Thursday, December 07, 2017

Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming

In 2010, Alan Cumming was invited to appear on the popular BBC genealogy series, "Who Do You Think You Are?" His goal was to find out about the mysterious disappearance of his maternal grandfather.

His memoir, Not My Father's Son, begins with a heartbreaking scene from his childhood where he recounts one of many instances of abuse by his father. As part of the preparation for the BBC series, he works up the confidence to contact his father, who unfortunately takes the opportunity to inflict pain and confusion on his son and cause him to question much more than his grandfather's disappearance.

While Cumming's memoir explores some dark times in his life, it is refreshing and rewarding to learn about the success and happiness he has found in his adult life. Anyone who enjoys genealogy research will also find the process of learning about his family history fascinating. Don't worry, the memoir is gripping even if genealogy research sounds like your idea of a snoozefest. I listened to the audiobook read by Cumming and his storytelling performance was compelling.

If you enjoy this memoir, you might also appreciate Drama by John Lithgow or Then Again by Diane Keaton. Interested in climbing your own family tree? Check out the VBPL Local History and Genealogy page to find programs and resources for conducting genealogy research.


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