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2.91  ·  Rating details ·  173 Ratings  ·  29 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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 13, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Juliana Graham
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Ms Miaow
Aug 11, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Sep 21, 2015 rated it liked it
What is it about well known people and their desire to tell all ?
I'm not sure the average man/woman in the street would ever divulge some of the things that Griff, and others have done.
Does his wife, Jo, whom he obviously loves as his previous book indicates as well as the dedication in this, really want him to tell all about his previous relationships, particularily one of 7 years ?
Clearly the answer is yes, and yes from the girl involved, Charlotte.
I enjoyed most of this memoir, felt sorry for
May 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 23, 2012 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.
Barbara Leonard
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 20, 2008 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!
Lee Hider
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish it. I hoped it would be funny, but I didn't find it so.
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
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.

Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Karen Wickham
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I was a little disappointed by this book. It is the story of Griff Rhys Jones' childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, right up to about the point he first became famous for Not the Nine O'Clock News.

Which is fine, but I was expecting a little more about what happened after he became famous. There are small references to people like Mel Smith and Rory McGrath, but nothing particularly interesting. There is nothing about how he first came to do NTNON. It's just a slow (and at times tedious) r
Nick Davies
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I bought this for thirty pence, I probably wouldn't have picked this up otherwise, because (like a surprising number of people who I have heard express an opinion on the author) I am vaguely irritated by Griff Rhys Jones, despite having sort-of enjoyed a few things he's been involved with on TV.

This was pleasant and interesting, but surprisingly slow reading and dense. It was entertaining without ever being particularly funny, but felt slightly generic - it could've described the life of numerou
Feb 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
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."
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked the way this book explores the vagueness and unreliability of memory and how returning to childhood haunts can be disorientating. However, I found some of the text dense, dull and uninteresting.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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...
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Not as good as I hoped
Lisa Gray-Wright
Jun 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Very interesting. Bit slow towards the end
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
Very bourgeois...
Tony Matthews
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it

Not bad. I preferred his book 'to the Baltic with bob'.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not very funny but a pleasant holiday read
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ha! I know who those people are! Up minster Fun Gang- where are you now?
Mar 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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.
May 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Mel Smith
This was a bit of a warm ham sandwich. If it was a coulour it would be taupe.
May 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
ok re Cambridge life Stephen Fry book of same period much better
Samantha Hastie
rated it it was ok
Aug 21, 2013
Maria Ryder
rated it liked it
Aug 24, 2014
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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
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