My family and other animals
BY GERALD DURRELL
What is it about?
The book is an autobiographical account of five years in the childhood of naturalist Gerald Durrell, of his family, pets and life on the island of Corfu.
The book is divided into three sections. Each section is marked by each villa where the family lived on the island.
Gerry is a child who loves animals. Apart from Gerry (the youngest), the family is formed by his sister Margo, his brother Leslie, his eldest brother Lawrence and their mother. They are protected by their taxi-driver friend Spiro and mentored by Theodore Stephanides who teaches Gerald about Natural History.
Other human characters include Gerry´s private tutors, the artistic and literary visitors Larry invites to stay, and the local peasants.
The plot is shared by descriptions of the animal life which Gerald observes around the family homes, island and seashore. Many of those animals are kept by Gerry as pets.Those include Achilles the tortoise, Quasimodo the pigeon, Ulisses the owl, numerous spiders, Alecko the gull, puppies named Widdle and Puke, and the magpies known as the Magenpies.
It's written with immense humour and charm," My family and other animals" is a wonderful account or a rare, magical childhood.
Who is Gerald Durrell?
Gerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell (7 January 1925-30 January 1995) was an English naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter. He founded what is now called Durrell wildlife Park on the Channel Island of Jersey in 1958,but is perhaps best remembered for writing a number of books based on his life.
Gerald Durrell was born in Jamshedpur, India, in 1925. He was the fourth child of Louisa and Lawrence Durrell. The family returned to England in 1928 and then they moved to the Greek island of Corfu in 1935. It was on Corfu where Durrell began to collect and keep the local fauna as his pets. Gerald and his family moved back to England in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. In 1945 he joined the staff of Whipsnade Park as a student keeper, and in 1947 he lead his first animal-collecting expedition to the Cameroons. He later undertook numerous further expeditions. In 1959 he founded the Jersey Zoological Park. He was 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". Gerald Durrell died in 1995.
My family and other animals review
I've just read a novel called "My family and other animals" written by Gerald Durrell. This book is an autobiographical work, telling of the part of author's childhood he spent on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939, and for this reason it's a great example of entertainig adventure. Gerry, the author and principal character, narrates the story from his point of view. The story stars one wet grey day when the family decide to escape the English weather.
This is the story of a five-year sojourn that Gerry and his family made on the Greek island of Corfu. Gerry attemps to draw an accurate and unexaggerated picture of his family. They appear as he saw them, a rather unusual family: the intellectual Larry, the eldest; the gun-mad Leslie, the acne-infested sister Margo, their widowed mother and Gerald, the youngest,together with Roger the dog.
In the begining, they decide to sell their house and move to the sunny island of Corfu in Greece. Here they experience a new life of freedom and adventure. 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. The plot is gripping, it describes the life of the Durrell family on the island in a humorous manner, and also discusses the fauna of the island.
In my opinion, I liked the book because it's a book you will not be able to put down until you have finished the last chapter. Although "My family and other animals" is presented as autobiographical, the events are not always true; in particular the reason for Durrells' departure from Corfu (Worl War II) is not given, instead it is caused for the sake of Gerald's education. However,the book is succesful in preserving the impressions of a child with a great deal of humour and for this reason I enjoyed it. But I found it difficult to read because the book had too many new words to look up.
I strongly recommend "My family and other animals" as an entertaining book for those who enjoy about hilarious stories.
Caterpillar (n) the wormlike larva of a butterfly or a moth.
thoroughfare (n) a main road or public highway.
uproar (n) a state of violent and noisy disturbance, as of a multitude; turmoil.
scent (n) a distinctive odor, especially when agreeable.
beckon (v) to signal, summon, or direct by a gesture of the head or hand.
frame of mind (idiom) mental or emotional attitude or mood.
peevishly (adv) showing annoyance, irritation or bad mood.
grasshopper (n) any of numerous herbivorous, orthopterous insects.
squat (v) to sit in a low or crouching position with the legs drawn up closely beneath or in front of the body; sit on one's hauches or heels.
pandemonium (n) wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos.
sawdust (n) small particles of wood produced in sawing.
in our midst (idiom) in the midst of or among us (you,them).
cockle (n) any bivalve mollusk.
zest (n) liveliness or energy; animating spirit.
swarm (v) to fly off together in a swarm, as bees.
adamant (adj) utterly unyielding in attitude or opinion in spite of all appeals, urgins.
How sound this book...