Our expectations were moderate given the fact that we had never heard of the movie, let alone the man behind the story, Gerald Durrell. With Imelda Staunton (aka Dolores Umbridge) as the mother, plus a few familiar faces (it is a BBC production), we figured we couldn't go wrong.
Straight from the Amazon page for the book:
My Family and Other Animals is the bewitching account of a rare and magical childhood on the island of Corfu by treasured British conservationist Gerald Durrell.And if that wasn't enough, from the same page:
'What we all need,' said Larry, 'is sunshine... a country where we can grow.' 'Yes, dear, that would be nice,' agreed Mother, not really listening. 'I had a letter from George this morning - he says Corfu's wonderful. Why don't we pack up and go to Greece?' 'Very well, dear, if you like,' said Mother unguardedly. Escaping the ills of the British climate, the Durrell family - acne-ridden Margo, gun-toting Leslie, bookworm Lawrence and budding naturalist Gerry, along with their long-suffering mother and Roger the dog - take off for the island of Corfu. But the Durrells find that, reluctantly, they must share their various villas with a menagerie of local fauna - among them scorpions, geckos, toads, bats and butterflies.It's a hilarious and innocent adventure, with only the slightest shadow of the unfolding war. Oh it was funny! I'm not sure how I managed to get through life without coming across it sooner. I wish it had been part of the English curriculum at school, but I guess naturalists were never high on the agenda, which is a shame because we need more of them.
I have added "My family and other animals" to my reading list, but time constraints of a stay-at-home mum indicate that it might be a while before I get my hands on the book (and read it cover to cover, probably out loud to Jimmy). In the meantime, the 90 minutes spent watching the 2005 BBC TV movie were very well spent minutes and I highly recommend it. Hopefully we get a chance to watch it again before we return it to the library.