[Reading] ➽ Not My Father's Son By Alan Cumming – Horse-zine.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Not My Father's Son

  1. says:

    Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome Settle in for a story that is appalling and entertaining, hopeful and disappointing, reflective and sometimes ephemeral Life is disappointing Forget it It is a good thing that this advice was not followed Remembering seems the thing We have no troubles here Here life is beautiful Ummm, not so much And now, Meine Damen und Herren, Mes Dames et Messieurs, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ich bin eur confrencier, je suis votre compere I am your host the star of our show Cumming in the 1998 production from Fanpop.com You need a haircut, boy My father had only glanced at me across the kitchen table as he spoke but I had already seen in his eyes the coming storm.I tried to speak but the fear that now engulfed me made it hard to swallow, and all that came out was a little gasping sound that hurt my throat even And I knew speaking would only make things worse, make him despise me , make him pounce sooner That was the worst bit, the waiting I never knew exactly when it would come, and that, I know, was his favorite part Alan Cumming, star of stage and screen, notable Cabaret emcee, introducer of Masterpiece Mystery, bluish X man, Smurf voice, and political operative Eli Gold on The Good Wife, among many other memorable characters, was raised on a large estate in Scotland His father, Alex, was the head groundskeeper He was also a mercurial and often cruel and violent parent to both Alan and his older brother Tom, offering ambiguous instructions to the boys and almost always finding the resulting work unsatisfactory, an excuse to justify the punishment that usually followed Cumming s experience as a battered child, coming to terms as an adult with some of the reasons for his harsh upbringing, and attempting to finally, decades later, move past it, is the core of the story in Not My Father s Son But this is not just a story of the father he knew It is also about the grandfather he had never met Mary Darling and Alex Cumming wedding day from the NY TimesIn 2010, Cumming, having attained a certain level of celebrity, was invited by the British show Who Do You Think you Are now in the USA as well to be a subject for their weekly genealogy quest program The research that was intrinsic to this process would cast light on a black hole in his family history As awful as his father was, Mary Darling, Alan s mother, was his angel, always supporting and nurturing him Within limits, of course She did not seem to do a very good job of preventing her husband from tormenting their sons She had last seen her own father, Tommie Darling, when she was eight years old He had supposedly died in a gun accident in Malaysia in 1951 The family knew very little about him, and had few remnants of his existence The TV show would follow that trail and find out what had happened to Tommie There is a link to the entire program in the EXTRA STUFF section below Just before this process began, Alan s father, long estranged, got in touch, passing along a disturbing piece of information.As Eli Gold and Nightcrawler from NothingButMemory.netOne part of this memoir is travelling along and peeling back the layers of the mystery that was Tommie Darling Peter Pan was not involved As researchers for the program unearth and information about Tommie, Alan learns and about not only his family, but sees in his ancestor traits he recognizes in himself Masterpiece Mystery host from the Boston HeraldChapters alternate, or less, between now 2010 and then, the years of Alan s childhood, the new work prodding recollections of the past However, it is not all childhood and now Cumming also tells of his breakdown at age 28 when he was starring in a London production of Hamlet, rehearsing for his breakthrough role as the emcee in the London revival of Cabaret and planning to have a child with his wife There is some detail here Later he tells of meeting his current mate when he was 39 He seems to have packs of friends, who remain mostly nameless, in both London and New York, and who function as scenery, for the most part He offers a few tales from his acting life When I joined Twitter I described myself as Scottish elf trapped inside a middle aged man s body and I still think that s accurate Despite Cumming s elfishness, there is not much comedy in the book Although Cumming the performer does indeed present a pixie ish facade, the only real laugh, at least for me, was when he talked about Patti Smith and a particular vile habit of hers A story about attempting to film against the incessant noise in South Africa during a particularly noisy World Cup is another light moment A youthful masturbatory scene that one thinks might be queasily amusing turns in another, far substantive direction The two parts of this story now seem so clearly connected, mirroring each other perfectly I had lost a father but found a grandfather One of them had never sought the truth and lived a life based on a lie the other s truth was hidden from us because society deemed it unsuitable Both caused strife, and sadness But now, both combined to reinforce for me what I knew to be the only truth there is never shame in being open and honest It was shame that prevented us from knowing what a great man Tommy Darling was And it was shame that made my father treat me and Tom and my mum the way he did Not My Father s Son is a moving and fascinating tale, and probably would not have been told had Cumming not been world famous TV programs do not seek out the likes of you or me to give them permission to travel the world looking into our backgrounds Most of us do not have the resources to delve into our family history so richly It remains to be seen if the book would have been written had the TV program not been made Cumming had indeed been thinking about his childhood for some time, but it was the show that prompted him to move ahead with it What Cumming s talent did was give him a way to get out of a bad situation A lesser light might have dimmed if left in that place One thing the book might do is prompt a bit of reflection Surely there are leafless branches on all our family trees and Cumming s tale of looking into his might encourage some of us to consider looking into some of ours And maybe to look a bit closer at even our known history for a bit of help in explaining how we became the people we are Tom, Mary and Alan at Tommie s graveI have admired Alan Cumming as a performer ever since seeing him in the New York revival of Cabaret back in 1998 I now admire him as a writer as well He has written a moving memoir of a father lost and a grandfather gained It is rich with reflection, insight, pain, and healing Any decent father would be bursting with pride to have a son capable of writing such a book.Review posted 10 17 14Publication date 10 7 14This review has also been posted at Cootsreviews.com EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal and Twitter pagesHe is not on Facebook Some miscreants have posed as him, but those pages have been taken downDefinitely check out his site It is a cornucopia of info.NY Times article on AlanHere is the full Who Do You Think You Are episode from September 2010 Series 7, Episode 9 thanks to Richard Derus for passing along the link, previously removed oops, looks like this link is no longer working When if I find another one that does the trick I will post it here Found another link June 2019 I guess it will work until it doesn t.


  2. says:

    This memoir blew me away I had no idea Alan Cumming had such a miserable childhood After finishing this I wanted to give the guy a hug.I knew little about the book when I downloaded it I chose it because I like Alan Cumming as an actor, and he has that charming Scottish accent, so I thought it would be a good audiobook.Alan was a wonderful narrator, but this memoir was quite dark It tells how Alan s father terrorized and abused him, and of Alan s search to learn about his grandfather, who died under mysterious circumstances in Malaysia.The memoir alternates between flashbacks to Alan s childhood and a bizarre experience that Alan had in 2010 I hesitate to spoil any details, because not knowing the story made it thrilling to read But I will say that Alan s father was skilled at causing chaos and disrupting his family, and he told Alan a secret that made Alan question everything he thought he knew.Thankfully, the book was not all bleak There are some sweet stories about his granny, and amusing stories with Alan s husband, Grant, and Alan is gifted at sharing the humor of a situation One of my favorite of his childhood remembrances was the day he was at a fair and he found himself all alone because his father had disappeared with his mistress Alan suddenly decided to buy himself his own set of dishes I didn t mean to I was thirteen, after all, and not likely to be throwing any dinner parties for quite a while hence But I needed to feel comfort, I needed to know there was a future for me that did not involve my father and a woman who was not my mother running around like schoolchildren trying to hide from me, dashing off to the back of a van carefully parked in a quiet side street I needed to imagine a home where I would not be tormented, where I would be in control, where I would be the one inviting others into my space, and I would be providing for them Up until very recently I still had one of the saucers from that dinner service I think this book would be comforting to people who have had some experience with abuse, because Alan s story is also one of survival, and how he was eventually able to confront his father and break free from him Fans of Alan Cumming would also like it because he shares stories of how he got started in acting, and explains why he has had so many different hair styles over the years Hint it was an act of rebellion against his dad Highly recommended.FAVORITE QUOTE Memory is so subjective We all remember in a visceral, emotional way, and so even if we agree on the facts what was said, what happened where and when what we take away and store from a moment, what we feel about it, can vary radically FOOTNOTE I downloaded Not My Father s Son on Super Bowl Sunday, which is the biggest sports day of the year in America Since I do not like to watch American football, let alone 8 hours of it, I was trawling for a new book to read Alan Cumming s memoir was so compelling that I only paused it once to watch Katy Perry s halftime show I finished the book just as the Super Bowl was ending, so I am calling that a huge win for Team Readers.


  3. says:

    AudiobookAlan Cumming, Scottish and American actor, singer performer, author, and activist.survived the most horrific childhood from brutal emotional and physical abuse His father who would inflict harm on him with no warning This is a very powerful audiobook hard to pull away from It s a suspenseful memoir Alan doesn t hold back He said that his difficult childhood taught him how to act by needing to suppress his own emotions and feelings around his father when he was a little boy He does have some happy memories of his childhood and a special survival closeness with his mother and brother, Tom Alan appeared on the UK show, Who Do You Think You Are A show where famous people came on to find out in depth history about their genealogy Alan asked the show to look into his grandfather who he had not seen since he had been a little boy but Alan gets much than he asked for involving his father and things get very complex and shocking As sad as Alan s childhood was horrible painful experiences and the storytelling moves back and forth between his childhood days and his adult days ultimatelythis is an inspiring empowering story He doesn t live a life as a victim We see clearly from Alan s story the value from digging up the hidden truths We see what suppressing costs a person and the courage it takes to make peace with abuse breakthrough to live life to the fullest Very inspiring for anyone who has suffered from abuse The audiobook is excellent with Alan reading his own book


  4. says:

    Happiness erasedClouded by fear, humiliation, painDarkens my mindIrrationality, rage, violenceAnxious, never relaxShutting down, never speakJoy suppressed, hurts lessTension, humiliationBecome nothingGive nothing awayDarkness, silence, fearNever safeNavigating a minefieldUnhealthyFailings, feeling guiltyWorthless, loath myself I m sorry Silent house, facadesVolatility Denial, never relyUnresolved pain, hurtMy own mind, my own opinionGates open, trickle, floodFill my head, explodeSadness, deep depression Need to be awaySort myself outCocoonFeel, remember, mournGazing, remembering, reliving Horrifying, liberating UnderstandFragile, terrified, vulnerable Raw, painfulTelling, collapsing, weepingAccepted and understoodShame, griefAcknowledgment, apology Mind games, scare tactics Manipulation, intimidation Egotism, madnessFalse assumptions Abuse, justify, despicable Dark secrets, twisted reality, paranoia Truth, openness, commitmentIllogical, impossible to fathomLittle boy, surrealEmpty, nagging acheMarks, closed off, embracingTaken away, shaken up, recalibratedCarry on, no choice, reassessShut the door, dead I m not my father s son


  5. says:

    This is an incredible memoir read by the author with such an engrossing story of his damaged childhood and his ability to rise above it I have always admired Mr Cumming but now I know so much about him and his story is definitely one not to be missed I highly recommend this audiobook.


  6. says:

    Dear Mr Cumming, I feel you deserve a big hug Since the chances of me ever giving you one are beyond nonexistent, I say this Grant, give him a hug for me, please.Sincerely,Wart.Full review to come Maybe.


  7. says:

    The puckishly charismatic actor Alan Cumming The Good Wife, Spy Kids, Cabaret delves into his horrific childhood and uncovers secrets from his family s history in this brave, beautifully written and honest memoir The book is anything but a typical celebrity tell all.Through a BBC genealogy reality TV show called Who Do You Think You Are , Cumming learns about his maternal grandfather who died under mysterious circumstances in his 30s at the same time that his physically and emotionally abusive father reveals he might not be his biological dad.Both events which together have the feel of an ancient Greek drama set in motion a life changing journey that s full of heart, humour and hope Be prepared for some hard to read scenes of abuse Cumming s father Alex, a manager of a Scottish estate, systematically brutalized and belittled both Alan and his older brother Tom when they were younger He also carried on a series of affairs in front of the boys and their mother, Mary Darling Alan suppressed these disturbing memories only after experiencing a nervous breakdown in his early 20s while playing Hamlet did they return.In one of several wise and funny observations, Alan says his difficult childhood with his father claiming he was worthless and his mother saying the opposite prepared him for a career in show business If you believed one, he suggests, you had to believe the other So he learned not to take things personally in the ego crushing industry.The book s time jumping structure takes some time to get used to, but it s a lot interesting than a straightforward chronological approach And there s a lot to pack in, including stories about three generations of family, the odd celebrity anecdote look for the amusing story involving Patti Smith, Marion Cotillard and Mary J Blige in Cannes and mention of Cumming s marriages one to a woman, while in his 20s, the other to a man, while in his 40s.As Cumming s past catches up with his present and he bravely confronts his demons there are some remarkable sequences, which I won t spoil here But I should say that having read Not My Father s Son, I now have so much respect for Cumming as a man and an artist His story is inspiring and life affirming.


  8. says:

    Review of the audio read by Alan Cumming Just a few thoughts I have to get down Audios read by the author are always among my favorites There is an honesty there that I connect with, and that was even true with Alan Cumming s reading of Not My Father s Son This was a deeply personal account of Alan s childhood, his harsh and violent father, his loving mother I loved her name Mary Darling , and his forgotten and misunderstood grandfather This is a solid, heartfelt memoir Well done.


  9. says:

    The scars of an abusive childhood form the backdrop for Alan Cumming s Not My Father s Son I really enjoy memoirs, but I sometimes have to question why I enjoy them Scenes from Cumming s childhood were brutal in addition to outright violence, his father knew just what to do to make sure Cumming and his brother never received approval or validation for anything they did This is not a childhood we would wish on anyone Does Cumming rise above this childhood Does he redeem himself from the horror of living in fear from those who should support and love him When we read memoirs, I think we expect the author to reconcile him herself with their painful past I m not sure that happened entirely While preparing for an episode of the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are, Cumming s estranged and abusive father interjects himself into his son s life While the program was showcasing a mystery in Cumming s family a maternal grandfather who disappeared when he was Cumming was a boy , this other side of his family arguably demonstrated a enduring impact There is certainly power in laying bare such truths Many would prefer such stories to remain buried, but they are the truths by which we live our imperfect lives.


  10. says:

    Sometimes people do you a favour when they drop out of your life Truth.I m struggling with my words here, so I m just going to simplify them Alex Cumming Alan s dad was a raging, abusive asshole Astonishingly, Alan Cumming is not He really ought to be, growing up in Hell, instead he seems to have come through to the other side as a pretty fantastic fella I d love to tell him that in person and give him a hug.Growing up in a situation with a man who could and would blow his top at the slightest provocation, Alan had to learn to act He learned well It was an awful way to learn his craft, but Alan attributes this skill to having to act his way around his dad to learn how not to set him off Alan is not only a great actor, he s a pretty darn good writer as well He has done a good job here moving back and forth through time and pulling the two together in a way that makes sense It s a compelling, emotional, open and honest memoir and I highly recommend it.Yes it s dark, but it also has some funny in it too For yes, being a woman, even one with a penis and for the purposes of drama, really made me feel that women have been coerced into a way of presenting themselves that is basically a form of bondage Their shoes, their skirts, even their nails seem designed to stop them from being able to escape whilst at the same time drawing attention to their sexual and secondary sexual characteristics And I think that has happened so that men feel they can ogle them and protect them in equal measure What pushed this book over the top for me and made it a five star was that I listened to the audio version read by the author Being that he can act and that this is his story, he did it very well and added the perfect amount of emotion at all the right moments.In fact, I could listen to him read Heaven is for Real, front to back, and not gag once..or the phone book, the bible, the menu from Cracker Barrel..he s just that good.


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Not My Father's Son download Not My Father's Son, read online Not My Father's Son, kindle ebook Not My Father's Son, Not My Father's Son c0a9ee385cc2 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 FatherWhen Television Producers Approached Alan To Appear On A Popular Celebrity Genealogy Show In , 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 , The Family Was Informed That He Had Died By His Own Hand, An Accidental ShootingBut This Was Not The Only Mystery Laid Before Alan S Feet His Father, Whom Alan Had Not Seen Or Spoken To For 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 ForeverWith 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 Alan Cumming P HarperCollins Publishers