Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

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“Equal parts memoir, whodunit, and manual for living . . . a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us who we are, and how we make ourselves.”  --Neil Gaiman

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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Oct 7, 2014
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780062225085
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Abuse / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

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Joe knew his mother was cruel and violent, but he trusted his beloved father to protect him from her. When a freak accident saw his father burn to death in front of him, Joe was left at the mercy of his mother. Without the love of his friend and brother, he wouldn't have survived. With them, he went on to spend his life fighting child abuse.

Joe was just five years old and the horrific scene literally struck him dumb. He didn't speak for four and a half years, which meant he was unable to ask anyone for help as his life turned into a living hell.

His schizophrenic mother and two of his older brothers spent the following years beating him, raping him and locking him in the cellar at the family home. Fed on scraps that he was forced to lick from the floor, he was sometimes left naked in the dark for three days without human contact.

Unable to read or write, all Joe could do to communicate his suffering was draw pictures.

The violence and sexual abuse grew in severity as more people, including his stepfather, were invited to use him in any way they chose.

The only thing that saved Joe was the kindness of his elder brother and his only school friend, both of whom showed him that love was possible even in the darkest of situations.

At fourteen he finally found the courage to run away, hiding in a hut by a railway line, fed on scraps by some local children who found him.

Joe's is the ultimate insider's story, casting light into the darkest of hidden worlds, and a truly inspirational account of how one small boy found the strength to overcome almost impossible odds and become a remarkable man. Now that he has found his voice again, Joe speaks out against child abuse and helps support and protect other children whose lives have been blighted by it.

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