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Tommy's Tale

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  847 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Tommy is twenty-nine, lives and loves in London, and has a morbid fear of the c word (commitment), the b word (boyfriend), and the f word (forgetting to call his drug dealer before the weekend). But when he begins to feel the urge to become a father, and the pressure from his boyfriend to make a real commitment to their relationship, Tommy starts to wonder if his chosen li ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 21st 2003 by It Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Josephine Myles
Jul 22, 2010 Josephine Myles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-fiction
This story of 29 year old Tommy's journey of self-discovery was a huge amount of fun. At first I was a little sceptical as to whether Cumming could write, but the odd clunky moment aside, it was a thoroughly debauched yet charming tale.

Tommy is a really sweet and amusing narrator - there were many points where I laughed out loud, and I was rooting for him and his "kind-of boyfriend" Charlie right from the start. But of course, before Tommy realises what he really wants out of life, he has to tak
Sarah Sammis
Jan 02, 2008 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
Tommy's Tale is Alan Cumming's debut novel. I don't know Cumming's work as an actor but I thoroughly enjoyed his novel. I tore through it in a day, pausing occasionally to laugh myself silly.

The novel is told in diary form akin to the Adrian Mole series, Georgia Nicolson series or the Bridget Jones series. Except that Tommy is an e-popping bisexual suffering from a crisis as his thirtieth birthday looms. It seems that the diary form novel is a mainstay of British humour fiction. This off the cuf
Jul 08, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Tommy’s Tale by Alan Cumming is bit like getting shitfaced and marathoning episodes of Queer as Folk mixed with clips from Love Actually until you’re not sure where the raw drug-fueled debauchery ends and the heartwarming moments with precocious British children begin.

Originally written in 2002 and now re-released with a brand new cover, Tommy’s Tale is a delightful, hilarious romp that will keep you turning the pages even as you want to shake the titular narrator while shouting “MAKE B
While I enjoyed this gay romance about one bisexual man's longing for family, I found it a bit of a mish-mash. I was charmed by Tommy's room mates that formed his self-made family and I found it very interesting that his bisexuality was fully portrayed,but I just did not find his narrative compelling enough. Some of his characters were not believable. The child character seemed like an after thought. The boy was simply a way to provoke a contrived turning 30 crisis in Tommy. Some plot devices se ...more
Robert Dunbar
"When you suck someone's cock for the first time do you ever gag just to be polite?"

Okay, so there were lines that made me laugh so hard I fell out of my chair, but it still took me forever to read this, mostly because I suspect it isn't really a novel, more like a "novelized" monologue play. And -- god! -- but Cumming would be brilliant in it. Just imagine. He could act out scenes (many of which take place in public toilets), do all the voices. I am SO there.
Jan 20, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, sexuality, novel
I'm a huge fan of Alan Cumming, so when I saw this book in the bargain bin, I had to pick it up. It's the story of a hedonistic bisexual man - Tommy - who finds love. It was great to read anything about an out bisexual guy (so rare!) and the story kept me entertained in a chick-lit sort of way, but it wasn't exactly life-changing or anything.
Alika Yarnell
Apr 14, 2008 Alika Yarnell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sex-and-drug-crazed kids turning 30, trying to figure it all out
Shelves: fiction, faves, hipster
A surprisingly entertaining romp! Alan Cumming is obviously multi-talented as an actor and writer (I believe he also co-wrote the movie "Anniversary Party" with Jennifer Jason Leigh, which I thought was amazing). "Tommy's Tale" isn't afraid to give it to us straight (or gay, or bi) and shows a realistic account of the trials and tribs of going through a Saturn Return as age 30 approaches and all sorts of questions pop up like: Who am I? What am I doing? What is my place in the world? Why am I so ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Joanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, humour, 2014
I'm not exactly sure why I enjoyed this as much as I did, but I read it in about two sittings and there are no regrets.

I love Alan Cumming on The Good Wife but that's about all I know of him, so stumbling upon this book was a bit of a surprise. The premise of the story isn't really something I would normally be attracted to - the irresponsibility of Tommy's character had the potential to be grating via the synopsis, but full credit to Cumming's writing to make me root for Tommy. I wasn't prepare
Page Terror
Apr 30, 2014 Page Terror rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Page Terror Reviews:

To celebrate the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2014 revival of Cabaret, but more importantly Alan Cumming reprising his role of The Emcee, I decided to review Tommy’s Tale, A Novel, which was written by Cumming over a decade ago.

Alan Cumming is perhaps one of the greatest artists of the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. There are few who surpass him at being innately creative. Since discovering Cabaret as a ripening twelve year old, I
Fawndolyn Valentine
Jun 04, 2015 Fawndolyn Valentine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This should have been a quick read. This should have been my quickest read of the year. I breezed through it at the start, but began slowing down as I reached the middle, and then it CRAWLED. I love Alan Cumming, and I wanted to love this book, but it just fizzled at the halfway mark.

With a little over 50 pages til the end, I had yet to see any revelations on Tommy's part. He experienced no growth. No epiphanies. And gave no fucks for any of the people in his life enough to grow up a little (ac
Feb 21, 2016 Rhode rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I wanted to like it more than I did. A cute, skinny young man with an easy, steady job, great friends and a handsome, understanding boyfriend, has a crisis of impending adulthood on turning 30.

It's very much a first world, crisis-in-his-mind-only crisis. He doesn't have to work a dreary 9-5 job, or give up his life to look after an aging parent. He's not drafted, in a war zone or in any external danger. He doesn't have financial debt or health worries. Nor is he bothered by religion, philosophy
Apr 14, 2016 Joey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is easily the stupidest book I've powered through to the end of. Think Bridget Jones' Diary, but if Bridget Jones was an immature, self-absorbed, bisexual, male drug addict. The premise is ludicrous and the only character development that happens takes place in the last few pages after a one-year time jump. The main character is annoying and I tired of his selfish juvenile antics quickly. How many coke benders can you go on while experience zero consequences? The supporting characters are c ...more
Feb 14, 2017 Barbara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just painful to read.
Jemiah Jefferson
May 07, 2015 Jemiah Jefferson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-library
I saw Alan present this book at Powell's City of Books, and therein lies a tale that stays between me, Alan, and just about everyone I ever have drinks with who cares about films, gays, gays in film, lovely Scottish blokes, or any combination of the two. We both like martinis and he was filming X-MEN 2 in Vancouver at the time. He was absolutely marvelous, as cute as a button, with a round middle-aged tummy that I just wanted to bounce on. Anyway, that was a thing that happened. (I also gave him ...more
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2016 Alaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NSFW! Practically every other line is suuuuuuuuper NSFW. Good thing I work alone. I really liked this book. I got sucked in immediately and regretted the need to pause it all of the many, many times I had to pause it because it's pretty graphic. I don't gravitate toward books written by actors but Cumming is actually quite talented here. Excellent narration by the author as well. I (perhaps unfairly) deducted one star only because it was so porny, and I mainly listen to audio books at work. But ...more
Apr 11, 2016 Krisha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alan Cumming is so talented. His writing is smart and intuitive, particularly his dialogue. I adore great dialog, the pithy and believable. It's modern-day poetry. This book, not surprisingly very well done, is a fairy tale, but it made me a little sad. The ending was a happy one, but it seemed written by an experienced-but-not-quite-mature author. Perhaps Cumming wasn't self-actualized at the time it was published, though, after reading Not My Father's Son, I think now he must be there or as cl ...more
Apr 03, 2016 Pixie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, scribd
“Do you want to have an adventure?” someone asks Tommy when the book first starts…”Always” replied Tommy. That exchange sums up the book quite nicely. It’s all about Tommy & his adventures. Tommy was a funny guy, who did a bit (a ton) of drugs & fucked strangers while sorting out where he wanted his life to go as he approached 30. I liked it, there were highs (haha) and lows but all approached with the humor of someone quite literally coked out of their fucking mind. It sorts itself out. ...more
Jan 06, 2009 Rudy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-lit
I found the narrator annoying, since it was mostly a lot of ranting and digression. There were many parts that I think the book would have been better without. Not to mention, for all the sex and felt boring at times, with the exception of the humorous scene with the bartender girl in the bathroom, and the "fairy tales" sprinkled throughout the book.

The ending felt "easy", but the characters did grow on me (which is why I gave it 2 stars)....
Jan 10, 2009 Corey marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
It's one of those books I really want to read. It's by my favorite person in the world (currently), Alan Cumming. I love the style in which he writes (only been able to get my hands on the first page) because I'm pretty sure he's going to ramble and go off of random tangents. Only one problem, my mom doesn't want me to read it, because, yeah, it's a little smutty and apparently has multiple graphic sex scenes.
But hey, one day.
Nov 24, 2010 JoJo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was fairly disappointed by this book. I really like Alan Cumming as an actor and performer, but I did not find this book to be as good as I had anticipated. It's really very shallow with a forgettable storyline and boring characters. It relies a lot on shock value with it's superfluous sex scenes and drug usage. However, it was fast-paced, and I was able to get through it without boredom, but it's not something I will read again.
Angel Serrano
Tommy es un ayudante de fotografía bisexual y adicto a las drogas a punto de cumplir los 30 años. Su vida es un cocktail de drogas, relaciones y deseos sin cumplir. hasta no alcanzar el punto más bajo las cosas no empezarán a mejorar. Escrito por un actor, refleja el mundo del espectáculo británico.
Oct 31, 2007 Danimal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: John Farley and Erica Hayes
Grab a cocktail or a coffee and start reading immediately. You will not be able to put it down. Alan Cumming does a wonderful job of creating a wild ride to be enjoyed by any party animal that reads it! I haven't read in awhile, but should again! It makes our party days look like a boring tea party!
Adam Dunn
Apr 01, 2013 Adam Dunn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
Listened to this on an Easter Drive.

I liked Cummings' voice and smiled in a few parts.

Overall though, too full of bad first book malaise. Self-centered characters, melodrama, doesn't know when to end, fills up the book with drugs and bodily fluid as if he invented them.

I'd like Cummings to write something about adults.
Dec 15, 2007 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-lit
A very interesting take on growing up. The book often reminded me of growing up in the Rave culture of the 90s. The drugs, the late nights. Your family is your friends and the people you surrond yourself with.

And at some point we all came to the conclusion to change our lives, get out of the clubs, and start living. Grow up.
Aug 29, 2010 Lydia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alan Cumming is a gay comedian...he was floop in Spy Kids, and this book is absolutely hilarious and sad and a very insightful view into human nature. I really love this book because his writing style is seriously laugh out loud funny, but at the same time his characters are very well thought out in terms of placement and development. Love it.
Oct 26, 2012 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
I love Alan Cumming as a actor. He seems to be able to capture the essence of every character he plays. This translated so well into his novel; I felt like I was having a chat with a person, with Tommy. I feel like I have had a couple of coffee dates and really got to know this guy. For the first time in a long while I was REALLY invested in the characters. What a fantastic and well-written book.
Aug 02, 2007 widgetoc rated it really liked it
I read this a few years ago, so it's not too clear to me anymore, but I remember liking it.

It's a style I like. Something about it made me want to take long bubblebaths and spend time primping.

The story was good, I loved Tommy, and really wish I owned a copy. (Buying one is on my to-do list.)
This book was a fun romp through the psyche of a late-twenties club kid. It's a great coming of age tale, though the end does seem a bit rushed and/or not necessarily plausible. The language is accessible and very true to the culture, and teh characters are both sympathetic and rather attractive.
Sep 13, 2015 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two stars seems too harsh but three generous. Disappointing as I loved Alan Cummings autobiography.

Have come back to add to the review that this may be a typical first book. Writing what you know. There were flashes of very clever writing in this book.
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Alan Cumming, OBE, is a Scottish-American stage, television and film actor. His roles have included Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United, and Fegan Floop in the Spy Kids trilogy. He has also appeared in independent films like The Anniversary Party, which he wrote, directed and starred; and Ali Selim's Sweet Land for which he won an Independent Spirit award as producer.

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“You know what I hate most of all in the whole wide world?...More than people who think that if you're bisexual it means you'll fuck absolutely anyone (especially them)?” 75 likes
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