cover image Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life

Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life

Alan Cumming. Dey Street, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-243578-1

Actor Cumming (Not My Father’s Son) returns with a series of revealing and witty reflections on coming to terms with his demons rather than conquering them. He lays out the truth as he sees it: “I believe the second you feel you have triumphed or overcome something, anything... you have merely decided to stop being vigilant and embraced denial as your modus operandi.” Growing up with a sadistic father and navigating the oft-bizarre situations that came with fame were just a fraction of the ups and downs that comprised Cumming’s personal and professional life. Though confronting his father about his abusiveness was transformative, Cumming resists the narrative that everything was magically solved; there were misguided decisions (including rushing into doomed romantic relationships), drug usage (“Ecstasy was my self-prescribed anti-anxiety medication”), and interventions that failed. But compassion trounces nihilism as Cumming looks back at his past with hard-earned wisdom and acceptance. “If life has taught me anything, it’s that change is a given.... The sooner we embrace its possibility the sooner we can really start living.” Engaging and often funny, this surprisingly deep work beguiles with its sharp observations and earnest life lessons. Agent: Luke Janklow, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Oct.)