Title: Not My Father’s Son
Author: Alan Cumming
Goodreads Synopsis: Dark, painful memories can be put away to be forgotten. Until one day they all flood back in horrible detail.
When television producers approached Alan Cumming to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show, he hoped to solve the mystery of his maternal grandfather’s disappearance that had long cast a shadow over his family. But this was not the only mystery laid before Alan.
Alan 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, whom Alan had not seen or spoken to for more than a decade when he 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.
My Thoughts: 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.