While Millennials and those who born after are going to go “Who?”, many of us, old-timers instantly know who Michael J. Fox is. Marty McFly from the Back to the Future series first comes to mind followed by Alex Keaton from Family Ties. At the peak of his career or to be precise at the age of 29, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Though it didn’t end his career in Hollywood but it does proves to be quite a hurdle.
His fourth book dictated from his notes and typed out by his brilliant friend and longtime producing partner, Fox as usual is witty, candid and remarkably frank about his struggles with the disease. This is not a book about giving all up in fact it’s more liked motivational material for people who think of giving up after meeting with challenges day in day out. Just for the record, when you think a stumbling block is going to get you down, Fox took up golfing in his forties despite his physical decline.
In 2018, Fox underwent a major operation to remove a growth in his spinal cord, something not related to Parkinson’s. It took him months and months of therapy before he can reclaim his mobility but just as he is about to regain his independence, he busted his arm after a fall. A stainless steel plate and whopping 19 screws to hold his arm together. All these bring him to an inflection point. His optimism is suddenly finite for someone who has live positively with Parkinson’s for the last thirty years.
Is the actor and activist finally throwing in the towel? Nah. Fox is just being utterly honest about his feelings. He would later on call 2018 a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. A year he also lost his beloved father-in-law- the answer man. Whenever something bad happens, Fox always seems to bounce back stronger. He is stirred but not shaken. Likely, he is going to put up a good fight and an epic comeback line.
In No Time Like The Future, Fox frequently pays tribute to his wife, Tracy Pollan who has been at his side all these years together with his four grown up children. The book also explores the relationship between him and his ageing dog, Gus. Most importantly, he is no doubt proud of his foundation which has so far raised more than US$1 billion in Parkinson’s research. Perhaps out of jealousy or envy, there will be detractors who will feel that Fox is more than wealthy and famous enough to enjoy the privileges in life as compared to a normal sick person. Those vacations to Martha’s Vineyard and Africa aren’t that cheap right?
Well, this is definitely not Fox’s intention for sure. His book is a light-hearted (although grave regarding his condition) read about his daily journey battling Parkinson’s. The never ending road on trying to live well and be optimistic. In his closing paragraph, Fox remains open to the probability that it will get better in the future. This book was written during a pandemic and published during a pandemic. We genuinely feels Fox is right because we all need a little optimism to help us go through this battle.
Review by Linus Tee
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