Audie Award, Autobiography/Memoir, 2015
Dark, painful memories can be like a cage. Or, in the case of Alan Cumming, they can be packed away in a box, stuck in the attic to be forgotten. Until one day the box explodes and all the memories flood back in horrible detail. Alan Cumming grew up in the grip of a man who held his family hostage, someone who meted out violence with a frightening ease, who waged a silent war with himself that sometimes spilled over onto everyone around him. That man was Alex Cumming, Alan's father.
When television producers approached Alan to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, he enthusiastically agreed. He hoped to solve a mystery that had long cast a shadow over his family. His maternal grandfather, Tommy Darling, had disappeared into the Far East after WWII. Alan's mother knew very little about him - he had been a courier, carrying information between battalions on his motorbike. The last time she saw her father, Alan's mother was eight years old. When she was 13, the family was informed that he had died by his own hand, an accidental shooting.
But this was not the only mystery laid before Alan's feet. His father, whom Alan had not seen or spoken to for more than a decade, reconnected just before filming for Who Do You Think You Are? began. He had a secret he had to share, one that would shock his son to his very core and set into motion a journey that would change Alan's life forever.
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 the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.
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An unforgetable, honest, inspirational story!
Listening to Alan Cumming relate his own story made the telling of abuse, a difficult period of revelation and the triump of spirit; learning to love himself without a father's love; and the love of his brother, mother and partner left a footprint in my heart and soul-forever! Thank-you!Your honesty will heal other victims of abuse!
I was in the moment of rawness, pain, joy and searching from beginning to end. He truly gave us a window into his soul! He stilll managed to provide moments of joy, laughter and gratitude. I hope the book and the reading/telling of the book eased his life and childhood pain. I am glad he found happiness, love and self worth! I will listen and watch any performance he gives! His lovely scottish lilt was musical, with a wide scale of varied, emotional nuances.
I listened while I drove for 30-60 minutes at a time. I could not wait to get back to the story. However, I am not sure one could endure all the pain and emotion in one sitting. similar to War and Peace. You have to take a break to continue taking in all the human pathos and emotion! Thank you a million times for the courage you had in bringing your story to print and in also performing the book!
I first knew of Alan Cumming from the Good Wife, a politician with a hidden layer of leprochaun and mischief with sparkling, beautiful eyes. He is one of my favorite characters. then I saw his performance on the Tony's of cabaret, so I started looking him up and found out about the book and several of the plays/movies he was written, directed and starred in and about this book. So I started reading and watching all of his work available! I too had a father who created an atmosphere of mental, psychological abuse and Alan was spot on in his descriptions and a life journey to become and believe one is okay! Thanks!
Alan Cumming's FAMILY history
I am a huge fan of Alan Cumming and believe he is extraordinarily talented.
I had hoped that his memoir would have been focused exclusively on HIS life, as opposed to his maternal history. I was bored with the number of chapters devoted to his epiphanies about the Grandfather he never knew, and his general characters comparisons.
I feel that I am being mean or rude by giving a less then stellar review. However, I make my decision on how I use my credits on the opinions of others, and appreciate honest opinions. With that said, I did not find the memoir particularly interesting or insightful. In fact, I found it to be rather boring. (My apology to Mr. Cumming. Writing a memoir is an extremely brave endeavor).