Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life

Dey St. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780062435781. $27.99. MEMOIR
Tony- and Emmy Award–winning actor, author, podcaster, activist, and businessman Cumming follows up his memoir Not My Father’s Son (in which he recalled childhood abuse at the hands of his father) with this new candid reflection on his adult life. Here Cumming describes failures, successes, and his ongoing journey to grapple with a past that inextricably influences his present. Told in a time-bending, nonchronological swirl, the book recounts Cumming’s marriage to Hilary Lyon, plus other relationships, his experience coming out as bisexual, and meeting his now-husband, Grant. Cumming’s memoir includes many delicious theater and Hollywood stories—featuring the likes of Liza Minnelli, Gore Vidal, Walter Cronkite, Parker Posey, and Jessica Lange—juxtaposed with insight into a wildly diverse spectrum of theater, television, and film projects. There are especially fun details of Cumming’s Tony Award–winning performance as the androgynous emcee in the late ’90s Cabaret revival. Perhaps the only actor to have worked with both the Spice Girls (in 1997’s Spice World) and Stanley Kubrick (in 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut), Cumming is an exceedingly talented, witty, brave soul; his poignant book is a testament to his willingness to wrestle with demons and move forward.
VERDICT This second act is sure to be another hit in Cumming’s career; readers will be left hoping for a third memoir.
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