Thursday, October 27, 2011
Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox
Publish Date: April 9, 2003
I have been a huge Michael J. Fox fan since he first appeared on American tv. As Alex P. Keaton he was elitist, smug and arrogant...but at the same time you found yourself rooting for him because he was so darned adorable! As Marty McFly in the "Back to the Future" trilogy he was the kid that just never got it right...until he did. My own kids love to watch that series of movies over and over again.
But Michael grew up, did many many more movies and then tv shows and then something happened to him. Something life changing. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He didn't announce it publicly until 1998, but he had been dealing with it for quite some time by then. He was a young man and you always think of Parkinson's as an 'old' persons disease. I know that all the women I've known with it have been in their 50's or 60's and I haven't known any men with it at all.
When a celebrity writes a book, it's always iffy on whether you'll end up with substance or just name dropping. Michael puts in some cute stories of famous people he knows, but not in a 'hey, guess who I know way', but in a 'this is what happened and oh yeah, my friend X was there too'. He comes across as charming and friendly, the kind of guy he's famous for playing.
The book showcases his relationships with family members, both his family growing up and his own family now. The strength of family they show makes me quite jealous. His family loved and trusted him enough that when he became a Canadian high school dropout, they took him to California, USA to give acting a shot. We all know what happened then. He became famous, got married, had kids...and was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease.
He is painfully honest about Parkinson's: the disease, the symptoms it causes in him, his reactions and feelings. I think this is a fantastic book for everyone to read because at the core of it is a lesson for all of us. He worked through the fact that he has PD and has turned it into something to help himself and others with PD. I'm sure he has periods of 'why me?', but he doesn't let them overwhelm him, he just keeps going because, as he says, he is a lucky man.