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Summary

A rare treat, Bryan Cranston narrates his own fascinating life story with the same wit and raw emotion that characterizes his acting repertoire. Listen as the actor takes us through his early days as a struggling actor to his meteoric rise following his acclaimed, award-winning portrayal of Walter White in Breaking Bad.

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent!

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Thought provoking and expertly read. Loved it!

Pros:
-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.



Cons:
-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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Surprising, riveting and wise.

Is there anything Bryan Cranston can't do? After this book you can start believing that you have it in yourself too, to work hard, overcome adversity and build something good that is yours.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Bishops Stortford, Herts, United Kingdom
  • 04-12-16

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mukesh
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 03-12-16

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

This is a brilliant book made all the better by Bryan Cranston's fantastic narration. A wonderful, inspiring, personal journey. Highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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brilliantly read by Bryan Cranston

Kept me engaged and interested from start to finish very entertaining would definitely recommend...very good : )

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MasterReader
  • 08-12-16

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

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  • DIY
  • 17-11-16

Insightful

Insightful to his life but also his techniques and modus operandi!

I recommend it wholeheartedly!