I bought Always Looking Up after popping into my local Tesco’s, looking for something for dinner. I ended up buying the ingredients to make a lovely dinner & this book (which was something I really couldn’t justify the expense of, except to say that I needed to read this, which mightnt’ve washed with OH now that we’re both unemployed, but luckily he wasn’t bothered!)
I have been a Michael J. Fox fan for as long as I can remember. I loved Alex P.Keaton & have seen a few of his movies so many times that I can recite them almost verbatim (like The Secret of My Success, for instance, lol). I think he was a brilliant actor & I have seen most of his movies & tv appearances, so finding out that he had PD (Parkinsons Disease) obviously came as a massive shock! I read his first book, Lucky Man a few months after it came out & loved it. I thought it was funny, sad, charismatic, witty & inspiring all in one book (& what pity I had felt for him after his retirement was quickly dispelled!)
Ok, so, I finished this book on the 30thMay & have been struggling with writing this review ever since! There really is no reason to struggle – it was a brilliant book, written by (in my opinion, at least) a very brilliant man! I know that I am only struggling because I really do not see how I can do this book the justice it deserves. I read it in one sitting (apart from the hour or so I read on the train the day before), it flows so well & it comes across almost as though Michael was sitting in your living room telling you these stories himself. There is no “woe is me, I have a degenerative disease” to this book at all. It is straight forward, honest (well, as honest as you can assume, I mean, we don’t really know him, do we?) and at times gut wrenching.
Fox talks about how he came to the idea of starting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research, meeting Lance Armstrong & discussing with him how he’d got his own foundation off the ground. Fox talks a lot about the celebrities that became involved & I suppose that could be seen as name dropping, or pretentious, but he does travel in those circles, even though he chooses to raise his family outside the limelight. Personally, I chose to see it not as pretension, but simply him describing what to me & you would be like us describing interactions we had with Joe-next-door.
Always Looking Up, unlike Lucky Man, does not follow a chronological order, which adds to the “sitting in my living room telling you stories” feel to this book. Fox reveals stories about his family that are touching, heartwarming & sad (I admit it, I was in tears at one point), he talks about his love for politics & his decision to become an American Citizen, about his love of voting, the Foundation & his decision to walk away from his acting career, amongst other things. There are some brilliant insights into politics – I especially love the analogy he makes about George W. Bush’s ranch having loads of fireflies, but no lighthouse – pure brilliance (unless you are a republican, I guess).
In short, I would say that if you are in any way interested in an excellent, insightful, funny, sad & touching read then please pick up (and read) Always Looking Up – you won’t regret it!