Review by: Alizay Ashraf
My Family and Other Animals is the narration of author Gerald Durrell’s childhood life in the exotic Greek Island of Corfu. Fed up with the cold, harsh winters of England, the Durrell family gives up on it and decides to move to a country with better weather. And what could be better than a Greek Island with its warm sunshine and sparkling blue waters? So the family impulsively moves to Corfu, a small island with friendly people and even friendlier fauna. Thus, starts the experience of a lifetime, for the author as well as for the reader, as he takes you through his escapades with turtles and terrapins, magpies and seagulls, pigeons and dogs, frogs and geckos and so many more.
The book is full of interesting characters. The family consists of a gentle, loving yet unconventional mother, a pompous, self-centered elder brother Larry who loves his books and wants to make it as an author, the acne – faced Margo who has her fans, the gun-loving Leslie who loves his game, and the nature-loving Gerry who could pet almost any animal living in this planet.
The author has a natural flair for humor and made me laugh at the retellings of some of the incidents. The author also squeezes in his insights on different animals and their lives in between these incidents that will make you wonder why you never look at an animal the way Mr. Durrell does. The author inveigles his readers with the nostalgic recitation of his heartwarming experiences with his family, his rather unusually named pets (Quasimo- do, Puke), and animals in this wonderful book.
The themes of this book are The Natural World. Absurdity and Storytelling, childhood, adulthood, and education, friendship, and the care of animals. I would recommend this book for readers above 11.