Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life (paperback)

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A joyous and poignant book about the world of professional acting, the messiness of life and how every experience - good or bad - shapes who you are, from the New York Times bestselling author of Not My Father's Son.

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 prioritise 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.

Author: Alan Cumming
Paperback Published November 2021 304 pages
Read and Recommended by Graeme:
"Alan Cumming is acclaimed as a versatile performer - theatre, film, television, cabaret, voice-over work - but he is also a gifted writer. He strikes a thoroughly engaging, and intimate tone. He’s witty, entertaining, insightful, unafraid to examine and own up to his old faults and failings, and the celebrity gossip he dishes up is absolutely first rate! There are many anecdotes about famous people such as Gore Vidal, Faye Dunaway, Liza Minnelli, and director Bryan Singer (the early X-Men films), and often they are not particularly flattering or filtered. Where he does tend to be more coy is when it comes to describing his ex-partners and relationships, usually not revealing their names. The narrative is episodic and jumps around somewhat, but this is not distracting. What shines through is that this is a celebrity memoir which is authentic - Cumming wrote it himself as evidenced by the fact that he was four years late delivering the manuscript to his publisher."

'It seems fundamentally unfair that Alan Cumming is, in addition to being a fine actor and a wicked performer, such a hell of a good writer. But he is. He's observant, honest, often trenchantly funny, always emotionally honest. He's an international treasure' - Neil Gaiman

'Everything that makes Alan Cumming so engaging as a person and a performer - his cleverness, kindness, charm, wildness and, above all, authenticity - shines from every page of this wonderful, witty and wise book.' - Nigella Lawson

'I could not love this man… or this book more. Alan writes with such unvarnished truth and a humor that can only come from a brilliant mind, rapier wit and resilience from emotionally painful life experiences. This book - like Alan is off the page - is full of insight, compassion, intellect and wisdom. This is the best Baggage to have' - Monica Lewinsky

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