Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Reading Assignment

Today's Friday reading assignment is another oldie-but-a-goodie, as what I'm reading right now is not quite up to Reading Assignment Standards.  I present for your enjoyment, one of my favorite books of all time:  My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.  You may have read this, as it's quite famous.  Raise your hand if you've read it!  Share with my other readers how it made you laugh until you wet yourself!  My entire family loves this book.  When my mother was dying, she left something special for me and each of my siblings.  To my brother, she left her copy of My Family and Other Animals, along with the other books in the series:  Birds, Beasts, and Relatives, and Fauna and Family.

This is the true-ish story of the Durrell family, narrated by the youngest son, Gerald who is ten years old. It's the 1930s, and sick of England, they move to the island of Corfu (Greece) where their eccentricities can run unfettered.  The family's single-minded devotion to their obsessions--particularly Gerry's with animals-- leads to catastrophes, embarrassing incidents, and the funniest of dialogue of any work of English literature.

Gerald Durrell grew up to be the host of a nature show on TV as well as the author of many books.

The movie made from this book is excellent, with Imelda Staunton as the mother, Matthew Goode as Larry,  and the incomparable Omid Djalili as Spiro, the family's Greek guide.  It's clear that whoever made the movie not only read the book, but loved it.

Gerald Durrell as a boy on Corfu

This book is: funny
Time it will take to read: less than a week.


  1. Oh I've seen the movie but haven't read the book! So excited. On my list now!

  2. The movie has been in my Netflix cue for a while, but I'd never heard of the book.

    Now I'll have to read the book first. I'm glad to hear the movie is good --it's always so disappointing to like a book and then watch a poorly made movie of it.

  3. You've picked one of my favourites!

    I love this book. I especially love the comedy of errors produced by the interactions of Spiro and young Gerry.

    There's also a talking book version (unabridged) narrated by Nigel Davenport, that is, I think, even better than the printed form, as he has a deliciously fruity voice for Spiro.

    I'd also advise Durrell's book Marrying off Mother there are sections where I almost wet myself laughing.

  4. TSB: What is this? A Gerald Durrell book I've never heard of? I will have to see if it is available in this benighted land. Thank goodness for amazon uk.

  5. another book for my must read pile.....getting totteringly tall now!!