My Family and Other Animals Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of My Family and Other Animals

The setting of this book is the beautiful picturesque Greek island of Corfu. A young Gerald Durrell and his somewhat eccentric family set off from cold, depressing England and arrive as if in a dream on the sunny island of Corfu.This island is a veritable treasure of animal life and olive groves.In the narrative, Gerald takes the reader on his explorations of the island. With him, the reader visits old islanders and shares in their bread and olive oil, finds a scorpion and the cure for its poison and even observes a women giving birth in a room where no males are allowed!
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The book is interspersed with mention of Spiro, a family friend named after the patron saint of the island, as are many male islanders.Spiro is a colourful, refreshing character who would have married the author's patient if somewhat vague mother, if he was'nt already married.

However, most emphasis is placed on the explorations of the author and his findings of animal life all over the island. As the story unfolds, the reader is introduced to various interesting animals and insects such as the Trapdoor spider, Quasimodo the pigeon and a scops owl which the author keeps in his bedroom during the day and lets out to hunt at night.

Most of these creatures are met with some contempt by the family, all except mother, who as mentioned previously has a most forgiving and patient nature. This provides a funny and interesting story as Larry with his head in the clouds, Leslie with his love of guns and Margo with her tendancy to acne each in turn express their disgust, horror or occasionally, affection for the animals which Gerald keeps as pets.
The review of this Book prepared by Farzana Ahmed

This is the story of Gerald Durrell's childhood on the Greek island of Corfu and his relationship with his family and some interesting local characters, like Spiro, the taxi driver and Theodore, a scientist who taught Durrell much about the animals and nature of the island and remained a good friend of the family after they moved back to England. The family were a collection of eccentrics: Mother is described as being always either knitting or cooking; oldest brother Larry, who was a budding writer at that time, was always inviting strange artists to come and visit; middle brother Leslie was an outdoor and hunting nut; and sister Margo was always worried about her appearance. Durrell describes his family and some of their adventures, the nature and animals of the island, the animals he kept as pets, and the teachers who tried to educate him with varying success.
The review of this Book prepared by Jˇhanna

Chapter Analysis of My Family and Other Animals

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Plot & Themes

Ethnic/Relig. of subject (inside)    -   British    -   Greek Ethnic/regional/gender    -   Yes Outdoors story    -   Yes Exploring:    -   animal watching/hunting Period of greatest activity?    -   1950+

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   explorer Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   7 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Greece Island?    -   Yes Island:    -   food/shelter preoccupation Century:    -   1930's-1950's    -   19th century

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   very happy    -   like laughing Pictures/Illustrations?    -   None How much dialogue in bio?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   0-25% of book

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