REVIEW: NOT MY FATHER’S SON BY ALAN CUMMING

EAGIZD

Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming
Dey Street Books (ebook), 2014
304 Pages

Alan’s Website

Amazon (UK)

Amazon.com

BLURB
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 humour, 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.

OPENING SENTENCE
You need a haircut, boy!

REVIEW
I’m a huge fan of Alan Cumming. I think he’s one of this country’s most talented entertainers. I’ve wanted to read this memoir for ages. I reserved this e-book from my library three months ago. I forgot all about it until I got an email a couple of days ago advising it had been automatically checked-out.

Not My Father’s Son is one of the most touching things I’ve ever read. I loved it. I literally couldn’t stop reading it once I’d started and had to force myself to put it down. I liked the way this memoir is structured, flashbacks to events from Alan’s dark childhood alternating with current events including Alan filming the show Who Do You Think You Are? Alan’s father seems to be an awful man, a tyrannical ogre. One of the most touching moments is when Alan writes about not being able to think of a genuinely happy moment because if his father suspected something made his family happy he set out to destroy it. I had a lump in my throat several times while reading this memoir and I did cry a couple of times. Not My Father’s Son is well-written, touching and emotional. I’d highly recommend this memoir.

RATING 

5 STAR RATING

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