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Publisher's 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

Critic Reviews

"Hugh Bonneville gives a lovely reading… Delicious!" ( Daily Express)

What listeners say about My Family and Other Animals

Average Customer Ratings
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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.

4 people found this helpful

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Love it, but please mark as Abridged!

This book is such a delight, but I was so disappointed when I realized that this was an abridged version. It did not say anywhere in the description that it was abridged, which is a bit dishonest in my opinion. Although I loved Hugh Bonneville's narration, I recommend spending the credit on the full length version of the book!

2 people found this helpful

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Abbreviated version of the book

For some reason, this book is not the full book. Unless I missed it, it was not indicated at the time of the purchase. I am still giving 3 stars though...

2 people found this helpful

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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!

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

I've been watching "the Durrells in Corfu" on PBS, and really enjoying it, so I thought I'd listen to the books it was made from. Slightly different to the show, but not enough to make it unrecognizable. This story was terrific, and I belly laughed more than a few times. Hugh Bonneville's narration was perfect. His voices, while not spectacularly different, we're individual enough to make the characters easy to differentiate.
I'll listen to the next one, for sure.

1 person found this helpful

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Great performance and great book!

Hugh Bonneville is a great actor and his performance as narrator is simply excellent. The story narrated from a child’s point of view is very good. Highly recommended for enjoyment.

1 person found this helpful

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Truly Enjoyable

Beautiful and hilarious at the same time! Truly enjoyable reading. I loved listening to Hugh make out each of the family's voices.

1 person found this helpful

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DEVASTATING THAT THIS BOOK HAS BEEN ABRIDGED. WHY?

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

The story and the narrator.

What did you like best about this story?

It was lighthearted and descriptive.

What about Hugh Bonneville’s performance did you like?

He is perfection.

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

I cried when I found that it was abridged.

Any additional comments?

Ask Hugh to do an unabridged version.

1 person found this helpful

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Not full book

This is not a full version of the book. Some stories and even characters are left out completely. Beautifully read though.

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What an enchanting story!

One of the most delightful books I have ever listened to. So full of adventure and hilarity, beautifully narrated. I will listen to it many times again I’m sure.

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  • C. Knight
  • 11-12-15

Perfect

This has been and always will be my favourite childhood book, wonderful for both children and adults alike. The story of Gerald Durrell's childhood in Corfu it's both touching and funny, with a real sense of wonder about the world and all the animals in it.

I highly recommend this as a perfect way to pass a dreary winters evening.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Eilert
  • 07-18-13

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.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • carol
  • 12-24-12

A joy to listen to!

Listening to the sample of Hugh Bonneville reading this book sealed the sale for me. He reads it with such expression that it was an absolute pleasure to listen to. Gerald Durrell's writing is a wonderful snapshot of his early years in lovely Corfu, a place I'm extremely fond of. His detailed & vivid descriptions of the wildlife, his family, the landscape & the locals are given equal billing. Will definitely buy more in this series.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Nonny Mouse
  • 07-11-17

Brilliant

This book is based on his life in Corfu and England it is very funny

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs TK
  • 08-30-15

Evocative tale

If you could sum up My Family and Other Animals in three words, what would they be?

An entertaining listen.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Larry, an intolerant, selfish young man - but added colour to the story.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The scene with the scorpions in the matchbox.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. easy to listen to a little at a time. A gentle tale.

2 people found this helpful

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  • CATHERINE
  • 08-12-15

Entertaining listen

Read the book as a child and loved it, now 40 years later listening to the book was every bit as good as I remember. Totally recommend it. It's amusing, and very well read.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 04-13-13

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Big Syd
  • 12-03-21

Pompous

A pompous and arrogant work with ghastly entitled characters. Born in India under the raj this family has clearly never known financial hardship. A trip through 1930s corfu might have been interesting but not with these losers.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ibukun Jaiyesimi
  • 06-18-15

Love love love

I really loved to read this book and thought I couldn't fall more in love with it till I listened to it. I can practically see myself on that Island experiencing everything and I constantly marvel at how Jerry can make the most ordinary of nature very beautiful.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 06-04-15

Brilliant story & performance

I had forgotten how brilliant this story is & the audio really brought it to life. Enjoyed by all ages. Brilliant

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephen Green
  • 11-28-19

Missing sections...

It was well read, but this version is missing sections compared with the printed version.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-31-17

absolutely delightful

hugh bonneville is a master narrator. the durrells are hilarious. many laugh out loud moments.