as a Penguin classic and that was good enough for me. I can say that I am really glad I chose it.

Gerald Durrell is a well known english conservationist and this book is the story of some of his childhood years which were spent on the island of Corfu in Greece some time in the early 20th century (the 30's or 40's from memory). It details the funny characters that comprise his family, their relationship with one another, and their dealings with the various animals that Gerald brings home and makes part of the family.

Durrell's writing style is so natural, the book is written as if he was speaking directly to you, telling you his story. I suppose its because its autobiographical, and also because he is a conservationist not a writer. In any event, I loved how it was written, it felt so friendly and open. The language Durrel uses to describe the island and his family's adventures is so vivid that you feel like you are in Corfu, or at least that you would really like to be in Corfu. Corfu comes alive as a beautiful and colourful place, full of excitement. I'm sure that's what it felt like to young Gerry and he conveys that magical feeling well.

There's no plot as such as it is an autobiographical story of what occured in his life during the years the book spans. He recounts what happens to him and his family and the various people and animals that cross their paths. I recommend this to everyone looking for a good, light heared and hilarious read.

Star Rating

6.5 / 8


Brilliant, couldn't put it down.