A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.
Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father cast him in a United Way commercial. Acting was clearly the boy’s destiny, until one day his father disappeared. Destiny suddenly took a backseat to survival.
Now, in his riveting memoir, Cranston maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life—paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities. He also gives an inspiring account of how he prepared, physically and mentally, for the challenging role of President Lyndon Johnson, a tour de force that won him a Tony to go along with his four Emmys.
Of course, Cranston dives deep into the grittiest details of his greatest role, explaining how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help him create one of the most memorable performances ever captured on screen: Walter White, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin.
Discussing his life as few men do, describing his art as few actors can, Cranston has much to say about creativity, devotion, and craft, as well as innate talent and its challenges and benefits and proper maintenance. But ultimately A Life in Parts is a story about the joy, the necessity, and the transformative power of simple hard work.
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We learn as well about the perils and inconveniences of celebrity, his deep affection for his wife and daughter, and losses (parents, others). He ends with an account of his recent stage performance as Lyndon Johnson. The highs here—and there are many—are meth-less but addictive.Read Full Review of A Life in Parts | See more reviews from Kirkus
the way in which Cranston’s simple, staccato prose invites readers to empathize with every “character” he’s played elevates this autobiography to more than just a look behind the scenes—it’s a look behind a life.Read Full Review of A Life in Parts | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly
With Cranston having far from a linear career, A LIFE IN PARTS is not your typical actor's memoir. Instead it's a wonderful, unexpected, introspective, meandering and incredibly honest journey that highlights a satisfying career, but more is actually gleaned from the life lessons learned along the way.Read Full Review of A Life in Parts
While acknowledging his talent, the 60-year-old also stresses the importance of hard work, making this a worthwhile read for nascent actors, too.Read Full Review of A Life in Parts
...A Life in Parts is no preachy, “how to be like me” memoir. It’s an engrossing first-person account by one of our finest actors and I couldn’t put it down.Read Full Review of A Life in Parts
Cranston’s memoir, A Life in Parts, is an engrossing blend of stories and tricks of the acting trade...While there may have been bees on Cranston, there are assuredly no flies.Read Full Review of A Life in Parts
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