My Family and Other Animals

Fantastically written account of a childhood spent on the Greek island of Corfu, where the family moves for a few years when the author is 10. Older brother Larry, 23, an aspiring writer whose pomposity is perfectly captured as he spews advice to everyone but accepts no criticism and is constantly sparring with the ever-patient mother. Brother Leslie, 19, consumed with hunting and guns. Older sister Margo, 18, portrayed as a frivolous maiden obsessing over weight, her clothes, and tanning. The mother’s interests include gardening and cooking. Gerry, the author, scrambles around the island feeding his curiosity about everything in nature, assembling a wide menagerie of pets: turtle, 3 dogs, a huge gull, magpies, goldfish (stolen from the king’s pond by Spiro), snakes.
As an example of the hilarity, Larry invites several friends to visit and neglects to tell his mother until the last minute. She insists he let the hotel know they are coming, and he furiously insists that they all cram into the small villa. As a truce, they move to a larger villa to accommodate the friends. Then they receive notice that a detested aunt wants to come and stay, since they have such a large villa. They move villas again, to something that doesn’t have room.
Tremendous descriptions paired with mouthwatering scenery and wry wit makes this a serious gem.
Rec’d by Jane