The entire world knows actor Michael J. Fox, who will appear next week with his latest memoir at the Book Festival of the MJCCA. From his years seen on the family-favorite family sitcom “Family Ties” as Alex P. Keaton to the role of Marty McFly, the teenage sidekick of Doc Brown in the blockbuster movie “Back to the Future,” Fox won a place in our hearts at an early age. Add characters like Mike Flaherty in “Spin City” and guest appearances on television shows including “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Add winning five Emmys, four Golden Globes, one Grammy, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, the People’s Choice Award and GQ Man of the Year, Fox is certainly a beloved celebrity. Above all of his Hollywood accomplishments, his most meaningful role is his passionate and purposeful advocacy for Parkinson’s disease.
Today, Fox is widely respected for his non-stop dedication to his Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which was launched in 2000 and has become the leading Parkinson’s nonprofit organization and funder of PD science in the world. Fox has worked tirelessly, creating a global awareness of the disease and helping to find a cure through his Foundation.
While Fox’s previous books dealt with how he came to terms with the illness, his optimism is further challenged. His latest book “No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality” is seasoned with age and realism, and is a memoir reassessing his optimistic outlook, as events in the past decade presented additional setbacks and personal insights worthy of sharing.
Diagnosed in 1991 at the young age of 29 and now living with Parkinson’s for 30 years, Fox begins his book with a personal look into his decades of living with PD. This book is his constant dialogue between his strong reality, yet ever-evolving optimistic self, thrown into the depths of his persistent battle filled with medical unknowns. In his book, Fox shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affects the way we approach mortality.
Highlighted in Fox’s book is his family, rock and remarkable wife Tracy Pollan, four adult children who visit often, along with their “good” dog Gus. Fox’s gratitude to his family and friends is unwavering, and he shares his private life openly and honestly. To say he’s an icon of hope puts it mildly. This book is both thoughtful and moving. Fox’s voice and trademark self-effacing sense of humor provides his introspective view about life, love and losses. Running through the narrative is the “medical madness” he experienced and his daily negotiations with Parkinson’s disease. After learning to walk again, he had a devastating fall, nearly causing him to opt out of his trademark optimism and as he put it, “get out of the lemonade business altogether.”
As Fox was finishing writing this book, COVID hit. He ends his admitted “hyper-focused” book by acknowledging the state of the world we live in, which has imploded. He joins the reader noting that now we’re all facing unknowns.
If you are wondering how Fox makes it back to the present, this book is worthy of your attention. Fox’s devotion to making life better for other Parkinson’s patients and anyone searching for inspiration during these difficult times will find it here. For all that he has done for humanity, openly sharing his own challenges and life story, Michael J. Fox is definitely an everyday hero in my book, and I feel certain he will be in yours, too.
Michael J. Fox will present his latest memoir at the Book Festival of the MJCCA at 8 p.m. Nov. 19. For tickets, visit www.atlantajcc.org/interior-pages/arts-and-culture-book-festival-virtual/.
- Robyn Spizman Gerson
- Michael J. Fox
- Book Festival
- Book festival of the MJCCA
- Arts and Culture
- Family Ties
- Mike Flaherty
- Marty McFly
- back to the Future
- Doc Brown
- Parkinson's Disease
- Parkinson’s Foundation
- No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortalit
- Tracy Pollan