Saturday, March 24, 2012

"Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist" by Michael J. Fox

276 pages

In this memoir, Michael J. Fox shares the personal philosophy that got him through some of the toughest years of his life. In 1991, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. As his condition got worse, the beloved actor found himself having more and more difficulty performing roles that used to come easy to him as well as doing daily tasks that most of us do without thinking twice, like brushing teeth and tying shoes. In the late 1990s, Fox went public with his disease and began to campaign for Parkinson's research funding. While many applauded his efforts, he was also attacked for his advocacy of stem cell research. In addition to giving readers a glimpse what it's like to have Parkinson's, this memoir has a lot to share about staying positive in the midst of adversity.

I've always liked and admired Michael J. Fox as an actor, and after reading this I am just as impressed with him as a real person. I was amazed by how down-to-earth he seems in "Always Looking Up." He's good at clearly stating his views without showing disrespect for those who oppose him. He could easily be bitter about those who attack him, but instead he stays calm and doesn't resort to the tactics some of his opposition does. He's also very humble and realizes that as a celebrity with tons of money he has an easier time than the average Parkinson's patient. He not only has a personal investment in stem cell research, but he's also done lots of research on the topic so he knows the science to back up his personal experience. The chronology of his story is a little hard to follow, as he jumps around a lot. Still, it's interesting to hear about where is path in life has taken him, and his story definitely put things in perspective for me and made me appreciate my health, which I often take for granted. Super-inspiring!

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