Penguin Books, 1976
When the unconventional Durrell family decides they can no longer endure the gray English climate, they sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. My Family and Other Animals is a delightful account of the family’s experiences, including an endless procession of puppies, toads, birds, geckoes, ladybugs, octopuses, bats, and butterflies through their home.
I laughed through much of Gerald Durrell’s account of his family history. Readers will be amused by every character, human or otherwise, in the story.
This book would work well for reading aloud as a family, especially if that family includes children fascinated by insects and small creatures. Throughout the book, Durrell describes in minute detail much of the insect life he observed as a child while interpreting these observations with the knowledge he later gained as a naturalist and conservationist. Somehow, he makes these descriptions interesting, even for readers not generally interested in bugs.
Readers may recognize the Durrell family from the British comedy-drama that ran on PBS Masterpiece from 2016 to 2019 called The Durrells in Corfu. Although a few liberties were taken, the television series closely aligns with specific experiences described in My Family and Other Animals. Readers who have already watched the television series will find that their reading experience is enhanced by being able to envision the beautiful setting and quirky characters.
For a fun, light read, pick up My Family and Other Animals and join the eccentric Durrell family on the small Greek island of Corfu.
What about you, reader? As a child, were you fascinated by something that later led to a career interest?