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My Animals and Other Family

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Strawberry pink, to be exact. The colour of the first house the Durrells rented on Corfu. The villa had an air of pink-faced determination. Such a memory she has remembering so many things she did – even that or she had such a more eventful and interesting growing up than I did. Maybe that is why I cant remember much of my childhood because not a lot happened. Such a good storyteller and because of this I’m making My Animals and Other Family my Book of the Month for October. Hughes, David (1997). Himself & Other Animals: A Portrait of Gerald Durrell. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-180167-2.

Pubblicato nel 1956, “La mia famiglia ed altri animali” è un testo autobiografico del naturalista inglese Gerald Durrell.

It was fun getting to know the zoo that characterized Durrell’s family: Louisa, his widowed mother and her bemused tolerance of her children’s antics; Larry, aspiring writer and adult brother with his pompous know-it-all attitude, hysterical theatrics, and murderous intent toward Gerry’s collection of strange creatures; Leslie, the gun-loving, hunter brother who built him a boat, and Margo, his sister with her enthusiasm for all things salubrious to health and beauty. The Durrell family would host a party ‘at a moment’s notice, and for no other reason other than we suddenly felt like it.’ Their parties never ever went as expected, but that was part of the charm. It was also lovely to hear of friendships forged with the Corfu peasants who had the gift of hospitality, and the Durrells’ special bond with Spiros, the Greek taxi driver who became a trusted guide and close family friend. Numerous individual animals of rare species born in captivity have been named "Gerry" or "Gerald" as homage to Durrell, among them the first Aldabra giant tortoise born in captivity.

I have always been a huge admirer and aficionado of Claire Balding, as she is my heroine in both the equestrian and sports world but in the journalism world too because of my combined love of horses and her career. From the perspective of an animal lover, horse rider and equestrian devotee this book was a must-have as soon as I noticed it in the bookshop, with its cover standing out on the bookshelf as something quite eye-catching. I have read many autobiographies about celebrities, horse riders and sports professionals but none of them are as spectacularly fantastic and as interesting as Claire Balding’s. She puts so much of her heart and soul into this insightful narrative that you feel very much a part of her world, and which I concider as a gift, a real treat for all fans of this highly renound and recognizable celebrity/ sports journalist and distinctive name in the horse world. It is the animals, the famous horses and top horse and rider combinations that make her such a universally loved figure in television, and that she speaks of so warmly and honestly in this delightful book that you are unable to put down. The author's personification of animals extends to goats, whose "udders swing like bagpipes" and also in respect of some tortoise-shagging (the tortoises with each other, not any deviant behaviour on Durrell's part). The town hall of Corfu announced in 2006 that it would rename Corfu Bosketto (a park in the city of Corfu) Bosketto Durrell, after Gerald and Lawrence Durrell as a mark of respect.[15]A taxi driver, devoted friend of the Durrells who speaks unconventional English, adding 's' at random.

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