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July 8, 2019

Bryan Cranston: A Life In Parts

Book 39 on my “March to 100 for 2019″—Bryan Cranston: A Life In Parts—The celebrated actor’s funny and poignant memoir entertains.

Cranston is well-known for his iconic turn as Walter White in Breaking Bad, the child-like father in Malcolm in the Middle, and his Oscar-nominated role in Trumbo, but a quick search of his IMDB page shows what a prolific actor he has been for decades. But, as this book tells, he almost was a police officer instead and connected into acting quite by chance.

In his self-effacing style, Cranston takes us back to his challenging childhood growing up with an older brother and younger sister in a chaotic house. His father was an actor, but never as famous as he wanted to be, and was estranged from his children for years. His mother raised the children but also battled her own demons including a number of paramours and a battle with alcohol.

He takes us through his drifting teens and twenties, his pursuit of a law enforcement career, and his nomadic travels of the country on a motorcycle. Through those adventures, he kept tinkering with acting until he finally decided to give that career a try.

He talks about all of his auditions, getting hired and fired from various roles, his successes, his failures, and all of the crazy things that happened in between. Some of the stories are laugh-out-loud funny, others bring tears to your eyes, and not all make Cranston his own hero (he owns up to some dark moments of his own).

And, of course, he takes us into the break-out roles that have made him a household name.

Most memoirs are so self-serving that they are boring, but this one is well worth the read for its entertainment value.

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