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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In this frank, absorbing memoir, Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston reflects on his life's many unexpected plot twists, from an impoverished childhood to an epic cross-country motorcycle trip and the life-altering realization that he might be a really good actor. Inspiring and insightful, A Life in Parts is an indelible record of Cranston's remarkable career and a case study for aspiring artists of all kinds—not to mention a hugely entertaining read.
Though known today for Breaking Bad, Cranston played a number of roles before becoming an actor. Paperboy, biker, grocery store security guard each chapter explores a different facet of Cranston's personal history, as though Cranston were teaching another actor how to play him onstage. Deeply personal from the outset, Cranston walks readers through his early aimless years, his moment of Zen inspiration to be an actor, and the obsessive hard work on the soap opera Loving, during which he was also dealing with the fallout from an abusive relationship. Cranston discusses his later success on Malcolm in the Middle; Breaking Bad fans, of course, will fly straight to Cranston's chapters on script changes made behind the scenes and the reasoning behind Walt's underwear choices. But 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.
Fantastic read! Life changing book!
I got so many positive messages out of this book. The stories within the story were gripping. I could not put this book down. I tip my hat to Bryan Cranston.
I picked up this book at an airport bookstore and I’m so glad I did. If you are looking for behind the scene stories about Breaking Bad you will get that and so much more. Bryan has had so many life adventures which will keep you entertained for hours. He can really tell a story. Please read.
Excellent, insightful, funny, sad, everything you want in a memoir of a great human.
Fantastic read into the actor’s life. His passion and purity in acting is inspiring and deeply motivating and encouraging for me, a blue collar Army veteran. His story is unique, imperfect, and eventful. He is a reminder to go after what you love, and be honest about it. BS when you need to (Mars bar commercial) but truly love what you do or make the sacrifice to get it. Don’t make decisions based off of what seems right to others, but only what seems right to your pure inner self. Loved it.