boehnlei, October 31, 2011 (view all comments by boehnlei)
I loved Durrell's description in this novel of living on an island in Greece with his crazy family! He loved the natural world as a child and grew up to found zoos abroad so his attention to detail and his wonderment about the world was very contagious, as was his sparkling writing style. Durrell's narrative voice is hilarious even though it was written about his childhood in the 1950s. His family is crazy!!
windybear, December 4, 2010 (view all comments by windybear)
One of my favorite books of all time. There's a reason it's still in print after nearly fifty years. Read it first when I was twelve years old and reread it every couple of years. Alternates beautiful lyrical descriptions of nature with hilarious passages about eccentric family. Have given away at least a dozen copies. Book is a real treasure.
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Fritzy, March 29, 2006 (view all comments by Fritzy)
Hands down the best summer reading ever. If you've ever spent time face down in the grass observing the microcosm in your front lawn you will appreciate Durrell's writing. This book brings the best of nature writing and wacky family memoirs together. Think of David Sedaris in the 1920's with a butterfly net. The book follows percocious Gerry as he roams freely on a small Greek island exploring everything from miniature scorpions to sea horses to the local eccentrics. It is this free childhood that causes Durrell to go on to be come a famous naturalist and the stories he tells about his family's time in a crumbling Greek villa are high comedy. Laced between the tales of life with a sulking adolescent sister, snakes in the bathtub, magpies at tea, a brother obsessed with English shooting and the quirky local customs are beautiful descriptions of the Greek countryside and all manner of sea and land life. It gives you a glimpse into one boy's endless summer of traipsing over the hills and beaches with collecting jars and buckets and the thoroughly enjoyable story of his outlandish family. Be sure to also check out the sequel, "Birds Beasts & Relatives" and Durrell's other adventures which range from Australia to Africa.
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This autobiographical work takes place on the island of Corfu when Durrell was a boy. He was pretty much a wild English boy who ended up with a lot of time on his hands, a lot of rugged land to explore, and as a result, a lot of critter friends the likes of which you wouldn't find at your local pet store. A love of animals and nature is a constant throughout this book and others by Durrell. This amazing man later founded his own zoo and hosted a T.V. wildlife program that ran internationally. If you like this book, the other titles to look out for are Birds, Beasts, and Relatives and Fauna and Family, both of which cover the Durrell family's stay on Corfu.
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