Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father, a struggling actor and director, cast him in a commercial. Soon Bryan was haunting the local movie theater, reenacting scenes with his older brother. Acting was clearly his destiny - until one day his father disappeared.
As a young man on a classic cross-country motorcycle trip, he found himself stranded at a rest area in the Blue Ridge Mountains. To pass the time, he read a tattered copy of Hedda Gabler, and in a flash he found himself face-to-face with his original calling. Suddenly he thought this was what he would do with the rest of his life. Act.
In his riveting memoir, A Life in Parts, Cranston traces his journey from chaotic childhood to his dramatic epiphany to megastardom and a cultlike following by revisiting the many parts he's played on camera (astronaut, dentist, candy bar spokesperson, president of the United States, etc.) and off (paperboy, farmhand, dating consultant, murder suspect, son, brother, lover, husband, father).
With great humour and humility, Cranston chronicles his unlikely rise from a soap opera regular to a recurring spot on Seinfeld. He recalls his run as the well-meaning goofball, Hal, on Malcolm in the Middle, and he gives a bracing account of his challenging run on Broadway as President Lyndon Johnson, pushing himself to the limit as he prepared for a tour de force that would win him a Tony to accompany his four Emmys. And, of course, Cranston dives deep into the grittiest, most fascinating details of his greatest role, explaining how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help him create one of the most riveting performances ever captured on screen: Walter White, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin in Breaking Bad.
Discussing his failures as few men do, describing his work as few actors can, Cranston has much to say about innate talent and its benefits, challenges and proper maintenance, but ultimately A Life in Parts is about the necessity and transformative power of hard work.
©2016 Ribit Productions Inc (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
Raw honesty, captivating anecdotes & touching on just enough subject matter on everything you wanted to hear about in the world of a great actor.
Bryan Cranstons beautiful mahogany voice picked me up through my drive to work, motivated and charmed me through my house cleaning and put me to sleep at night. If you listen to one book this year, let it be this one.
Hats off to Mr Cranston, a deeply human and engaging read. It was fantastically written and a wonderfully entertaining book. It touched me and my life. Thanks Bryan, it makes life a little easier having listened to this.
A wonderful collection of personal stories and life lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed this listen. Congratulations on your well deserved success, Mr Cranston!
He's such a down to earth guy, and how he delivers the content feels so genuine. To me personally, its a fantastic autobiography that left me retrospective of some of my own early life decisions, especially as a creative. Great book.
I'd recommend this as both a great book by the actor who played a key role in a brilliant television series (or two, if you count Hal from Malcom in the Middle), and also as a snappy personal memoir by a complex and likeable individual.
Cranston comes across as a really intriguing character - thoughtful, funny, a little intense at times. His life has been interesting in more ways than I'd eve have guessed, and his ability to tell an engaging story is unusually good, perhaps unsurprisingly.
The reading of this is brilliant - lively, genuine, and very likable. It feels like he is sitting across from you, having a beer, swapping all sorts of weird, funny, sometimes deeply personal and honest stories.
'the confessions of Heisenberg'.
Beyond talking about specific shows (Seinfeld/ Malcolm in the Middle/ Breaking Bad), there are some interesting insights into acting and storytelling itself - worth a read if you are a creative person even if you dont like any of his work particularly.
Wife, mother, nanna, part time actor, avid reader, world traveller, golfer, bridge player, lover of life.
Loved this book. After watching "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Breaking Bad". Wanted to read the story behind the actor and wasn't disappointed. No ego here. a very good loo into his life.
"great book and narration"
very good look into the personal life of the author, he shares very personal details in great detail. overall very interesting
Insightful to his life but also his techniques and modus operandi!
I recommend it wholeheartedly!
Bryan delivers a beautiful reading and an inspiring account of his childhood, career, and family life. Mr Cranston's career path has been the complete opposite of an overnight success, and he (intentionally or not) teaches the reader important lessons on how to approach your career, perfect your craft, and be a good person along the way.
"A Mesmerising Life"
Bryan Cranston is a true artist. We all know the man can act, but to write and tell his story in poignant and insightful tales of the highs and lows of his life and career, and to actually keep you so invested with each word that you end up reliving that same feeling of addiction you felt when watching his stunning performance as Walter White/Heisenberg in Breaking Bad? That I don't think any of us knew. This isn't just for fans of the actor who wish to know about his truly extraordinary and, sometimes, ordinary life, this is also for those curious up-and-coming actors and writers on how they should play the cards that talent and creativity dealt them, and how to listen, learn from and appeal to the actor, the man, who portrayed one of the greatest written characters in modern television.
"Thought provoking and expertly read. Loved it!"
-I think Bryan Cranston is a fantastic actor and this transferred really well into this book. He seems passionate, I really like that.
- It was fascinating hearing him speak about his life, trials & tribulations, as well as the highs.
-Eloquently and expertly read.
-95% of the stories were genuinely interesting and kept my attention completely.
-The ending felt a little flat to me, personally I think it should have ended with more of a crescendo, as it was I think it was a little lost.
The section about Breaking Bad was interesting but lacked much in the way of insight. The rest of the book was a procession of rambling anecdotes and self-aggrandising stories. The writing is florid and the choice of stories selected for the book were at time baffling.
The performance was very good though, I'd listen to Bryan Cranston reading a story in the future, just not one he'd written himself.
"A really nice man"
He is a shining example of how a lack of bitterness and making good choices in life,based not on greed or self-seeking attention can have lasting and rewarding joy in life
"Hard to warm to, but a good story"
I found Brian hard to warm to in this book. The narrative comes across as a person with not a lot of self awareness. I felt as if i were listening to someone who wasnt aware of the magnatude of his own ego. I did enjoy it, but not as much as the amount of positive reviews would suggest one should.
"Struggled to finish."
Started well, enjoyed listening to stories of his upbringing and early career. as it went on I started to find his admiration of himself and how amazing he is to be tedious.
"A fascinating man & a story of real perserverance"
A fascinating insight into the life of a talented actor. I thoroughly recommend it not just because of Breaking Bad. And that's ironic because clearly Mr Cranston is one of the 'good guys'.
That said I had to pause towards the end of the book as I was only part way through season 4 on Netflix and if you haven't seen 'B-B' yet there are a few spoilers in this book.
"The best biography"
I really enjoyed this book. It is the best biography I have listened to. I really connected with the author and in many parts I felt very moved.
This is a brilliant book made all the better by Bryan Cranston's fantastic narration. A wonderful, inspiring, personal journey. Highly recommend.
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