Baggage by Alan Cumming

Tales from a Fully Packed Life

There is absolutely no logical reason why I am here. The life trajectory my nationality and class and circumstances portended for me was not even remotely close to the one I now navigate. But logic is a science and living is an art.

The release I felt in writing my first memoir, Not My Father’s Son, was matched only by how my speaking out empowered so many to engage with their own trauma. I was reminded of the power of my words and the absolute duty of authenticity. But…

No one ever fully recovers from their past. There is no cure for it. You just learn to manage and prioritize it. I believe the second you feel you have triumphed or overcome something – an abuse, an injury to the body or the mind, an addiction, a character flaw, a habit, a person – you have merely decided to stop being vigilant and embraced denial as your modus operandi. And that is what this book is about, and for: to remind you not to buy in to the Hollywood ending.

Ironically maybe, much of Baggage chronicles my life in Hollywood and how, since I recovered from a nervous breakdown at 28, work has repeatedly whisked me away from personal calamities to sets and stages around the world. It is also about marriage(s): starting with the break-up of my first (to a woman) and ending with the ascension to my second (to a man) with many kissed toads in between! But in everything, each failed relationship or encounter with a legend (Liza! X Men! Gore Vidal! Kubrick! Spice Girls!), in every bad decision or moment of sensual joy I have endeavored to show what I have learned and how I’ve become who I am today: a happy, flawed, vulnerable, fearless middle-aged man, with a lot of baggage.

My 4th book of 2022 was my first audiobook of the year and what a book to begin the year with!

I do enjoy a biography especially when the writer is also the reader – hearing their story in their own voice makes it seem more real. It is almost like they are sitting there with you tell you their story…. This is Alan Cumming’s latest book and it is very much a collection of tales from his life with a few moments going back to his childhood.

As you would expect with an actor such as this, there were some big names mentioned but he has worked with some of the best around the globe. I have watched many hours of TV involving Alan Cumming and I love the way he takes on each new role he plays. I have never seen him on stage and if I get the chance I will change that in the future.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Alan Cumming’s work. It is 9 hours 6 minutes and at no time did I feel it was too long, or that he was waffling to fill up time. It is jam-packed with stories, some sad, some funny and some telling why he ended up where he did. I especially liked him in The Good Wife but sadly there is little mention of that period in this memoir, which to me would suggest it was a very happy and settled time for him.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library (via BorrowBox app).

Alan Cumming website is: www.alancumming.com where you can find out his latest news.

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