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A Life in Parts

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Bryan Cranston

Narrated By: Bryan Cranston

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: October 2016

Duration: 8 hours 52 minutes


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 back seat 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, 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 mega-stardom and a cult-like following, by vividly revisiting the many parts he’s played, on camera (astronaut, dentist, detective, candy bar spokesperson, President of the United States, etc.) and off (paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, son, brother, lover, husband, father). 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, its benefits, challenges, and proper maintenance, but ultimately A Life in Parts is about the necessity and transformative power of hard work.


  • Molly G

    Excellent, engaging storytelling from a fascinating person. Great to read/listen all in one sitting or in small bite sized chunks. Love Cranston!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Julie J

    A good read and certainly better than I expected. I would recommend.

  • Tasya B

    Not a fan, kind of sexist though I understand it's a story of his life. Not that interesting to me

  • Susanna Burger

    I really enjoyed listening to Bryan Cranston narrating the story - it felt like he was sitting next to me telling me his life story. It was really awesome! Being familiar with his work in Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad made it that much more like a personal conversation than someone just reading a book.

  • Donald Smith

    Wonderful book and life. A very insightful and enjoyable book about a well rounded actor.

  • Justin Rice

    The book is a memoir of Cranston. If you don't like his acting, you wont enjoy the book. If you have not seen Breaking Bad, you will not enjoy the book. I recommend it to people who have viewed his work. It is wonderful to see into his life and how he approaches his work and the struggles within the industry. Personally, I just wanted more of a life advice, from him its more of his story (which doesn't surprise, I just don't think the title does it justice). The audiobook read by Cranston is fabulous. I like that he reads his own work, it shows he cares. Not to mention, his voice is quite welcoming.

  • Gloria Medina

    Love this book

  • Noelle Carbone

    A very entertaining read. Cranston's voice could make anything (even recipe cards) sound engaging and delightful.

  • Amy Harmon

    Good for actors but I'm not one so I gave it one star.

Life in Parts

by Bryan Cranston

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Life in Parts, Bryan Cranston