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Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan…

Not My Father's Son: A Memoir (2014)

by Alan Cumming

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8427116,258 (4.08)169
  1. 00
    All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Both explore a relationship with an abusive father.

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» See also 169 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
Alan Cumming has a lovely voice and his memoir of a time he was digging into his past was interesting and only sometimes a little too drawn out. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
This is my first foray into the celebrity memoir, and I have to say, I couldn't have chosen better. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Cumming and I shared a similar UNpleasant childhood. Even though I know many people have dealt with a cold-blooded, authoritarian father, it seemed refreshing to know that a famous person dealt with it too. He also deals with it in a realistic, matter-of-fact way--- lacking the sensationalism of say, Mommie Dearest. Good for Cumming (and for all of us) for becoming a better, stronger person in the end. I really liked his having investigated all of the skeletons in the familial closet. The story of the grandfather was intriguing albeit tragic for the family. I liked that the "my celebrity life" stuff was kept to a minimum. I probably wouldn't have listened to it if there was more to it. It was a really good book, I highly recommend it to fans of Cumming as well as those of us who have dealt with family "issues". ( )
  oacevedo | Apr 9, 2019 |
As someone who had an overall very happy childhood, this was brutal to read. The author speaks quite plainly about the physical, mental and emotional abuse that he suffered at the hands of his father. This story of his childhood is intertwined with the investigation of his maternal grandfather's fate in Malaysia and his father's stunning claim that Alan isn't his son. The structure makes sense in that there are plenty of parallels between each thread of the story, and the whole of it shows how covering up family secrets can lead to more pain in the future. The writing is fluid and conversational, and I found myself being pulled along until the very end. ( )
  duchessjlh | Dec 26, 2018 |
Very honest memoir about his relationship with his angry, abusive father. Audiobook is the way to go with this one. Not only is his voice great to listen to, but you can also feel the real emotion that motivated him to write this. The story of his father and the struggles to reconcile towards the end of his father’s life is paired with some discoveries about the mystery behind the death of his maternal grandfather. Well-worth the listen. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
this review is for the audiobook edition, narrated by the author.

i delight in all that is alan cumming. even so, i had held off on his memoir because i knew it shared some difficult times with an abusive father. while cumming's story was sadly relatable, his buoyancy and resilience were entirely evident. i adored cumming's love for his mother 'mary darling' - what kind, respectful, loving relationships he has with both his mum and brother, tom (and tom's family; as well as a wonderful relationship with his partner, grant). hearing the book in cumming's voice was fantastic -- though the narration style felt tinged with aggression (something that is understandable, yet i found surprising for some reason), there were some tender, quieter moments which were well conveyed. there is very little about cumming's celebrity; it is mentioned here and there but this is not a hollywood tell-all. there is, however, one particular story about patti smith which had me kind of grossed out. (view spoiler) for those who prefer a linear timeline - this memoir is not that. cumming jumps back and forth between his childhood/adolescence and 2009-ish, alternating chapters throughout.

overall, this is memoir was insightful and self-aware and made for an excellent listen. ( )
  Booktrovert | Nov 5, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
added by Milesc | editThe Observer, Damian Barr (Nov 16, 2014)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Cummingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kain, AmandaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plunkett, ShannonDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
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For Mary D, the two Toms, and Grant Shaffer
First words
You need a haircut, boy!
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Disambiguation notice
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
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 Alan's father Alex Cumming.

Alex was the dark, enigmatic heart of the Cumming family life. But he was not the only mystery. Alan's maternal grandfather, Tommy Darling, had disappeared to the Far East after the Second World War. The last time Alan's mother saw her father she was eight years old. When she was thirteen, the family was informed that he had died in an accidental shooting.

Curious to explore this second mystery, Alan committed to filming an episode of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Then out of the blue, his father, who Alan and his brother had not seen or spoken to for more than a decade, called. He had a secret he had to share, one that would shock his son to his very core and set in motion a journey that would change Alan forever.

At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story about embracing the aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062225065, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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.

» see all 8 descriptions

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