My Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston (5 out of 5)
Two back to back 5-star reads. One an upcoming suspense title out in January, and this autobiography. I was familiar with Bryan Cranston’s work BEFORE “Breaking Bad”. And yes, even BEFORE “Malcolm in the Middle”. Because I was raised…wait for it..a soap opera child. I remember him way back when as Professor Doug Donovan. My mom watched all of them. She was a serial channel flipper. It didn’t register much at that age….I began to enjoy his work more when Malcolm became a Sunday night staple, and I thought he was hilarious. “Breaking Bad”? Phenomenal. Just the sort of role that shows layers of range that was previously suspected and then confirmed. And this man has IT.
You never know what to expect when an actor… or anyone in the industry…writes a book. I have read some that were okay, others that were fantastic, and still others that should have been sold at Citgo gas stations and not made it to a bookstore. Happily, Bryan Cranston has delivered a fantastic memoir. I liked the formatting of it, I liked the personal yet affable tone of it, and I loved the honesty of it. It is immediately clear from multiple passages that Cranston not only enjoys his craft, but exalts in the chances that he has had to do acting for a living. His joy of the job permeates every page. From his original choice as police officer leading to the acting gig (he needed to fulfill his electives before they would let him move on) to having Vince Gilligan remember his work on an X-Files episode and calling him in to audition for Walter White, Lady Luck has had his number. There are some tough times with not having his father present in his life for many years, with a stalker during his soap opera stint, and a failed young marriage. But Cranston takes the hard times with the same level-headed approach as he does the rest of his life, and that’s an admirable trait. Again, not often seen in other memoirs I have read lately. (I’m looking at you, Norm MacDonald and David Spade!). This is a quick, enjoyable look at the life and craft of one of the best actors out there today. It’s out now. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy. Or better yet, gift someone with it this holiday season.