• My Family and Other Animals

  • By: Gerald Durrell
  • Narrated by: Hugh Bonneville
  • Length: 4 hrs and 22 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 13-09-10
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: CSA Word
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.7 (102 ratings)

Summary

The book is an autobiographical account of five years in the childhood of naturalist Gerald Durrell. The book is divided into three sections, marking the three villas in which the family lived on the island. Apart from Gerald (the youngest) and Larry, the family comprised their widowed mother, the gun-mad Leslie, and diet-obsessed sister Margo together with Roger the dog.
They are fiercely protected by their taxi-driver friend Spiro (Spyros "Americano" Chalikiopoulos) and mentored by the polymath Dr Theodore Stephanides who provides Gerald with his education in natural history. Other human characters, chiefly eccentric, include Gerald's private tutors, the artistic and literary visitors Larry invites to stay, and the local peasants who befriend the family. An audio treat for those young and old.
©1956 Gerald Durrell (P)2010 CSA Word
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Critic reviews

"Hugh Bonneville gives a lovely reading… Delicious!" ( Daily Express)
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Regular price: £10.99

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Eilert on 18-07-13

A rare ole time!

What made the experience of listening to My Family and Other Animals the most enjoyable?

Gerald Durrell's autobiographical account of his childhood days in Korfu is hilarious and has, in my opinion, stood the tests of time just fine. Hugh Bonneville's reading is very good, he underpins the story without stealing the limelight.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended if you don't crave dystopian modernity.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By David on 13-04-13

Humorous and undemanding

A gentle and comical reminiscence about the the author's childhood in Corfu with interesting insights into the lives and attitudes of other members of his family including his elder brother Lawrence.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ilona on 22-10-13

This should be required reading

Would you listen to My Family and Other Animals again? Why?

I would, and I do listen to this fine work, a good bedtime story too....absolutely delightful. It is out of print, and everybody who has curiosity and a sense of humor, or loves animals, and critters, or who hates them should read and enjoy this book...

What other book might you compare My Family and Other Animals to and why?

For story telling, maybe Harry Potter, or Wind in the Willows. A wonderful true tale of a boy and his adventures. Hated to see some critters sacrificed, but that's how we learn.

What about Hugh Bonneville’s performance did you like?

He was easy to listen to, and character voices were identifiable and delightful. Not since Harry Potter narrator have I enjoyed a performance as well. And it was a performance. I had to remind myself that this is a true story, of a boy, and how he grew up to become what he did..

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This was loaned to me, because my friend from the gardening club thought the antics reminded her of me...it was a paperback, and I am ever so hard on books, so I borrowed it from the public library, then lost it. It is out of print and the replacement cost was $40, then I found it on Audio, but didn't know how to listen to it. Now I do, and would pay to replace the lost book, and have a hard copy for myself.I laughed, wondered, and enjoyed every moment, then cried when it was the end.

Any additional comments?

A must read for any kid who likes or hates bugs and things, and their moms too.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By kindafoggy on 07-07-13

A Comedy Classic Comes to Life

Where does My Family and Other Animals rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is at the top of my comedy "love list."All of Gerald Durrell's books have been on my shelves since I was 8 (some 40+ years!). As I was disappointed in what television had produced, I was hesitant to have a listen to this audiobook version. Happily, Hugh Bonneville has thoroughly captured the essence of the wit and beautifully turned phrases. Naturalists and humorists will love this classic. Mr. Bonneville's range of characterization is just wonderful. He obviously loves the work as much as any Durrell fan. As much as I enjoyed Hugh Bonneville as the Earl of Grantham in the popular Downton Abbey, his vast talent for comedy had no occasion to shine. Here it does. It positively sparkles.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Spiro is my favorite character as he's much like a large mastiff taking charge of a gaggle of silly ducklings. Spiro has come to life and is as endearing and animated as Gerry Durrell wrote him. Margo is screechingly funny. Mother is vacantly aware, as always. Theo and all the others... It's impossible to pick a favorite! You'll be laughing out loud.

Have you listened to any of Hugh Bonneville’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first time I've had the pleasure. But I'll definitely be looking for more from Mr. Bonneville in hopes that he chooses comedies over dramas.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Ohhh. I'm not sure any director or producer could do this series of books justice, particularly in this age of huge "blockbuster budgets". Meaningful family cinema and television seem to be falling along the wayside. A long, long TV series in the vein of Larkrise to Candleford or Downton Abbey would be lovely. I actually thought of Gerald Durrell when I watched "Dean Spanley" and wished, at the time, that Toa Fraser would try a Durrell movie. Something shot on location in sleepy, sunny Greece. Something that takes it time, gets all the lines, gets the costumes, scenery, wit and "times" just right. I would love to see this series with the child, Gerry, as the focal point and his perspective the dominant one, as in the books.

Any additional comments?

Truly funny and candid descriptions of the politics of family life will be familiar to many listeners, regardless of the era. Lovely descriptions of nature and the wonder we each felt as children when we first "discovered" the microcosms will bring back childhood memories. I highly recommend this refreshing listening as it will transport you!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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