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Not My Father's Son: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Whether you know him from Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion or The Good Wife, Cumming will charm you with his revealing and honest memoir. Coming from a childhood of abuse, Cumming decides at an early age to reject shame and stand his ground. In the book he jumps from his boyhood in Scotland to uncovering mysteries of his family lineage as an adult. Written simply and beautifully, the narrative of this memoir kept me entranced.

— Sara

The dramatic family life of this engaging, eccentric actor is probably know by very few. Not My Father’s Son
exposes childhood wounds and universal themes—of family bonds, shame,
anxiety and mental illness, and healing. Cumming asks (and answers, with
satisfying closure) if we are inevitably trapped in—or blessed by—the
patterns of our parents. He champions self-discovery through a touching
journey into his heritage. And as we all know, he’s incredibly funny.

— Julia

This memoir is chock-full of twists and turns as it chronicles his search of two distinct yet parallel mysteries that color his life. Mr. Cumming's voice is rich, distinctive, and you can't help but imagine it in a Scottish brogue. His openness is easy to relate to and incredibly refreshing from such a theatrical powerhouse. 

— Ivy

November 2014 Indie Next List

“Every so often reading a memoir feels like a conversation rather than a strict narrative or -- the death knell for memoir -- a self-indulgent romp down memory lane. Cumming's memoir is a gorgeous, intimate conversation and it reads beautifully. The pace is perfect, the presentation truly lovely, and I felt like a close friend rather than an impersonal audience. Cumming's early life was a struggle and he hardly shies from relating details, but the driving force behind this book is the demonstration of the many ways one can bring oneself to peace after hardship. I enjoyed it immensely.”
— Demi Marshall, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC



In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career.

A beloved star of stage, television, and film—“one of the most fun people in show business” (Time magazine)—Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father—a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.

When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.

With 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 a film, television, and theater star. At times suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny, Not My Father’s Son will make readers laugh even as it breaks their hearts.

About the Author

Alan Cumming’s many awards for his stage and screen work include the Tony, Olivier, BAFTA, and Emmy. He is the author of two children’s books, a book of photographs and stories, a novel and the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Not My Father's Son. He is a podcaster (Alan Cumming’s Shelves) and an amateur barman (NYC’s Club Cumming). Find out more at, @alancumming on Twitter, and @alancummingsnaps on Instagram. 

Praise For…

Alan Cumming’s moving memoir NOT MY FATHER’S SON is a beautiful book—sad, funny, haunting, surprising, suspenseful, gut-wrenching, endearing. It will linger inside of you long after you turn the final page.
— Harlan Coben, author of New York Times bestsellers Missing You and Six Years

“Equal parts memoir, whodunnit, and manual for living, NOT MY FATHER’S SON is a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us what we are, and how we make ourselves. I was completely sucked in.”
— Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods and Ocean at the End of the Lane

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062225061
ISBN-10: 0062225065
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014
Pages: 304
Language: English
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Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 4/16/2015 02:03pm
Last Updated At: 5/3/2021 06:02am