Saturday, 30 January 2010

Book Review: Always Looking Up, by Michael J. Fox (2009)


Sub-titled "The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist", Michael J. Fox's second book is a journey through the last 10 years, his life after show business.

After wrapping up Spin City in 2000 and effectively closing the curtain on a highly successful movie and TV career as an actor and executive, Fox embarked on a new phase in life heading the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. The Foundation quickly became one of the most successful and prominent centres for funding medical research, and this profile naturally, and almost unwittingly, landed Fox in the middle of the political stem cell research debate that raged during the George W. Bush Presidency.

Although not chronological, the book traces Fox's journey from 2000 to 2009, starting with Spin City wrapping up, and symbolically ending almost a decade later with President Obama flinging open the gates for federal funding of stem cell research. Fox's journey in these relatively few years is a remarkable transformation, from the heights of an acting career being jeopardized by the ravages of Parkinson's to the eye of the storm where medical research and politics collide.

He writes in an engaging, humorous, and self-depreciating style, and his eternally positive attitude and optimism shine through. Whenever he describes his painful daily battles with Parkinson's, he brings forward his comic - and sometimes hilarious - touch to great effect.

Fox provides crisp and vivid descriptions of his encounters with other celebrities who publicly fought vicious diseases, including Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali and Christopher Reeve. He also takes us into political town hall meetings, TV studios, high-society fundraising dinners, and into his family home.

There are passages in the book which do seem to be straining to pad the book's length towards 300 pages, but overall, the continuing adventures of the kid from Burnaby are well worth sharing.

276 pages.
Published in hardcover by Hyperion.





Ace Black Blog Book Review No. 28.
All Ace Black Blog Book Reviews are here.

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