A Life in Parts

A Life in Parts

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2016
ISBN: 9781476793887
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 22, 2019

Since November, I have read three autobiographies (Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Bryan Cranston) and this, Bryan Cranston's "A Life In Parts" is the best, if not the best autobiography I've ever read. I consider myself a fan of "Breaking Bad", which is what peaked my interest in this book. I didn't know much at all about Bryan, except for the projects I've seen him in. That being said, this is unlike any autobiography out there and I loved the way it was written.

"A Life In Parts" is referring to the many roles he has played in his life, such as of course, Walter White, but also Father, Son, Husband, and some other roles that were surprising. He writes with such honesty in short, easy to read chapters that tell individual stories. There were some that made me laugh out loud (absolutely hilarious!), some that made me feel for him so much that I wanted to hug him (he's been through a lot in his life) and some that were so shocking that even I couldn't believe what I was reading. He's very candied and holds nothing back, which I loved. I felt like we were sitting across from each other and he was telling me stories about his life.

The beginning of the book goes right into it, brilliantly describing a key episode of "Breaking Bad" (note; there are a lot of spoilers for the show, so if you haven't watched the series, I'd suggest you do so before reading this, to avoid those... I'm assuming he's writing on the assumption that everyone has seen the whole series prior to reading his book), almost like a script in story from and then effortlessly glides into Bryan's voice, leading into his personal life. It was amazingly done. From there he skips around some, but the titles (roles) are there to tell you what subject he tackles next.

I should also mention that this book isn't just an autobiography, but it's a great resource for anyone who is considering becoming an actor. He takes you through every step, giving piece after piece of advice that he's learned from experience on almost every aspect. I would consider it an actor's handbook as well as an autobiography because there is so much material on the subject that any aspiring actor would find it helpful. Were I considering that field I would purchase this book and cherish it like gold. Oh to be as good as Bryan Cranston on stage and screen; big and small.

Reading this makes me not only want to watch the whole series again (REALLY watch it this time), but it also makes me wish I had gone to his appearance at Benaroya Hall in Seattle back in October when he was promoting his book.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that in one section he mentioned my favorite actor, David Hyde Pierce! It was just a sentence, but it honestly made me love this book more. This is one book that I would consider purchasing in the future to read it again and again. It's that good. I'm sure it must have been hard for him to talk about a lot of the subjects he covers in this book, but he did it brilliantly and I hope that this book earns him more fans. He certainly has one in me!

Mar 22, 2019

What an interesting memoir on a grinder actor who had interesting jobs, met unforgettable characters, learning the craft & observing older actor reactions in long & winding road to be an actor. He was more grounded & realistic on getting bunts, first base & strikeouts than his father expecting to get home runs on his dreams.
Chuckled on Cranston's influence on Malcolm in the middle on redefining the underdeveloped dad's character by doing the opposite compared to Malcolm's mother. No wonder the creator protected him from FOX.
It hurt reading his broken family & being honest to a girlfriend wanting to settle down.

acardona305 Feb 19, 2018

The anecdotes Cranston pulls from his memory leave the reader with a much fuller sense of this actor as a human being. It also gives readers an inside look at Cranston's amazing life, which should inspire many readers to chase their dreams and value hard work. Those two things brought him much of his success. Cranston succeeds as an author, the writing comes across as tight and relaxed at the same time. A must read for any fan of his, and a hard pass for individuals who do not care for him as an actor.

Sep 18, 2017

This was an easy read with interesting anecdotes from Mr. Cranston's career. He seems very level headed and has escaped rather unscathed from a difficult childhood and a career that has more than its share of pitfalls. I do have a greater appreciation of the hard work actors put into their craft after reading this book.

ArapahoeHollyR May 08, 2017

A great read for fans of his work or anyone interested in the business of acting, Cranston's memoir focuses heavily on the arc of his career and development as an actor. Tracing several of his major and minor roles, Cranston offers readers an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the audition process, production work, and daily life as an actor. He is especially adept at describing the intense preparation that goes into character development each time he takes on a new role.

Fans of "Malcom in the Middle" and "Breaking Bad" will enjoy candid stories from each set. Equally interesting are Cranston's discussions of his smaller roles and his crooked path to eventual stardom. Interspersed throughout are snippets of Cranston's personal life.

Mar 24, 2017

Hilarious, short, real life stories. Some were funny, some sad, some unbelievable, but always interesting. He made it seem like you were right there having an intimate conversation with him. Easy read when you're in the mood for a quick escape.

Mar 23, 2017

I thought this was an interesting biography by Bryan Cranston. he's lived an interesting life and he doesn't hold back from some of the more harrowing aspects of it.

Mar 21, 2017

Sometimes dark, sometimes funny, and always fascinating. Highly recommended.

d2013 Mar 11, 2017

Wonderful actor and his memoir is quite good and interesting!

Dec 29, 2016

A quite enjoyable and interesting insight into an actor I have always felt was underrated. This is less about himself, and more about the life, people and situations that shaped him. Quite a deft piece of storytelling...

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at SAPL

To Top