A Life in Parts

4.5 Stars
Hardcover, 271 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Scribner
Kindle Edition, 289 pages
eAudiobook, Audiobook by Simon Schuster Audio

About the Book: 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.

Believe it or not, I have never seen a single episode of Breaking Bad, I did however love watching Bryan Cranston in Malcolm in the Middle. What drew me to this book was finding out more about the actor and what brought him from the lovable, goofy dad to the drug kingpin. I listened to this book on audio and hearing him tell his own story added just a bit more to the information I learned. This book leads us through Cranston’s life from childhood, through his adolescence and into adulthood. This man did not have an easy life. The best thing about this book is that he used every experience he had to learn something. He did not make excuses, which would have been easy, but took responsibility to move forward and reach his goals. There are so many quotes that I could add to this review, but I think it is best for the reader to discover no their own. The book touched on so many emotions. As I read I went from sad, to sympathy, to happiness right to laughing out loud. “Tunnel of love baby” will always make me laugh. If you are a fan of memoirs or a Bryan Cranston fan, this is a must read. I am now going to find Breaking Bad on Netflix so I can watch the series that was such an important part of Bryan Cranston’s life.