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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2017 Audie Award for Narration by the Author

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, a struggling actor and director, cast him in a United Way commercial. Soon Bryan was haunting the local movie theater, memorizing and reenacting favorite scenes with his older brother. Acting was clearly the boy's destiny - until one day his father disappeared. Suddenly destiny took a backseat to survival. 

Seeking something more stable, perhaps subconsciously trying to distance himself from his absent father, Cranston decided on a career in law enforcement. But then, while a young man on a classic cross-country motorcycle trip, Cranston one day 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 once again with his original calling. Suddenly he thought this was what he wanted to do, what he would do, with the rest of his life. Act. 

In his riveting memoir, A Life in Parts, Cranston traces his zigzag journey from his chaotic childhood to his dramatic epiphany and beyond, to megastardom and a cultlike following, by vividly revisiting the many parts he's played on camera and off. With great humor and much humility, Cranston chronicles his unlikely rise from a soap opera regular trying to learn the ropes and the politics of show business on the fly to a recurring spot as Tim Whatley on Seinfeld, finding himself an indelible part of popular culture. He recalls his run as the well-meaning goofball, Hal, on Malcolm in the Middle, proving to writers and fans that he was willing to do anything, anything, for a laugh, and he gives a bracing account of his run on Broadway as President Lyndon Johnson, pushing himself to the limit as he prepared, physically and mentally, for a tour de force that would win him a Tony to go along with his four Emmys. 

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. 

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 Bryan Cranston (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

What the critics say

"The narration is pitch-perfect, profound, and room-filling, thanks to Cranston's sonorous timbre and expert inflections. Audio fidelity and production values are exceptionally strong, and Cranston's performance is on par with any of his award-winning TV roles.... This is a winner - a great listening experience." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about A Life in Parts

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Loved it!

I have a love-hate relationship with autobiographies. In the first few chapters, I'm intrigued and interested to learn more about the book's author. But about halfway through the book, I start to lose interest and begin questioning his/her version of events. By the end of the book -- if I can be bothered to make it there -- I'm pretty much done with the author.

This was not the case for A Life in Parts. I listened (and finished) this book over a few days and never once did I think about skipping ahead or not finishing. Bryan's book details a life full of adventure, with meaningful observations and life lessons scattered throughout. I highly recommend it.

Oh, and having his voice in my ear for almost 9 hours was an added bonus. He could make my grocery list seem interesting.

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Exactly what I was looking for

It was great listening to Bryan narrate his biography! He takes you on a colourful journey throughout his life. If you're on the fence about the purchase, don't hesitate. Get it!

1 person found this helpful

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Bryan Cranston is the Best!

Wow, what a wonderful read. Hard to stop listening. Bryan narrates wonderful, tells compelling stories and gives great advice for any inspiring actors.

Bryan Cranston: Please make another book. We are all thirsty for more.

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Wonderfully engaging!

Having trouble because I don’t want to turn it off! Bryan’s story combined with his narration is making this biography highly addicting.

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  • DD
  • 2021-01-28

A great listen

An interesting tale telling us about the road he traveled, who with and adventures along the way. He himself gives thoughtful insights about lessons and experiences he faced. Recommend.

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Breaking Bad

If you are a fan of Walter White and loved every scene of Breaking Bad, this is something you will thoroughly enjoy listening to. Hearing Bryan Cranston tell his life story makes you realize that he was made to play the part of Walter White. What a great story he tells.

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Bryan Cranston is just awesome.

An amazing listen from start to finish. Once I started, I had to keep listening no matter what. I haven't been big on audiobooks but Bryan Cranston manages to instantly catch your attention just as he has in any film or series he's been in. From his unique upbringing, to his relationships, to how he fell in love with acting and became one of the most well known TV stars of all time. There's so much in here to grab onto and not a dull moment to be found.

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Loved it

I haven't watched Breaking Bad and I only saw bits of Malcolm in the Middle when my daughter was growing up, but for some reason I just love Bryan Cranston. It was really interesting learning about his childhood, how he got into show business, and hearing all the behind-the-scenes information he shares.

Bryan does a great job narrating his book. The narration of audio books is particularly important to me, and Bryan's presentation made this book an easy listen. As is the case with the books I love, I was so sorry to reach the end and have to find another book.

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Perfect book title

All of us live lives in parts, and B. Cranston captured his life, so far in snippets of grounded realities. He presents his life as a very human story with ups, downs and sideways. It was a pleasure listening to his narration bringing his sense of humour and humanity to the fore. The reality of his life is not that of Walter White or LBJ, but what he brings to the roles he plays. That is a message that he tries to project and that we must heed - the person is only the player.

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Very engaging and entertaining!

Loved every minute of it! I highly recommend this superlative and well written story, told by the author himself, which is definitely a bonus.

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  • Matt
  • 2017-05-14

Cranston is the hardest worker

Would you consider the audio edition of A Life in Parts to be better than the print version?

Cranston's childhood and teens set him up to know what's important in life. He never was self destructive, or sabotaged his career in any manner. It's unusual to listen to the life and career of Bryan Cranston, hard work and talent, with no goal to become Famous, was the key to Bryan Cranston becoming a World Wide Star.

What other book might you compare A Life in Parts to and why?

Alec Baldwins "Nevertheless" captures a love for the craft of Acting, intelligently written, like "A Life in Parts."

What does Bryan Cranston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His reading the book made me feel like I was able to eavesdrop into one of the most extraordinary careers in modern Hollywood.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 2017-03-22

Powerful.

This is a fantastic book – read by an amazing storyteller. It makes me want to go back and change all other previous five star ratings to fours – so that this book stands alone!

Buy this book and start it immediately!

28 people found this helpful

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  • Shopsfromeverywhere
  • 2016-10-23

They're all good parts.

Bryan holds nothing back, the reader is left knowing he's been true in his retelling of his life's story. wonderfully written, paced perfectly and performed wonderfully by the author making the read even more enjoyable. I found myself laughing & crying at times but never bored waiting for the next good part to come along, because they are all good parts. Thus far Bryan seems to have had one heck of an interesting life. I can't wait to hear more from him, either written or narrated!

30 people found this helpful

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  • Top Reviews USA
  • 2016-10-23

Beyond the Bad

Great book. It was very cool to learn so much more about Bryan Cranston. Beyond his many characters, regressing back into his rocky and near direction-less beginnings. The events that shaped him into the man/actor he has become. Some of the information he shares is so personal and surprising, you can't help but blush, gasp, or laugh out loud as he reads it to you.

Great book. Great man. Bryan Cranston.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Nicole
  • 2017-03-12

LOVE!

Bryan Cranston is magnificent and fascinating! His sense for story telling is compelling and wonderful to listen to. Thank you, Bryan, for such an entertaining book!

12 people found this helpful

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  • Lindsay
  • 2019-01-22

Cranston is great, but the book is just so-so

Not bad by any means, just not my most favorite memoir. He's had an interesting life, but I still found that I wasn't gripped by his words. There is some sage advice sprinkled through out. I did appreciate his insight to the different film and tv projects he was on.

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  • Jonathon Myers
  • 2016-10-21

Spectacular!

Bryan Cranston is the epitome of what a hard working person is and should be. No matter how big the achievement he remembers that every decision he has made to up to that point got him there. Remembering the people that helped along the way is a form of humility too which we should all aspire.

10 people found this helpful

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  • 2016-10-17

Deliciously entertaining!

A very enlightening and fun trek through the life of this self made, adventurous man. A man who carved a path through adversity, lived life on his own terms, and found himself in the process. A man who has taken his fans on an emotional rollercoaster ride; from his perfect comedic timing as Hal, to the shockingly human and dark side of Walter White. He will be best remembered for his impeccable ability to force so many of us to look deep into our soul and ask ; 'What would Walter White Do?

8 people found this helpful

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  • J. Mathews
  • 2018-08-08

I really wanted to like this more

Bryan Cranston has a great voice. He has lead an interesting life. My issue with this book is that the various stories from his life are not grouped into anything overarching. It's just stories from his life, jumping in time, sometimes working together, but often not.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 2016-10-20

Pure Insight

Excellent memoir on Bryan Cranston. "A Life in Parts" is a pure insight on his professional career on his acting and also his personal life. Not only he goes in depth on Walter White in Breaking Bad, but he also talks about his failures in his acting. There are very touching moments in this book, where my heart was warmth. When Cranston talks about his mom and how his proposed to his wife is one of those moments where you see his normalcy as being a son and a husband.

Cranston talks a lot on Breaking Bad. It's a must read to anyone that binged watched on one of the best series ever.

11 people found this helpful