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Semi-Detached by Griff Rhys Jones
  

Semi-Detached

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Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 28 February 2007.
If youâre 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 doesnât 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 Iâd have gone for.

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Synopsis

Semi-Detached by Griff Rhys Jones

In Semi-Detached, Griff relives freezing bus journeys to school and the impulsive stealing of that half-a-crown from Charlie Humeâs 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. Griffâs devoted parents Gwynneth and Elwyn gave him love, security and plenty of asparagus soup from a fake wicker vacuum flask with a plastic top. Griffâs 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 familyâs 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 hadnât 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, Griffâs self-deprecating, elegant, affectionate prose reveals a little bit better how on earth you got from there to here.

About the Author

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th January 2007

Author

Griff Rhys Jones

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Publisher

Penguin Books

Format

Paperback

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
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ISBN

9780141012872

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