Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Not My Father's Son by Alan Cummings




Kindle, 304 pages
Published: May 5th 2015 by Dey Street Books
Original Title: Not My Father's Son
ISBN: 0062225073 (ISBN13: 9780062225078)
Edition Language: English
Literary Awards: Audie Award for Autobiography/Memoir (2015), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Memoir & Autobiography (2014)


I have to admit, I am a massive fan of Alan Cummings and like most of his true fans I could sense that behind all of his joyfulness, purity and unearthly genius, there lurked a deep, troubled soul filled with sadness. What I didn't expect though was to hear his voice so rational and to find his decisions so objective, so stripped of emotion and a product of pure logic. I was suprized by the easiness of his monologue. He spoke of very serious matters, but not even for a second did he left me feeling troubled or desperate. He was an embodiment of dialectical divinity. It did took me quite a while to get to terms with all of this emotional talk, for I am a  what you might call a "deadpan bitch". I am a good listener, but I rarely give the opportunity to people to let themselves moan and complain about things that can be changed very easily. And with that in mind comes my next remark: with no intention of deminishing the importance of the child abuse problem, I want to say: "Why did you spend 309 pages on recollection and making excuses for a man, who was nothing but evil to you, even if he had the right to?" and secondly "Why, being the strong and incredibly beautiful human being that you are, Alan, why do you feel like you have to please everybody?"
I know that chances of Alan Cummings ever reading this are beyond slim, but if he ever did I want him to hear this:
"I will not send you hugs, I will not give you compasion and I will not praise you, but I will shake your hand with dignity and respect. I am proud for being give the chance to see you through your art and through this memoir. I got a glimse of your soul and you made me grateful for all the love I have had in my life. If you were part of my circle of friends I would be honored!
As far as the memoir itself it: It is split into four parts. Not My Father’s Son tells the story of Cumming’s appearance on Who Do You Think You Are? in October 2010. This neat device enables him to delve into his family history and travel around the world in an attempt to discover the fate of his maternal grandfather, Tommy Darling, killed in a “shooting accident” in Malay in 1951. At the same time, and very much off-camera, he’s forced into a quest to find his father and to rethink his whole childhood when the unrepentant bully he grew up calling Dad makes a close-to-death confession. These two narratives intertwine and what links them both is Cumming’s warm, confiding tone.
As himself, the book is simply radiant!

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