Sunday, May 30, 2004

My Family and Other Animals

How can you not love a book that starts with the quote, "There is a pleasure sure In being mad, which none but madmen know"

My Family and other animals is a chronicle of the years spent by the Durrell family in the Greek Island of Corfu. The family consists of their mother- she of infinite patience, Larry the would be novelist, Leslie the outdoors man who loves guns, Margo whose biggest worry is her acne, and the author Gerry, 10 year old naturalist whose chief interest is zoology. As Gerald Durrell points out in the introduction, he started this book as a natural history of the island, but once his family got into the book it was difficult to move them out. So what results is a delightful book that is as funny as it can get.

The family moves to Corfu to get away from the cold winters of England. For Gerry this is a heavenly move as the island provides him with abundance of natural history specimens and pets. The pets range from Achilles the tortoise, Quasimodo the he pigeon who later is found to be a she, the two puppies Widdle and Puke, the Magenpies, Geronimo the lizard and many more insects of various sizes and colour.

They meet a multitude of interesting human beings too, each adding colour to the slapstick comedy that life in Corfu is. Many of these leave the reader laughing uncontrollably. The final of the book sums it up beautifully. The family leaves Corfu so that Gerry can get properly educated. As they pass through the Swiss Frontier the official writes on the little card, in the column headed Description of Passengers: One travelling circus and staff.

Highly recommended.

4 comments:

Ravages said...

I particularly like the part where Gerry picks up a family of scorpions from inside a ruined wall and how the scorpions land up at the family dining table, in the midst of a lunch.
Absolutely hilarious stuff.

Chenthil said...

Yeah CCG, reading the book in the night I had to push the imaginary insects off me :). Did you know that Gerald was born in Jamshedpur, Larry later became a well known novelist and at one point was considered for nobel prize for literature (for his Alexandria Quartet novels)

Anonymous said...

love this one and the loads of others that he has written...his subtle sense of humor always has me in splits...
Do u read James Herriots too?? If not should try....
chanced upon your site while wandering around blogdom...hope to be back for some more reviews..
take care!!
Wandy

Anonymous said...

i loved this book. i am only twelve, read it, loved it, reccomended it.