So during one of Audible’s last big sales I stocked up. Like, bought 7 books stocked up. I couldn’t help myself, my commute is about to triple next week so I’ve needed to increase my collection. It meant trying out a bunch of books that caught my fancy, and this was the first on the list. Alan Cumming will always be Mr. Elton to me thanks to Gwenyth’s Emma adaptation (I enjoy Jeremy Northam as my Mr. Knightley so this is my preferred version to view). I’ve seen him in many other things since then, and am always delighted when he pops up on my screen. He seems a charming man and actor so I decided to try his memoir.
It was not what I expected, but I still enjoyed it immensely, although enjoyed is probably the wrong word. Mr. Cumming tells of different points in his life, bouncing from the past and tales of his father’s abuse (hence enjoy being inaccurate) to the present and his journey on the tv show Who Do You Think You Are? to find out the truth about his mother’s father. Right before he starts the show, his estranged father gets into contact with him to drop the bombshell of claiming that Alan is not his son. His mother had an affair all those years ago, and he’s afraid that the tv show will figure it out. This, for obvious reasons, sends Alan and his brother into a tailspin of DNA testing, and trying to sort out their childhoods of abuse again.
It’s all a wonderful, layered memoir. Mr. Cumming is a moving author, noting his childhood, while at the same time not asking for pity for the abuse he suffered. He’s had a lot of time to process what happened to him, and tells those stories to highlight who his father has always been, and not to get others to judge him. Along with this terrible story is the discovery of who his maternal grandfather was, and that was also tragic, but beautiful. I quite enjoyed going on the adventure with Alan and his film crew from London to France to Malaysia in the end.
Overall this was an excellent memoir. Alan is quite the compelling narrator as well so if you’re looking for an excellent audiobook memoir I would highly recommend.