Always Looking Up – Michael J. Fox

Always Looking Up – Michael J. FoxAlways Looking Up by Michael J. Fox
Published by Ebury Press on March 18th 2010
Pages: 288

'At the turn from our bedroom into the hallway, there is an old full-length mirror in a wooden frame ... This reflected version of myself, shaking, rumpled, pinched and slightly stooped, would be alarming were it not for the self-satisfied expression pasted across my face. I would ask the obvious question, "What are you smiling about?" but I already know the answer: "It just gets better from here."'

Struck with Parkinson's - a debilitating, degenerative disease - at the height of his fame, Michael J. Fox has taken what some might consider cause for depression and turned it into a beacon of hope for millions.

In Always Looking Up, Michael's Sunday Times bestselling memoir, he writes with warmth, humour and incredible honesty about the journey he has undertaken since he came to terms with his condition.

I must have picked this book up at the op shop if I trust the sticker on the front cover. If I’d known it was this good I would have felt I should pay more. Anyway, enough rabbiting on.

It’s always interesting reading a book like this. I like to compare the year the author is discussing with what was going on around me, what I was doing and, in the case of a showbiz personality, what I was watching. Bearing in mind I was watching some of the things Fox was in I found this a very strange experience. Not quite out-of-mind, but more of a deja-vue experience. I was watching Family Ties but not all the years, I saw all three of the Back To The Future movies, and although this book doesn’t actually get that far, I’ve also been watching The Good Wife. I was very excited to see his first entry into The Good Wife.

What do you get in this book?

You get more than just showbiz stuff. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease while he was starring in Spin City. He details his journey, not entirely from diagnosis, I suspect that might be covered in a previous book. What he tells the reader is what it’s really like to deal with it. I started reading this book about the time Neil Diamond announced he’d cancelled his tour. I was sad for the people who had tickets and wished he’d managed to finish the tour as it would also have been a farewell for him. This book made me understand why Diamond would not be able to do that. It gave me an understanding of what Parkinson’s is like and that you’re often waiting for meds to kick in to do things and that sometimes you get side effects you hadn’t expected, or side effects you’re used to so you don’t notice how they affect other people.

You also get a very funny book. Fox is a comedian so he understands how to write a funny line. Not only but also, he knows the effects funny lines can have on people and how comedy can get a message across when other things won’t work. I found myself laughing and wanting to cry in the same paragraph.

The bit that really had me on the edge of my seat, metaphorically as I was reading in bed at the time, was when he left his job during 9/11 to get home to his family. With all planes cancelled he got two drivers and a car and drove home. It took two days to get there and they weren’t even certain they’d be allowed into the area as everything had been closed down. Why was this so important? Their home was very close to Ground Zero.

My affiliate links seem to be working today so I’m giving you a link so you can buy this book, but only if you want to.