Book Review: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald DurrellMy Family & Other Animals is, as hinted at by the title, a humorous, mostly autobiographical account of the author’s early years, which were spent in Corfu in the 1930s with his mother and three older siblings.  Not only do we become acquainted with his eccentric, very English family, we are also introduced to plenty of the locals: a mix of humans, animals, birds, insects and plant life.

Durrell’s family moved to Corfu when he was 8 years old.  Before this they had lived in India and England, so his was not exactly your average upbringing.  More

Book review: Not So Stupid! by Malorie Blackman

“The Devil seethed with fury; to be summoned in this way was galling but he had no choice.  The Book of Old had been found and the invocation spell had been executed correctly.

‘Your wish?’ he roared.

Mrs Engell, who stood before him, did not flinch.  The sight and sound and smell of the Devil was nothing compared to what she had been through in the last twenty-three years of marriage …”

(From ‘Detail’)

As a child and then as a teenager I read a lot of books by Malorie Blackman and enjoyed them all.  Her stories are exciting, her characters are genuine, and I always felt that her writing voice was speaking to me as to another adult, rather than talking down to a child.

This collection of short stories is one which will never leave my book shelf.  I’ve re-read them many times and they never get dull.  The first story – ‘Skin Tones’ – begins as an imagining of life after death in a sort of hate-filled Purgatory, and the second –‘Dad, Can I Come Home?’ – is set at the end of a futuristic outer-space war, so you quickly become accustomed to expecting the unexpected and opening your mind to the increasingly inventive stories thrown your way.

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