My Family and Other Animals Book Summary - My Family and Other Animals Book explained in key points

My Family and Other Animals summary

Gerald Durrell

Brief summary

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell is a charming and humorous memoir that follows the author's childhood adventures in Corfu, surrounded by an eccentric cast of family members and a fascinating array of wildlife.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    My Family and Other Animals
    Summary of key ideas

    Exploring the Natural World

    In My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, we are transported to the Greek island of Corfu in the 1930s. The story begins with the Durrell family, who have decided to leave their dreary life in England and move to the sun-soaked island. The family consists of the widowed mother, the eldest son Larry, the author himself, and his two other siblings, Leslie and Margo. The family's eccentricities and their interactions with the local community are humorously portrayed.

    One of the central themes of the book is the author's fascination with the natural world. From the moment they arrive, young Gerald is captivated by the island's rich and diverse wildlife. He begins collecting and studying the local fauna, much to the chagrin of his long-suffering family. His passion for animals leads to a series of hilarious and often chaotic incidents, including a pet magpie that steals everything in sight and a procession of exotic pets that take over the family's villa.

    Family Dynamics and Local Characters

    As the story unfolds, we get to know the Durrell family and their unique personalities. Larry, the eldest, is a struggling writer with a sharp wit and a disdain for the mundane. Leslie, the gun-obsessed brother, is a man of few words, while Margo, the only girl, is preoccupied with her looks and love life. Their mother, a woman of strong character, tries her best to keep the family in check amidst the chaos.

    Aside from the Durrells, the book introduces us to a host of colorful local characters. These include Spiro, the larger-than-life taxi driver who becomes the family's loyal friend and guide, and Dr. Theodore Stephanides, a polymath who becomes Gerald's mentor in the study of natural history. Through these characters, we gain a deeper understanding of the island's culture and way of life.

    Adventures and Misadventures

    Throughout My Family and Other Animals, we witness the Durrells' numerous adventures and misadventures. From near-death encounters with deadly snakes to comical attempts at domesticating wild animals, the family's time in Corfu is anything but dull. Gerald's vivid descriptions and keen observations bring the island's natural beauty to life, making it a character in its own right.

    As the book progresses, we see Gerald's passion for wildlife grow, leading him to consider a career in natural history. His experiences in Corfu shape his future as a renowned conservationist and author. Meanwhile, the rest of the family's time on the island comes to an end, each member leaving with their own unique memories and experiences.

    A Timeless Tale of Family and Nature

    In conclusion, My Family and Other Animals is a delightful blend of family memoir and natural history. Gerald Durrell's witty and engaging narrative style draws us into the world of the Durrells, making us feel like part of their unconventional family. The book is a celebration of the wonders of the natural world and a testament to the enduring bond of family, making it a timeless classic that continues to captivate readers of all ages.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is My Family and Other Animals about?

    My Family and Other Animals is a delightful memoir by Gerald Durrell that takes us on a humorous and heartwarming journey to the island of Corfu. Filled with colorful characters and captivating anecdotes, Durrell shares his unique childhood experiences surrounded by an eccentric family and a myriad of fascinating animals. It's a charming and nostalgic read that celebrates the wonders of the natural world and the bonds of family.

    My Family and Other Animals Review

    My Family and Other Animals (1956) is a delightful memoir that follows the author's adventurous childhood on the Greek island of Corfu. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Immerse yourself in the humorous and heartwarming anecdotes that capture the idyllic island life and Gerald Durrell's eccentric family.
    • Explore the rich flora and fauna of Corfu through the author's keen observations and interactions with various animal friends.
    • Experience the joy and wonder of a childhood filled with freedom, curiosity, and discovery, providing a captivating escape from everyday life.

    Who should read My Family and Other Animals?

    • Animal lovers who enjoy humorous and heartwarming stories
    • Readers who appreciate vivid descriptions of nature and wildlife
    • Those who want to escape to a charming and eccentric family setting

    About the Author

    Gerald Durrell was a renowned British naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, and author. He dedicated his life to wildlife conservation and founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Durrell's love for animals and the natural world is evident in his numerous books, including My Family and Other Animals, The Bafut Beagles, and Three Singles to Adventure. His works not only entertain readers with his humorous and captivating storytelling but also raise awareness about the importance of preserving endangered species and their habitats.

    Categories with My Family and Other Animals

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    My Family and Other Animals FAQs 

    What is the main message of My Family and Other Animals?

    The main message of My Family and Other Animals is a humorous and charming tale of an eccentric family's adventures in Corfu.

    How long does it take to read My Family and Other Animals?

    The reading time for My Family and Other Animals varies depending on the reader's speed. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is My Family and Other Animals a good book? Is it worth reading?

    My Family and Other Animals is a delightful memoir that brings laughter. It's worth reading for its lively storytelling and humorous anecdotes.

    Who is the author of My Family and Other Animals?

    Gerald Durrell is the author of My Family and Other Animals.

    What to read after My Family and Other Animals?

    If you're wondering what to read next after My Family and Other Animals, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Fox by Martin Wallen
    • The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
    • Spillover by David Quammen
    • Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek
    • Zoobiquity by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers
    • The Burning Question by Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark
    • Renewable by Jeremy Shere
    • Green Illusions by Ozzie Zehner