Not My Father's Son: A Memoir Hardcover – Oct 7 2014
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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)
From the Back Cover
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 thirteen, 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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a sad yet triumphant book, by a respected artist, and is well worth the read.
This suckerpunch serves as the springboard for "Not My Father's Son: A Memoir," a book-length catharsis for Alan Cumming's myriad family issues. Cumming's memoir of family, abuse and personal upheaval serves two purposes -- to explore his traumatic childhood and how he struggles to most past it, and an exploration of a mysterious figure in his mother's family.
The news that his father may not actually be his father leads Cumming to reflect on his unhappy childhood -- a childhood where he and his brother Tom were mentally and physically abused by their dad, who would fly into screaming, savage rages at the slightest provocation. He also cheated blatantly on their long-suffering mother, who unfortunately did not divorce him until Alan was in his late teens. In the years that followed, an icy estrangement popped up between them.
Determined to know the truth, Cumming decides to get a DNA test to find out if his father's claims are true. And at the same time, he reflects on how this has overshadowed his life -- a breakdown, the failure of his first marriage, and the issues he's still working with. And while waiting for the test results, Cumming begins investing his maternal grandfather, a World War II hero who mysteriously left his family for south-east Asia and was killed under mysterious circumstances.
"Not My Father's Son: A Memoir" is a very non-linear biography -- Cumming bounces like a pinball between about half a dozen time periods.Read more ›
I will not give away the answer to either of these questions, but I recommend you find out by reading this most interesting book. I always enjoyed watching Alan Cumming work, but now I view him with a different kind of respect.
Most recent customer reviews
Great book, honest about his feelings, loved it. Alan is strong and has the love of his family.Published 5 months ago by G. Brady
What a fantastic and fascinating story. So glad that Alan decided to share his life experiences. It's an intriguing read that's hard to put down. Read morePublished 5 months ago by LeyTrish
I have watched this wonderful actor,Alan Cumming for years, but really knew nothing about his history...I found his story very well written, and quite heartbreaking at times ... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Barbara J McInnes
I enjoyed it!
The narrative jumps around to different parts of Alan Cumming's life but it's easy to put all the pieces together and like that it was written in this format, it... Read more