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My Family and Other Animals (Penguin Essentials) [Paperback]

Gerald Durrell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 April 2011 Penguin Essentials

My Family and Other Animals is the bewitching account of a rare and magical childhood on the island of Corfu by treasured British conservationist Gerald Durrell, beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range.

'What we all need,' said Larry, 'is sunshine...a country where we can grow.'

'Yes, dear, that would be nice,' agreed Mother, not really listening.

'I had a letter from George this morning - he says Corfu's wonderful. Why don't we pack up and go to Greece?'

'Very well, dear, if you like,' said Mother unguardedly.

Escaping the ills of the British climate, the Durrell family - acne-ridden Margo, gun-toting Leslie, bookworm Lawrence and budding naturalist Gerry, along with their long-suffering mother and Roger the dog - take off for the island of Corfu.

But the Durrells find that, reluctantly, they must share their various villas with a menagerie of local fauna - among them scorpions, geckos, toads, bats and butterflies.

Recounted with immense humour and charm My Family and Other Animals is a wonderful account of a rare, magical childhood.

'Durrell has an uncanny knack of discovering human as well as animal eccentricities' Sunday Telegraph

'A bewitching book' Sunday Times

Gerald Durrell was born in Jamshedpur, India, in 1925. He returned to England in 1928 before settling on the island of Corfu with his family. In 1945 he joined the staff of Whipsnade Park as a student keeper, and in 1947 he led his first animal-collecting expedition to the Cameroons. He later undertook numerous further expeditions, visiting Paraguay, Argentina, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Mauritius, Assam and Madagascar. His first television programme, Two in the Bush¸ which documented his travels to New Zealand, Australia and Malaya was made in 1962; he went on to make seventy programmes about his trips around the world. In 1959 he founded the Jersey Zoological Park, and in 1964 he founded the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. He was awarded the OBE in 1982. Encouraged to write about his life's work by his brother, Durrell published his first book, The Overloaded Ark, in 1953. It soon became a bestseller and he went on to write thirty-six other titles, including My Family and Other Animals, The Bafut Beagles, Encounters with Animals, The Drunken Forest, A Zoo in My Luggage, The Whispering Land, Menagerie Manor, The Amateur Naturalist and The Aye-Aye and I. Gerald Durrell died in 1995.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241951461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241951460
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

As a self-described "champion of small uglies," Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) devoted his life to writing and the preservation of wildlife, from the Mauritius pink pigeon to the Rodriques fruit bat. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the Greek island of Corfu, but ended up as a delightful account of his family's experiences that were, according to him, "rather like living in one of the more flamboyant and slapstick comic operas".

As a 10-year-old boy, Gerry left England for Corfu with "all those items that I thought necessary to relieve the tedium of a long journey: four books on natural history, a butterfly net, a dog, and a jam-jar full of caterpillars all in imminent danger of turning into chrysalids". Durrell's descriptions of his family and its many eccentric hangers-on (he stresses that "all the anecdotes about the island and the islanders are absolutely true") are highly entertaining, as is the procession of toads, scorpions, geckos, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, the puppies Widdle and Puke, and the Magenpies. This is a lovely book. --Christine Buttery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A bewitching book (Sunday Times)

Durrell has an uncanny knack of discovering human as well as animal eccentricities (Sunday Telegraph)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By laineyf TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
What can I say about this wonderful book that can possibly do it justice? I first read it 30 years ago, and I am convinced that it was on the strength of this book that I passed my English Literature G.C.E!! It is an incredible book. It is full of funny, warm characters, and of course, the amazing animals! It must have been like heaven to be a small boy on the island of Corfu. It was this book which made me determined to visit Corfu one day, and when I did, I wasn't disappointed. It evoked for me wonderful images of a country I had never visited, and made me long to see it. The Durrell family are a delight, and the way that Gerald tells the story makes you feel as though you are actually there! I loved it, and still do.My children have read it
and they also love it. It is I think an enduring book, one which will continue to delight readers for many years to come.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GERALD DURRELL MUST READ 15 Jun 2001
Format:Hardcover
The first Gerald Durrell book I ever read,my mum recommended to me, I thought it would be very boring and in reply said no, but for my birthday she got me his fist 2 books written, I decided i should read it and, as I started to read it I couldnt put it down, set in the sunny country of Corfu, it was very funny, exciting and showed a real inside to that happy go lucky boy Gerald Durrell, full of laughs which he, his 2 brothers, his mother, his sister and of course his dog called Roger.
EVERYONE WILL LOVE THIS BOOK!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my family and other animals 31 Dec 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
A book I first read as a child, and still continue to read. I love it. Inspired me to become a veterinarian.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming story - Genuinely funny 5 Nov 2003
Format:Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The stories within each chapter are filled with animals, the wonderful eccentricities of Durrel's family and the other residents of Corfu. The island and the authors childhood sound wonderful and I would recommend this book to anyone seeking something light-hearted, interesting and amusing.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could give it 6 stars! 23 April 2007
Format:Paperback
This book is absolutely, brilliantly funny. The wit and unique characterizations are woven with great descriptions of the animals and plants of Corfu. That Durrell can hold the attention of readers who have no interest in biology simply demonstrates what a fine work this is. Gerald's depiction of a larger-than-life expatriate family on a larger-than-life Greek island is a tremendous celebration of life. The variety of different Greek characters parading through this book rivals the variety of Corfu's flora and fauna. Absolute great read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dream-esque 14 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is such simple yet wonderful book. It really does transport you into a world of dreams, hilarious oddities and unfazed youthfull dreams. Including heart-warming and trully individual characters, through the eyes of an endearing young boy, this creation of loveliness is a must for anyone who still remenices over hazy childhood summers with a rush of happiness.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No reviews? 21 Sep 2005
By ajk77
Format:Paperback
I was surprised there were no reviews for this warm and funny book. I feasted on Gerald Durrell's animal books in my early teens and enjoyed revisiting this recently when I bought as a present for a friend's daughter. Those of his books that feature his rather zany family are always particularly delightful. Recommended for anyone who likes animals, Greeks or taking the mickey out of Lawrence Durrell.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true natural history classic 17 Sep 2004
By J. Charlesworth VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I hadn't read this for a while, and I'd forgotten how simply perfect it is. I was introduced to Durrell by my parents reading this aloud to me as a small child.
As a keen naturalist I loved the descriptions of the animals and his sheer enthusiasm for all kinds of life. I think my parents blame Gerald Durrell for all the animals I brought home after being inspired by his work. The descriptions are stunning and the family anecdotes endlessly amusing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars good..
good....but not as good as I thought it was going to be. Lightweight-think his brother, Lawrence, has the edge Im afraid.
Published 1 hour ago by Susie
5.0 out of 5 stars classic
I read this book as a teenager and thoughly enjoyed it as I hope the recipient of this one will as well.
Published 5 days ago by valerie cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars Just bought it for my granddaughter to enjoy. A lovely
Read this for my English o level. Just bought it for my granddaughter to enjoy. A lovely book
Published 5 days ago by A. Beckwith
3.0 out of 5 stars after visiing the lovely zoo in jersey i expected this book to bring...
Was not what i thought it was going to be about, after visiing the lovely zoo in jersey i expected this book to bring back good memory. Read more
Published 9 days ago by kim henwood
5.0 out of 5 stars This book rocks!!
Stunning prose and description of Gerald Durrell's hilarious adventures and family life in Corfu.

Memorable characters that will make you laugh and stay with you long... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Pillowhead
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting
Loved reading this on my daily commute to and from London. I am sure the other passengers thought I was odd chuckling out loud with some of the wonderful descriptions!
Published 10 days ago by Cate
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 15 days ago by ray carter
4.0 out of 5 stars My Family and other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Great read but for older children and adults only - need a dictionary to hand to translate some of the words (which are in English) and I am an academic!. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Mrs. S. I. Bouvet
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleased with purchase
Purchased for a friend and he was very pleased with both the price & speed of delivery.
Published 28 days ago by Norman Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars my family and other animals
This book is almost the same as the programme I watched many years ago. Gerald Durrell has written some great books and this is on of my all time favourites.
Published 29 days ago by D. V. Ball
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