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Not My Father's Son
Cover of Not My Father's Son
Not My Father's Son
A Memoir
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"Equal parts memoir, whodunit, and manual for living . . . a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us who we are, and how we make ourselves." —Neil GaimanIn...
"Equal parts memoir, whodunit, and manual for living . . . a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us who we are, and how we make ourselves." —Neil GaimanIn...
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Description-

  • "Equal parts memoir, whodunit, and manual for living . . . a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us who we are, and how we make ourselves." —Neil Gaiman

    In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career.

    A beloved star of stage, television, and film—"one of the most fun people in show business" (Time magazine)—Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father—a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.

    When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.

    With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as a film, television, and theater star. At times suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny, Not My Father's Son will make readers laugh even as it breaks their hearts.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Alan Cumming's many awards for his stage and screen work include the Tony, Olivier, BAFTA, and Emmy. He is the author of two children's books, a book of photographs and stories, a novel and the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Not My Father's Son. He is a podcaster (Alan Cumming's Shelves) and an amateur barman (NYC's Club Cumming). Find out more at alancumming.com, @alancumming on Twitter, and @alancummingsnaps on Instagram.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 28, 2014
    Scottish actor Cumming struggles to reconcile with his troubled past in this moving, if oddly structured, memoir. Alternating between three time periods—“Then,” “Now,” and a span of several months in 2010—Cumming recounts his life on a rural Scottish estate under the brutal reign of his abusive father, Alex. Equally violent toward Cumming’s older brother, Tom, Alex was a defining force in Cumming’s life, with the emotional and physical scars of his beatings affecting Cumming long after he left home for drama school at age 17. In a parallel narrative, Cumming recounts his experiences as a participant on Britain’s Who Do You Think You Are?, a television program on which celebrities explore their pasts, often going so far as to get genetic tests. Even as issues closer to home involving Cumming’s ties, or lack thereof, to his father arise (as the book’s title might suggest), Cumming is determined to delve into his family history: and find out what happened to his maternal grandfather, Lieutenant Tommy Darling, who served his country in WWII and ended up suspiciously dead several years later in Malaysia, where he was a member of the police force. While the particulars Cumming learns about Darling are striking and memorable, this really is a case where the journey is more important than the destination.

  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2014

    Describing growing up the youngest of two in rural Scotland under an abusive father, multiaward-winning actor Cumming (The Good Wife; Cabaret) blends powerfully disturbing childhood trauma with his contemporary search for ancestral clarity as he recounts an enigmatic maternal grandfather named Tommy Darling, a well-respected Scottish servicemen whose disappearance, and demise, had always been a family mystery. Lifelong curiosity leads Cumming on an illuminating path from Scotland to Malaysia as a participant on the renowned television series Who Do You Think You Are? The episodic nature of the text provides the perfect framework for Cumming's discoveries about his grandfather, which include prestigious awards and stunning acts of valor. Drama continues to unfold when his father reveals an explosive secret that turns the entire family on its head. Cumming's dry wit transitions effortlessly to the page, eliciting laughter one moment and gut-wrenching discomfort the next--anecdotes praising the Eurovision Song Contest sit easily alongside dark recollections of being subjected to his father's inexplicable rages. VERDICT While the "then and now" structure, which features frequent chronological shifts, might seem choppy, the memoir sculpts an insightful, relentless examination of Cumming's hardships, alongside keen observations about the continuing effect of abuse on his life. A moving read that fans of the man and of memoirs won't want to put down. [See Prepub Alert, 4/21/14.]--Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    September 15, 2014
    The Tony Awardwinning, Scottish-born actor and openly gay bon vivant is not your typical Hollywood memoirist, having previously penned both fiction (2002's Tommy's Tale: A Novel of Sex, Confusion, and Happy Endings) and nonfiction (2013's May the Foreskin Be with You: Why Circumcision Makes No Sense and What You Can Do about It). With his third book, Cumming eschews the empty calories of celebrity fluff to share the deeply personal but ultimately life-affirming truth of his harrowing childhood and fascinating family history. Chapters focus on three distinct time periods: (1) recalling his dark past as a victim of unspeakable physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his troubled father; (2) detailing his current success, resilience, and capacity for forgiveness; and (3) delving into the mysteries surrounding the heroic life of his maternal grandfather, as profiled in 2010 on a popular British celebrity genealogy series (Who Do You Think You Are?). Cumming's eccentric style and assured voice shine brightly on every page, while escorting readers and fans on a memorable journey that is simultaneously insightful, brave, moving, and witty.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

  • Harlan Coben, author of New York Times bestsellers Missing You and Six Years

    Alan Cumming's moving memoir NOT MY FATHER'S SON is a beautiful book—sad, funny, haunting, surprising, suspenseful, gut-wrenching, endearing. It will linger inside of you long after you turn the final page. — Harlan Coben, author of New York Times bestsellers Missing You and Six Years

    "Equal parts memoir, whodunnit, and manual for living, NOT MY FATHER'S SON is a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us what we are, and how we make ourselves. I was completely sucked in." — Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods and Ocean at the End of the Lane

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