Not My Father's Son

Not My Father's Son

A Memoir

eBook - 2014
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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?Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.
Publisher: New York :, Dey Street Books,, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062225085
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Jun 21, 2018

Gripping reading. I was so surprised. Wow. Loved the "Then" and "Now" format which points to how events in our early years shape our futures. It made me think and feel that I could write a book myself! It is approximately an 8th grade reading level - but excellent nonetheless - and hopefully will therefore attract and reach the widest possible audience. It is an extremely uplifting and helpful book.

ArapahoeTiegan Jul 19, 2017

This book gave me so many feels. I ended up finishing it in less than 24 hours - I just couldn't put it down. What a beautiful story of Alan Cumming confronting his past and his family history at practically the same time and ultimately deciding to accept what was, be happy with the truth, and moving forward to live a happy life knowing that all his experiences made him the person he is - a person he is proud to be.

Aug 29, 2016

Loved this book. What a terrible childhood. So glad that he has truimphed and become a briliant actor/producer/ director/writer.

Aug 10, 2016

Very deeply personal story in relation to his father (who wasn't such a nice fellow/father). The story moved quickly and related to his own personal family drama with his father and also what was going on with his search during the show Who Do You Think You Are. I was very shocked by the revelations about his father.

Aug 07, 2016

Reasonably well written (there is a good chance that this memoir was mostly written by the subject himself), and eloquent on Cumming's own feelings and history. Unfortunately the author does not go the extra mile and think deeply about the feelings and histories of his parents, or other people involved. He may be trying to preserve their privacy, but that horse is out of the barn. The tone is uneven -- Cummings stops everything to discuss the Eurovision Song contest -- but there is drama in this story, and even suspense*. I recommend the audio version, which provides more subtle shades of meaning. Cumming's voice flows like butterscotch. *SPOILERS: I half expected that both the Cumming brothers would turn out not to be related to their father, or some other shocking twist. However, this is only real life.

Jul 18, 2016

I love Alan Cumming and this book was a good read, but I wasn't blown away by it. It's mostly a rundown of his involvement in a TV show called Who Do You Think You Are, and his feelings about that mixed in with flashbacks to his childhood. That set-up felt oddly false, like this memoir had just been slapped together to accompany the show, or to use the info that was discovered there to get more bucks for the bang, so to speak.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

A very personal work from an exceptional actor.

Mar 01, 2016

My reading experience of this book is well expressed in the review by Library Journal (above). What I want to add is the humanity that is expressed in Alan's telling. There is a powerful and sweet unfolding of healing, forgiveness and growth to self-love . The clarity and quality of sharing a personal journey of inquiry is very well presented. I am grateful to him for writing it. Found it a page-turner and loved the reading of it, with gratitude for his persistence on a difficult path and generosity in sharing it.

Dec 31, 2015

A quick and easy read, interesting enough.

Oct 01, 2015

I think that Alan Cumming is a fine actor, but I'm not big on memoirs of actors, good or bad. The writing is pleasant, enough, but the writer's conflict with his Father is just not meaty enough to carry the memoir. In my opinion, needless to say.
Okay for a mindless beach or airplane read.

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Sonjahv Aug 14, 2015

What had he actually done? He was just a bit strict and prone to losing his temper, wasn't he? He hit me sometimes, but everyone's dad hits them, don't they? He told me I was useless and worthless, but I have proved him wrong, haven't I? I was okay.

Jul 15, 2015

I have often thought that if Americans were more exposed to this wonder (Eurovision Song Contest) there would not only be a huge surge in their understanding of British wit and irony, but they would perhaps be able to appreciate without shame the value of a good old-fashioned tacky pop song.


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Jul 15, 2015

An exploration of this well known actor's past and early family life. As he has a chance to find out more about his genealogy, he also comes to terms with his fractured relationship with a distant father. Brave, funny, fascinating. Really enjoyed it.

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