A Zoo in My Luggage begins with an account of Durrell’s third trip to the British Cameroons in West Africa, during which he and his wife capture animals to start their own zoo. Returning to England with a few additions to their family—Cholmondeley the chimpanzee, Bug-eye the bush baby, and others—they have nowhere to put them as they haven’t yet secured a place for their zoo. Durrell’s account of how he manages his menagerie in all sorts of places throughout England while finding a permanent home for the animals provides as much adventure as capturing them. For animal lovers of all ages, A Zoo in My Luggage is the romping true story of the boy who grew up to make a Noah’s Ark of his own. (Goodreads Summary)
No matter how ‘out of date’ his books may be now, Gerald Durrell remains an absolute pleasure to read. Not only does he have a wealth of fascinating experience from which to draw, he has an excellent eye for detail. His style is dry, amusing, and full of that oh-so-English litotes which is so rarely seen in newer writing. I often found myself laughing out loud at his delightful way of phrasing things.
I did find the constant use of pigdin grated a little. However, this was mostly because it sounded like JarJar Binks, and I can hardly blame Gerald Durrell for something that was George Lucas’ fault some 40 years after he wrote this book. I became used to reading it fairly quickly though, and it soon ceased to actively annoy me.
A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell. Published by Penguin, 1970, pp. 191. Originally published in 1960.
N.B. This is an old review written in 2010 and posted on Goodreads and LibraryThing before I started keeping track of all the books I read here at Old English Rose Reads. I’ve decided to keep copies here so that this remains a complete record of my reading since I started reviewing books for my own pleasure.