Lucky Man: A Memoir
In September 1998, Michael J. Fox stunned the world by announcing that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease - in fact, he had been secretly fighting it for seven years. In this candid book, with his trademark ironic sensibility and sense of the absurd, he tells his life story - from his childhood in western Canada to his meteoric rise in film and television and, most importantly, the years in which - with the unswerving support of his wife, family and friends - he has dealt with his illness.
He talks about what Parkinson's has given him: the chance to appreciate a wonderful life and career, and the opportunity to help search for a cure and spread public awareness of the disease. He feels as if he is a very lucky man indeed.
The same sharp intelligence and self-deprecating wit that made Michael J Fox a star in the Spin City television series and Back to the Future films make Lucky Man a lot punchier than the usual up-from-illness celebrity memoir.
Yes, he begins with the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the incurable illness that led to his retirement from Spin City (and acting) in 2000. And yes, he assures us he is a better, happier person now than he was before he was diagnosed. In Fox's case, you actually might believe it, because he then cheerfully exposes the insecurities and self-indulgences of his pre-Parkinson's life in a manner that makes them not glamorous but wincingly ordinary and of course very funny. ('As for the question, 'Does it bother you that maybe she just wants to sleep with you because you're a celebrity?' My answer to that one was, 'Ah... nope.')
From a Canadian, working-class background, Fox has an unusually detached perspective on the madness of mass-media fame; his description of the tabloid feeding-frenzy surrounding his 1988 wedding to Tracy Pollan, for example, manages to be both acid and matter-of-fact.
He is frank but not maudlin about his drinking problem, and he refreshingly notes that getting sober did not automatically solve all his other problems. This readable, witty autobiography reminds you why it was generally a pleasure to watch Fox on screen: he's a nice guy with an edge, and you don't have to feel embarrassed about liking him.