Ms. B's Reviews > Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox
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Aug 21, 2012

it was ok
Read in June, 2009

Synopsis:
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.

My Opinion:
This book was well written, but as I read it I had the distinct sense that it was a book of “thank you’s”. The parts I enjoyed most were the stories of his life. I liked the stories about him and his life, his family and his career... but as I say career I say it lightly because I enjoyed the stories but he wrote his thank you in all the appropriate sections. I think he should have had all the thank you's and who he was indebted to in the back of the book and just told the story and left out all the fluff. I can see that he wanted to show his appreciation and I get that but it made the book a bit choppy. I was amazed at the life he leads both as a well-known actor and as a person battling Parkinson's. Things like that really amaze me. Since being recently diagnosed with PKD I can understand all too clearly what some parts of it meant to him as far as his struggles. Though, I didn't get enough of what I was hoping the book to be like. I wanted something moving and yet it still didn't fill me the way I had hoped. This book I rated almost a 3 but I couldn't get through the whole thing so I left it at 2. It was an easy read and I did enjoy it, got through it in less than a day.
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