Review: Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming

Not My Father's Son: A Memoir - Alan Cumming

Content Warning: involves scenes of child physical abuse

 

Alan Cumming's memoir is an unflinching look at the physical, mental, and emotional toll that child physical abuse takes on the child later in life and how one man went about healing from the abuse. I really liked how the book was structured; each chapter is set up in a then/now format, so there specific moments highlighted and how that moment resonates in the now.

 

The book follows three storylines, all with the theme of fatherhood: Alan's father/abuser is dying of cancer and drops a bombshell on Alan and his brother that they must figure out if it is true or not; Alan's time on the BBC documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? as he explores the life of his maternal grandfather; and how his first marriage ended after his wife and him explored the idea of parenthood and his mental breakdown. All while talking of difficult topics such as the abuse and his mental health low points, there are lines of sparkling wit that Cumming is known for to lighten the mood a touch (OMG, that Patty Smith/Mary J. Blige/Harvey Weinstein story was hilarious!). Cumming is honest in that he sought out professional therapy and that his healing was in a constant state of progress throughout the highs/lows of his career.

 

Definitely recommend.