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Semi-Detached [Kindle Edition]

Griff Rhys Jones
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £3.49 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Semi-detached Griff relives freezing bus journeys to school and the impulsive stealing of that half-a-crown from Charlie Hume’s money box; sitting outside Butlins at Clacton (longing to be inside and on the Waltzer instead of stranded on the pebbles with his dad); hazy summer afternoons spent with feral gangs in the woods, or storming the mud flats singing extracts from the Bonzo Dog Dooh Dah Band. The memories are like Mivvis, frozen and fuzzy at the edges, but a sweet jam of pure recollected goo at the centre.

From birth to the BBC, this is a story of a confident middle child. Griff’s devoted parents Gwynneth and Elwyn gave him love, security and plenty of asparagus soup from a fake wicker vacuum flask with a plastic top. Griff’s father Elwyn, a retiring hospital doctor with a penchant for sweeties and ice-cream, loathed the tedium of English social ritual and hid behind his family and woodwork. From tree houses to boats, puppets to tables, he sawed and hammered his way into his family’s affections.

Griff left the bosom of his loving, irascible, eccentric, solid, all engulfing family for the firm embrace of real life; via the Upminster Fun Gang, the Direct Grant System and Party Sevens, losing his virginity down the back of a bunk in a twenty nine foot yacht, discovering the romantic advantages of shared babysitting engagements and the drawbacks of infatuation with identical twins.

If he hadn’t moved around so much as a child, would Griff have felt less like a voyeur, looking in on the lighted window across the square, the Georgian house glowing in the sun, the clink of glasses and the bray of public school certainties? Would he be able to tuck in his own shirt? Would he be fully detached?

A laugh-aloud buffet of baby boomer Britain, Griff’s self-deprecating, elegant, affectionate prose reveals a little bit better how on earth you got from there to here.

Product Description

About the Author

Griff Rhys Jones was born in 1953. He was educated at Brentwood School and Cambridge University. He has worked as a security guard, a petrol-pump attendant and a television star and has written for hundreds of radio and television programmes, and in the press. His To the Baltic with Bob was published by Penguin in 2003.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 988 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0718146263
  • Publisher: Penguin (18 Jan. 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9A86
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #213,998 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric memoir 26 Nov. 2006
My wife bought this book as she's always had a soft spot for Mr Rhys Jones, and enjoyed it so much she made me read it too. We don't usually like the same books but I loved this. I didn't think I had much in common with the comedian/television presenter, but all baby-boomers will find this book filled with recollections of growing up in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies that resonate with their own experiences. Those teenage parties! Not a `celeb biog' (it even stops before he has found fame and fortune) but more of an atmospheric memoir of what seems almost like a lost age now. I thought it was really well written, and funny too. If you liked Blake Morrison's book about his father a few years ago, or Nigel Slater's Toast, then you'll like this. Its been chosen by Richard & Judy now, so we're not the only ones.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You too Griff? 23 Mar. 2007
Previously I thought that nobody could have had a postwar childhood as boring as my own. I was wrong, as Mr Rhys-Jones' description of his youth in the home counties makes my own sixties-seventies Derbyshire variety look a thrill a minute. I now realise that, wherever Griff's talent springs from, it isn't the product of his early family life. Reading his rambling commonplace reflections on the mundane events of his middle-class upbringing was excellent for sending me to sleep at bedtime, but not, sadly, for much else. His lengthy descriptions of boating holidays and bus-rides through Brentford acted quicker than an anaesthetic for me. Don't buy this book expecting much in the way of humour or excitement; there isn't any.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Growing Up in the 50's 60's and 70's 2 May 2008
As Griff Rhys Jones is just a year younger than me, I was looking forward to a read full of reminders of my own childhood. At first I was not disappointed with humorous tales of family life, I found myself laughing out loud!
Unfortunately I found it started to drag somewhat especially after he went to university. Being a contemporary I carried on to the end, otherwise I do not think I would have done.
My conclusion therefore is that unless you are going to be able to relate to any of his experiences, you will probably not find this worth reading.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming Memoir 29 Dec. 2011
I bought Semi-Detached quite a while ago and only recently got around to reading it, but I'm afraid it really wasn't worth the wait. I am generally quite a fan of autobiographies, and living in Cambridge the fact that Griff Rhys Jones went to university here meant it particularly appealed. However, I don't feel I am exaggerating when I say that nothing really happens in this book. Whilst Griff Rhys Jones is good at evoking the feel of the 70s, simply referring to bad hair and bad clothes is not interesting enough to make this a good book or an engaging memoir. Even the university memories held no interest for me.

I didn't hate this book - I just found it to be completely unengaging and a bit of a waste of time. Memories are flitted over with no real substance to them and the constantly shifting timeline was quite irritating. It was quite simply dull, which is a shame as I imagine Griff Rhys Jones has plenty of funny and engaging memories to share. Quite why he decided not to include these in this book is beyond me.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fully detached 30 Nov. 2007
I'll own up here. I rated 'Across the Baltic with Bob' by Griff as the most boring and pointless book I'd read in the last two years. Yet I still picked this one up.

Why, oh why?

He kicks off with a nicely judged introduction to his father which set my hopes sky high. From then on, it doesn't gradually go downhill, it plummets and stays there at the bottom, writhing in agony.

It's not funny. It gives you no feeling for the characters: they merge into a mass of uninteresting lather. The timescales are also confusing: in the space of one page he'll jump from 1965 to 2003 to 1965 to 2005, leaving you in a muddle. Speaking of timescales, there's a moment when he talks about himself as being seven when dates suggest that he's thirteen - at that point I checked in case it was a novel I was reading instead of an autobiography.

There are moments of thoughtfulness, but I'm afraid that I'd rather lost the will to live by these points. There's also a nice moment when he revisits a childhood haunt and cheerfuly rediscovers the places he knew, only to find that he's in completely the wrong place; but having said that, a superior writer would have made hay with that opportunity.

Does he remember his Dad with affection? How about his Mum? I've no idea. The way he describes them ricochets so wildly around that I can't work it out.

It's also badly edited (or proof-read), particularly on the topic of music. For example, to name only two from over a dozen glaring mistakes, it should be Procul Harum, not Harem; and the Bonzo Dog Band covered a song called 'Hunting Tigers (Out in India)', not 'Hunting Gibbons'.

I can't say that he can't put two words together, because Griff Rhys Jones is three words put together. But he gets a 1 for two reasons: you can't give lower, and the snoring father tale is the best bit in the book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow, rambling, confusing 13 Jan. 2014
By Garynd
I am not a massive fan of Griff Rhys Jones but having recently read 'The Fry Chronicles' I thought it would be interesting to read and compare the autobiography of another Oxbridge, circa 1960 born, comedian. Oh dear ! Compared to Mr. Fry's effort, Mr. Rhys Jones's offering is laboured and lacking. Its shallow, not particularly well written and confusingly jumps backwards and forwards between the 1970's and the 2000's. Griff's life pre-Cambridge does not appear to have been particularly exciting and indeed whilst at Cambridge it does not appear to have improved a great deal. Any people that he met are referred to only briefly, apart from two girlfriends who he admits he treated in a most ungentlemanly way. All-in-all this is a poor effort and only goes to show that if your past contains nothing to write about then don't write an autobiography.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the Griff!
about a certain generation.....if you come from it you will enjoy it too
Published 17 days ago by skitzitilby
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
good read
Published 4 months ago by ballonist
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 9 months ago by M.P.B.
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like biographies and Griff you'll like it
If you like biographies and Griff you'll like it, throw in the fact you have Welsh heritage you understand and like it!
Published 10 months ago by Dafydd ap Gwilym
3.0 out of 5 stars Bland
OK, but he seems to be exorcising something from within. So a rather self-indulgent book - as are all auto-biographies, of course!.
Published 14 months ago by P. Saunders
4.0 out of 5 stars Library
I got this from the library but had to keep renewing it as my husband wanted to read it but was ill. So I bought him one which he has just finished.
Published 21 months ago by Mrs. Pamela Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
I really enjoyed this and can't understand, like others, why it has got a number of poor reviews. It helps if you grew up in the 60s and 70s I suppose. Read more
Published on 12 Aug. 2011 by slow joe
1.0 out of 5 stars A mind-numbingly boring account of a not very interesting man
I am not a particular fan of the author, actually I'm quite unimpressed with his brand of humour, but I thought I'd read this book to see how interesting his background was. Read more
Published on 6 Sept. 2008 by Dora Brown
2.0 out of 5 stars Griff Rhys Jones is stuck between comedy and nostalgia and doesn't...
Griff Rhys Jones' autobiography of his early life (up until he left University) fell between two stools for me. Read more
Published on 16 Mar. 2008 by Mr. Stuart Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent autobiography at last
After reading the rather lukewarm reviews on here, I started reading this book with a degree of trepidation. Read more
Published on 23 Feb. 2008 by L. Marshall
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