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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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    All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Both explore a relationship with an abusive father.

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» See also 167 mentions

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I picked this up during an audiobook sale, recognizing the author from The Good Wife. To be honest, this felt a little scattered and I think this actually would have been a better book, however, I did enjoy listening to it, accent and all.

Alan is very open about his childhood and his struggle with his relationship with his father and growing up in an abusive home, he talks about how that affected him later and life. He does a great job leading us on the journey, jumping between points of his life to fully flesh out the reasoning and emotions behind each situation. Not only that but he does it in a way that you get to experience the big moments with him. I found myself gasping, jaw dropping and holding my hand to my chest in many situations. The almost fictional feel greatly enhanced the emotional investment in his story and I wanted to hug him and cheer him on many times.

Being somebody I watched primarily on TV in a law show, I was really excited to find out how diverse his characters are and now have a list of things I will be checking out in the future. ( )
  Kylana | Aug 13, 2018 |
Actor Alan Cumming was brutally beaten and berated as a child by the person most responsible for his safety and upbringing, his father. Interwoven with the tale of his abuse is the story of his grandfather, Tommy Darling who just didn't come home one day. WWII hero, Tommy left his daughter and 3 sons to live and die in Malay without explanation. When a reality TV show wants to explore Tommy Darling, Alan jumps on board to find out what really did happen to his grandfather. The two story entwine between the then and the now to tell the tale of Cumming's abuse and salvation. ( )
  phoenixcomet | Jun 28, 2018 |
Two words-His. Voice. I want to use his voice as a blanket and wrap it around my shoulders as I snuggle on my couch. Seriously, this man's voice is magic. He is one of the best readers I've heard in quite a while-the humor, warmth, and occasional bouts of sadness in his voice were palpable (and you can't say it's just because he's an actor-I actually did NOT like Johnny Depp as an audio-book reader which shocked me).

This shouldn't distract from his story, because it's a heartbreaking one. He had a truly horrific childhood. Listen to this, it's amazing. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
More reviews at TheBibliophage.com.

In Not My Father’s Son, Alan Cumming writes a moving tale of intersecting lives. One of them is his own. He tells how his father and grandfather affected him, in vastly different ways. I listened on audio, and I’d recommend hearing Cumming tell his own story. His Scottish accent and acting chops add immeasurably to the telling.

Cumming grew up with an abusive father, so listening to his stories was tough. Much as the childhood sections are harrowing, the way his father continues to manipulate his grown sons is unconscionable.
Cumming also traces the process of recording a TV show about finding the true story of his maternal grandfather’s life. He shares the amazement he feels about the similarities between his own life story and his grandfather’s. They are parallel, but also vastly different.

Learning about our genealogy is a personal type of mystery tale. The suspense comes from research documents, DNA, and lots of digging. Cumming takes what might seem dry and boring and adds an emotional, human perspective. Once I started listening, I couldn’t put it down. It was, in fact, captivating.

Now that I’ve read this memoir, I want to track down the genealogy show he was filming during the book. It’ll be interesting to see the locations he discusses and visits in the book, as well as his reactions to the information.

Another topic Cumming explores is what being famous can bring into your life. For example, reporters calling at the most inopportune moments. But he also uses his desire to do good in the world to benefit the LGBTQIA communities and to raise awareness of abuse. Kudos to him for that!

I admire Alan Cumming as a writer, actor, and man working to understand his place in the world. It’s a universal struggle that’s relatable, yet unique. This is a memoir I may listen to again—it’s just that good! ( )
  TheBibliophage | Mar 20, 2018 |
I'm a huge fan of Alan Cumming. Everything I've seen of him, he has appeared to have a big heart and would be a kind person. I think it would be fun to have a beer or pint with him. This book really hurt my heart. It saddened me that Alan went through the abuse he did with his father. No child should have to go through what he and his brother went through. To a point the abuse broke Alan yet he got through it and is stronger for getting through it. This is a wonderful book to read to understand what it's like to have an abusive father.

I listened to the audio book and I'm so glad I did because Alan read it himself. I loved having him in the car with me. ( )
  MHanover10 | Feb 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (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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For Mary D, the two Toms, and Grant Shaffer
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You need a haircut, boy!
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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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