I am a big fan of Alan Cumming, from his buttoned-down role on The Good Wife to Romy and Michele's High School Reunion to his melodic introduction to my Inspector Lewis and Wallander movies on Masterpiece Mystery. I still remember the first time I saw him--it was in Circle of Friends. The character he played was greasy and despicable, but he was luminous and not to be forgotten.
So I was so glad that I finally took the time to listen to his memoir Not My Father's Son, read by none other than the man himself. And it's fantastic!
This is not the story I expected though. I was anticipating a fairly typical story of childhood to becoming an actor to becoming a star. But the story he tells is so much more than that.
He skips around in time, so you get a little of his childhood, but you also get the story of the time he appeared on the UK series Who Do You Think You Are? While the show has researched his past and is ready to reveal the secrets about the life and death of his mother's father, a decorated WWII war veteran, Alan's own father tells him that he believes Alan is not really his son.
Through DNA tests and crazy work schedules, long discussions with his brother and quiet nights reflecting with his husband and friends, Alan had to summon all his strength to deal with family secrets and to find healing from past trauma.
This memoir is compelling, honest, entertaining, moving, and so beautifully written. It's a loving reflection on the importance of family, of connection, of forgiveness, and of moving forward. It's a pleasure to listen to, and I am honored to get to recommend it!