Book Review - Lucky Man: A Memoir by Michael J. Fox
Whilst I was born towards the start of the 70s my love of cinema didn't really start until the 80s, a decade some fondly remember as being one of the greatest. Well the 80s certainly gave us some good movies and some good movie stars including Michael J. Fox who as the time travelling Marty McFly won fans with his looks and charm. But whilst well known for his movies and TV shows Fox is also well known for having been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, a debilitating illness which he not only lives with but works to raise awareness of and funding for much needed research. It is the combination of his life, his career and living with Parkinson's Disease which form the basis of "Lucky Man: A Memoir".
What immediately strikes you when you read "Lucky Man: A Memoir" is that this isn't some biography written by a writer from various interviews and information glibbed from articles but Michael J. Fox talking and writing about himself. Reading Fox's own words and recollections about his life, the fear when he first noticed the tremor makes it a far more real and engaging read.
Now like with most biographies and memoirs "Lucky Man: A Memoir" takes us back to the world of a young Michael J. Fox who at one time had aspirations to be a rock star before turning his attention to acting. It also mentions how as a son of a serviceman he got use to have to move around but also the closeness to his family especially his Nana who you quickly realise paid a big part in his young life.
These early years pave the way for what for many will be of more interest as he decided to become an actor and like many initially struggled to break through. But he also mentions the whole insanity of being an actor and how having become a star he got little more than a ticking off for speeding just because of who he was. What really makes you get to understand how humble and down to earth Fox is is when he mentions that he struggled to deal with why he received special treatment just because he was a famous actor.
On the subject of being humble Fox also mentions his family, both his wife Tracy as well as his siblings but it is very evident that he is protective of his family and respectful of their privacy. Although he does mention his wedding day and the insanity of it all due to the press swarming to try and get photos of the ceremony. But whilst respectful of his family Fox is very open about himself and what may surprise many is his open account of a period where he had a drink problem, where he would go on heavy binges as he felt he was a failure as his career was failing. Again there is something simply humble about how Fox talks about these dark times and there is no use of his celebrity as an excuse for those problems.
But whilst you could say that all of this is nothing more than you would expect from a biography there is of course the not so typical side as Fox talks about Parkinson's Disease. Fox opens up about the initial tremors which he tried to hide in fear of it ruining his career whilst also talking about the various medications and treatments he has gone through. But none of it comes across as self-pitying, in fact Fox comes across as incredibly positive and in speaking openly about his dealings with Parkinson's Disease raises awareness of the disease for those who have not been affected by it either directly or via a loved one.
What this all boils down to is that "Lucky Man: A Memoir" is a fantastic good read which not only delivers the Hollywood side of Fox's life but also his life with Parkinson's Disease.