Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Semi-Detached” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


2.82 of 5 stars 2.82  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Semi-Detached is Griff Rhys Jones's own account of his ordinary suburban childhood; of adolescent scraps and scrapes; of coming of age in the 1960s and 70s; of family and university life; and of times lost or at least fuzzy around the edges.

It's a powerful, moving and above all touchingly funny memoir of how one of the nation's most popular comics and personalities got fro
Paperback, 324 pages
Published 2007 by Penguin (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Semi-Detached, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Semi-Detached

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 224)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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 experie
Juliana Graham
Quite good, with certain sections really conveying the time Griff was remembering. However, very occasionally I found the narrative a little disjointed and I found myself re-reading a couple of pages to work out how the hop from one era to another had occurred.

I definitely enjoyed some parts of this book more than others, which on average makes it a 3, but it was nearly a 2! A couple of very funny bits and some parts that really rang true saved it from an 'OK' rating.
Oct 09, 2008 Martin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Griff's fans and anyone who admits to remembering the 70s
Being an exact contemporary of Griff Rhys Jones I was able to relate easily to some of the trials and tribulations of his formative years. This book, however, comes over as being something of a curate's egg. While it is a warm, witty and honest memoir, Griff's habit of slipping seamlessly from the 1970s to the 2000s often left me confused and needing to backtrack a few paragraphs. Despite this I found it to be a rewarding and worthwhile read.
Ms Miaow
There are a few funny moments in here,but certainly not a laugh a minute as I hoped.
I enjoyed the first half of the book,a nostalgic look back at his childhood,and struck a cord with a lot of people I'm sure.
But the second half of the book,the uni years was just dull,dull,dull,and actually incomprehensible in places with his habit of switching between eras without warning.

Also it has to be said that Griff comes across as a not particularly likeable,self centered character,the part where he had a
Mar 02, 2012 Paula added it
Loved the first half, partly because I know the places he was talking about. Once he got to Cambridge and started doing the student thing I lost interest. Anyone who's been to university has had the same experiences, and reading about the idiocy of someone else soon loses its appeal. Overall, not as funny as I had hoped.
Dec 08, 2008 Marie added it
Shelves: can-t-finish-it
Haven't yet finished this one, despite having started it yonks ago. A very disjointed text which I'm finding difficult to plough through. Goodness, he's self-indulgent!
Barbara Leonard
Finding this rather difficult to get into. Thought it would be funnier. Some period detail that sparks nostalgia, but not sure I'll finsih it very quickly.
Lee Hider
Mildly amusing at times but did seem to drag as he progressed to Uni. Couldn't help but read this book using his voice in my head.
Didn't finish it. I hoped it would be funny, but I didn't find it so.
yeah, this was definitely semi detached, a bit like bob dylan's chronicles part 1, this definitely wasn't quite a straight biography. I did like it though, he spoke about all the things he hated his dad making him do, and then later how he subsequently did them himself as an adult. There was a wistfulness and wisdom and compassion about this book that i liked. It still didn't really say that much and wasn't that long but it was an interesting way to write, and he did deal with, examine, his rela ...more
A big fan of Griff Rhys Jones, I was looking forward to reading this and exploring how the talented Welsh actor and comedian made it into television, established Talkback Productions and went above and beyond with his various other exciting and varied pursuits.

Disappointingly, however, Semi-Detached only covers Rhys Jones’ childhood, and there’s the distinct feeling reading it of sitting down with an elderly grandparent and listening to them tell you about how it was in their day.

Alison Clayton-smith
Enjoyed this account of his early life. I particularly liked the way he kept relating back to the present, drawing the threads together with honesty. Lots of touching, wistful moments, along with the embarrassing stuff.
Almost certainly the dullest book I've ever read. I persisted because I genuinely expected it to get better. It didn't. Reads about as well as the autobiography of any schoolkid you've never met.

A note: the central conceit of the title is wrong, too. Manfred Mann's hit record which is referenced by the author at the start of the book was actually called "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James."
Warm, affectionate, wistful and slightly regretful.

Honest and, as the title implies, slightly detached from his former self.

When you're sad that the book is nearly over, then you're sure you've just read a good book!

Roll on the next volume of his memoirs...
Some nice touches about 'where's the time gone? Who was I?' but Griff doesn't give anything away. He's my sort of age, went to Cambridge, had a doctor-daddy background. He claims to have lucked into play production.
I will re-assess, but after a chapter I was just very bored. Hopefully when I re-read in a week or 2 it'll get better.
Ha! I know who those people are! Up minster Fun Gang- where are you now?
May 10, 2007 Lara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mel Smith
This was a bit of a warm ham sandwich. If it was a coulour it would be taupe.
ok re Cambridge life Stephen Fry book of same period much better
Tony Matthews

Not bad. I preferred his book 'to the Baltic with bob'.
Lisa Gray-Wright
Very interesting. Bit slow towards the end
Not very funny but a pleasant holiday read
Not as good as I hoped
Very bourgeois...
Kelli marked it as to-read
Feb 10, 2015
Pol added it
Feb 04, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Farm: The Story Of One Family And The English Countryside
  • My Favourite People 1978 to 1988
  • Halfway To Hollywood: Diaries 1980 to 1988 (Palin Diaries, #2)
  • Inside Little Britain
  • The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft
  • The Testament of Gideon Mack
  • Love in the Present Tense
  • Memoirs Of A Fruitcake
  • The Winter House
  • A Liar's Autobiography: Volume VI
  • 'Rommel?' 'Gunner Who?': A Confrontation in the Desert
  • December
  • You've Had Your Time: Second Part of the Confessions
  • Village Matters (Tales from Turnham Malpas #3)
  • The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm, #1)
  • Speaking in God's Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women
  • Mrs Fyttons Country Life
  • The God Squad
Griffith "Griff" Rhys Jones is a Welsh comedian, writer, actor, television presenter and personality. Jones came to national attention in the early 1980s for his work in the BBC television comedy sketch shows Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones along with his comedy partner Mel Smith. With Smith, he founded television production company Talkback Productions, now part of RTL Group. H ...more
More about Griff Rhys Jones...
The Nation's Favourite: Poems The Nation's Favourite: Comic Poems The Nation's Favourite: Twentieth Century Poems To The Baltic With Bob Insufficiently Welsh

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »