Tell us a story

LoveReading is thrilled to announce the launch of The Very Short Story Award 2019! If you think you have a story we'll love, click here to find out more and how to enter:

Find out more

Semi-Detached

by Griff Rhys Jones

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month

LoveReading View on Semi-Detached

Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 28 February 2007.
If you’re a fan of Griff Rhys-Jones and there are thousands of us out there who are, then do read this, if for no other reason than to get more of a handle on him.  Given his comedic talent and intelligence I thought it would be beautifully written but was a little disappointed. However, it doesn’t detract too much as his stories about growing up during the ‘60s and ‘70s provide interesting reading, particularly for those who grew up during that time.  Interesting choice for inclusion in the R&J promotion, but not the one I’d have gone for.

Semi-Detached Synopsis

In 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. 

If you loved this, you might like these...

Bella Figura
Jo Malone: My Story
The Life and Times of a Very British Man
More Dashing Further Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780141012872
Publication date: 18/01/2007
Publisher: Penguin Books
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780141012872
Publication date: 18th January 2007
Author: Griff Rhys Jones
Publisher: Penguin Books
Format: Paperback
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,
Categories:

About Griff Rhys Jones

Griff Rhys Jones was born in 1953. He was educated at Brentwood school and Cambridge University. On the way to becoming a writer he worked as a security guard, a petrol pump attendant and a television star.

More About Griff Rhys Jones

Share this book