REVIEW My Family and Other Animals: Gerald Durrell

A MENAGERIE WITH A FAMILY

Durrell first came into my life as the author of a short story "My Donkey Sally", in our seventh-grade English textbook. That summer, when I went to Kolkata, I found this book lying in a corner of my cousin's bookshelf. I brought it with me when I returned, and since then, this book has been an important part of my life. Most of my train journeys have been with Durrell as company, and when I'm down, Durrell's brother, Larry, never fails to cheer me up.

My Family and Other Animals is a saga of ten-year old (I think) Gerry Durrell's stay in Corfu, with his eclectic family, which includes a gun-mad Leslie and a beauty-conscious Margo. His good friend, Dr. Theo Stephanides guides the nature-loving Durrell in his soujourn through the Greek island, and their fiercely protective, lovable Greek driver Spiro completes the extended family. Durrell studies and brings back many animals to his house: the Magenpies, Quasimodo the pigeon and Ullysses the owl to give company to his dog, Roger, and each pet has a story of its own.

The book provided me hours of pure, unadulterated fun. The conversations of the Durrell family are hilarious, the situations they fall in and out of are laugh-out-loud ones. Some of my favorite situations are when Gerry brings home a family of scorpions, Margo's reaction when her crush (who happens to be Jerry's tutor) is let go unceremoniously, and the final party the family throws. Larry is my favorite character; his reactions to Gerry's pets are hugely entertaining. The book is peppered with eccentric characters, notably Larry's literary friends. Durrell has an endearing style of writing, with an eye for detail and an impeccable comic timing. The book gives the feel of a quaint town by the coast, where life proceeds languidly, and daily occurrences acquire a certain charm. It is this feel which brings me back to this book time and again, which has made it an integral part of my bookshelf.

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3 Responses
  1. Jeane Says:

    I stumbled across a few Gerald Durrell books last year, and liked them very much. I'm keeping my eyes out for any more. Haven't read this one yet.


  2. A Hazra Says:

    I am looking out for more Durrell books as well. I've read Drunken Forest and A Zoo in My Luggage, and I'll be writing about them soon. You can check the books out, if you haven't read them already, they're really nice.


  3. Aik Says:

    This book sounds really interesting to read!


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