Review: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

When Gerald Durrell was ten, his family, his mother, his two brothers and his sister, made the surprising choice to pack up their home in England and to move to Corfu. My Family and Other Animals tells the story of this somewhat unusual family and the early part of their stay on the island. The Durrells are all quite eccentric, their mother is warm hearted but not always sensible, brother Leslie likes his guns and shooting, while Larry is a writer with a number of quirky friends. (In real life these friends included Henry Miller, whose work was deeply influential on a young Lawrence Durrell.) Margo is in her teens and concerned with her appearance (and making the occasional unsuitable match). And then, of course there is Gerald, who soon becomes fascinated by all of the animals on the island and adopts all kinds of unusual pets, and makes some surprising friends.

This is an unusual, quirky read. It is quite fun in a lot of places. Gerald Durrell certainly portrays his family as eccentric and their adventures are unusual. Of course, thanks to a number of biographies on the Durrells we know that their time in Corfu was a lot darker than the author makes out, but this reality makes the book no less entertaining. 



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