Not My Father’s Son is a memoir written by Alan Cumming, a well-known Scottish actor who has graced various forms of entertainment from film and television, to plays and Broadway. When approached by the producers of the Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC), of course he fully threw himself into the show in hopes it would solve the family’s mystery that revolved around his maternal grandfather’s death. What was unforeseen was that a very similar path of finding out the man who was his grandfather, he was also figuring out the puzzling nature of his father. In a series of events that happened during the filming for the show, Alan had to confront his father and the painful memories of his past, in particular remembering the abuse he had suffered much of his life from his father. Being a successful person, it is hard to imagine the sort of pain that Alan has gone through in his younger years. In his book, the memories of his childhood and younger years are paired with moments in the present time. Showing how each memory and emotion he was feeling during this time were truly reflections of each other.
Not My Father’s Son is quite an emotional roller-coaster. From laughing to feeling utterly heartbroken, it is a memoir that not only focuses on the pain he suffered in life but how he embraced those moments and the ridiculous and heartwarming moments in life to become who he is today. As he mention many times in the book, his childhood became the foundation to his acting career.
I truly enjoyed reading this book. It brought tears, shock and much laughter while reading this book. It is witty and the style of the book is a good reflection on Alan Cumming acting style. It has given me a new perspective on the actor and a new deeper appreciation for him as well. It is surprising to see how someone was able to grow with many emotional setbacks in life, to become not only successful but happy in their life with a past that is haunting and heartbreaking.
Not My Father’s Son is available at the Ocean City Free Public Library.