Gerald Durrell: The Authorised Biography by Douglas Botting
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A thoroughly engaging read; a thick volume that left me sorry it ever had to end – as I could say of Durrell's life too.
I fell in love long ago with the child Gerald and his family, as written of by his adult self in 'My Family and Other Animals' and its sequels. Also I saw some of his TV programs about wildlife conservation. He himself was a very engaging writer, a beautiful wrier in fact, and a man with an admirable mission in life – indeed, a huge vision – which he did his best to realise, and a very good best it was.
Botting, a fellow naturalist, does him absolute justice with his own writing, and also includes long extracts from Gerald's writings – largely his letters and diaries.
I read it as an ebook – which I prefer – text only. I'm sure any illustrations would have been interesting, but photos of the main characters and creatures can be found online. The wonderful words are the thing, and the wonderful story in all its ups and downs. It was a life well lived, albeit unconventionally. I can't recommend the book highly enough.
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