My Family and Other Animals

  • by Gerald Durrell
  • Narrated by Hugh Bonneville
  • 4 hrs and 22 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

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


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- kindafoggy

Superb interpretation

Hugh Bonneville's superb interpretation really makes the animals (and the humans) come alive. I would even say it's better than the written text!!! I would highly recommend this to a friend also because it's witty, excentric, exotic, and really puts animals and humans on the same level. Absolutely loved it!
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-13-2010
  • Publisher: CSA Word