Confession: Michael J. Fox was my childhood celebrity crush. When Family Ties hit the airwaves in 1982 I was 11 years old and I…was…hooked. Alex P. Keaton was the MAN–smart, charming, and oh, so cute. When teen magazines were the rage (Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, etc) my friends and I would divide up the photos. Ricky Schroeder went to my friend, Cathy. Tom Selleck to my friend, Carol. John Taylor of Duran Duran went to my friend, June. Michael J. Fox went to me. My bedroom wall was nothing short of a shrine. Even his birthday–June 9, 1961–has been branded in my mind since I was a kid.
Movies, starting with the blockbuster Back to the Future trilogy, followed the TV show. And, while shooting Doc Hollywood in 1990, Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He was 29 years old and had only been married to his wife, Tracy Pollan (girlfriend Ellen on Family Ties,) for a couple of years. Everything changed.
This book, No Time Like the Future, is Michael’s fourth autobiography, so the reader will not be getting a lot of the history of his Parkinson’s diagnosis, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. It starts with his recovery from the latest of many surgeries. Most are to either slow the effects of Parkinson’s or mend the results of multiple falls. But this one was delicate surgery to remove a tumor on his spinal cord. What was he told after this most recent surgery? “You have one job. DON’T FALL.” What does he do? You guessed it.
The rest of the book is a series of, for lack of a better word, anecdotes. Some involve family vacations, some involve work projects, some involve hospital stays and home health care. All of them show the way Parkinson’s and its effects are a part of everything Michael does. Standing, walking, playing golf, going up and down stairs, traveling, timing his medication, the list goes on and on. His life truly revolves around his incredible family (his wife and 4 kids are AWESOME,) work, Parkinson’s, and his foundation to raise money for Parkinson’s research. They’re a set. (FYI, his foundation has raised more than $800 MILLION. Impressive.)
Like many other celebrity autobiographies, there is some language. I would rate it a PG13 level. But I hung in there until the end because, hey, it’s Michael J. Fox. I haven’t seen all of his movies and I was never a Spin City fan, but I loved it when he guest starred on The Good Wife, one of my all-time favorite shows. He played slimy lawyer Louis Canning, who suffers from tardive dyskinesia. The effects are similar to Parkinson’s and Louis completely exploits his condition, using it to every advantage in court. He’s awful, but you love him. Why? Because it’s Michael J. Fox.
Although I cannot see myself reading it again, I found No Time Like the Future enjoyable. I listened to it on audio (which I recommend doing with headphones because the Parkinson’s has affected his voice.) I felt myself emotionally invested in his medical highs and lows, grateful that he has an amazingly supportive wife (they’re going on 35 years together) and kids, happy to see how much he loves his feisty 90-something mother, and inspired by his optimism. Although not a religious person, it is very obvious that Michael knows he is blessed, and so are his enduring fans.
Visit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research HERE.
I watched several videos of MJF promoting his newest book on the talk show circuit in late 2020. This is one of my favorites: