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Beth's Review: Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox

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Publisher: Hyperion e-books

Released: March 31, 2009

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

Length: 288 pages

Format: ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook

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There are many words to describe Michael J. Fox: Actor. Husband. Father. Activist. But readers of Always Looking Up will soon add another to the list: Optimist. Michael writes about the hard-won perspective that helped him see challenges as opportunities. Instead of building walls around himself, he developed a personal policy of engagement and discovery: an emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual outlook that has served him throughout his struggle with Parkinson's disease. Michael's exit from a very demanding, very public arena offered him the time-and the inspiration-to open up new doors leading to unexpected places. One door even led him to the center of his own family, the greatest destination of all. The last ten years, which is really the stuff of this book, began with such a loss: my retirement from Spin City. I found myself struggling with a strange new dynamic: the shifting of public and private personas. I had been Mike the actor, then Mike the actor with PD. Now was I just Mike with PD Parkinson's had consumed my career and, in a sense, had become my career. But where did all of this leave Me? I had to build a new life when I was already pretty happy with the old one... Always Looking Up is a memoir of this last decade, told through the critical themes of Michael's life: work, politics, faith, and family. The book is a journey of self-discovery and reinvention, and a testament to the consolations that protect him from the ravages of Parkinson's. With the humor and wit that captivated fans of his first book, Lucky Man, Michael describes how he became a happier, more satisfied person by recognizing the gifts of everyday life.

Five (Huge) Boundless stars

In Always Looking Up, Michael J. Fox shares all aspects of his life, before and after Parkinson’s disease. I am amazed by his beautifully optimistic perception of life; as he shares personal stories from his career as an actor, life as a husband and a father of 4. Readers and fans see the genuine Michael J. Fox, as he passionately shares his stance on Stem Cell Research, political views, religious beliefs, and friendships ups and downs; including a few stories including personal friends we recently lost, Robin Williams to depression, and Mohamad Ali to Parkinson’s disease.

MJF shares stories about his friends, also fellow celebrities, as real people. He talks about how they spend their free time, and money, to support their beliefs, and the many charitable organizations; helping everyone from all walks of life, with a variety of unfortunate diagnosis, or life situations. He brings everything to light in a positive way, with his wonderfully humorous personality; he even throws in a few jokes about his own “short comings” in several different ways.

I particularly liked a story he shared about an interview he had with Katie Couric to speak for Stem Cell Research. His purpose for going on the show was to explain the difference between the Stem Cell Research he’s promoting and the research some extreme religious groups believe to be an abomination. His interview seems as though it may be shadowed by an insensitively rude comment recently made by an outspoken radio talk show host whom MJF hasn’t even given a thought to. (in my opinion, this radio host has never really had an opinion of his own, but seems to have made a career of simply bashing the opinions and beliefs of others.) Instead of wasting time on him and his comment, Michael simply moves on to more important statements he wants to share. That’s class and professionalism at its best.

I also personally related to later in that same interview with Katie; in speaking with of his symptoms, he admits it’s not pretty when he’s having a “bad day” but he’s had his time of being pretty, all the teenage girls that had his picture on their walls gave him enough time of being pretty. I have to admit, I was one of those teenage girls; yes, I was into short guys back then. Just look at all my formal dance pictures for proof.

There’s so much more I can say about Always Looking Up, but instead I’ll just sum it up by saying. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book; it’s a HUGE 5 Boundless Stars for me. I’m going back to get all his other books, and I’m not just saying this because of my teenage crush on him either. He is a beautiful person; after this book, I have a completely new respect for Michael J. Fox, and his family.

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