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on 22 June 2017
On the whole, I like Michael J. Fox. The work he’s done in the last 30+ years – in TV, movies and for Parkinson’s – is admirable. He’s brought a great deal of joy to countless people’s lives with his film and TV work, whilst his dedication to developing a cure for Parkinson’s is nothing short of commendable. His determination to continue working and living his life on his terms no matter what, gives others in a similar situation the hope they often need that receiving a diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road.

Having read his previous book ‘Lucky Man’ (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I was very much looking forward to reading ‘Always Looking Up’. The synopsis for the book seemed to promise a follow-on of sorts, with the suggestion that the reader would learn more about how Michael has been coping and adapting since his initial diagnosis in the early ‘90s. Sadly though, I found ‘Always Looking Up’ to be far removed from its predecessor and as a result, I struggled to finish it.

Whereas ‘Lucky Man’ was very personable in tone – detailing his early life before PD, how he learnt to live and work with the condition post-diagnosis, the unfaltering support from friends and family, etc – ‘Always Looking Up’ takes a much more aggressive and stripped back approach. There are small references to family life (Fox’s description of a typical morning living with PD is particularly insightful), but for the most part the book concentrates on the political issues he’s encountered surrounding stem cell research and the important part he believes it plays in developing a cure for PD. These parts are difficult to follow at times, often going off on tangents and referencing specific policies and/or individuals which are clearly important in the American political arena, but don’t make much sense to anyone on the outside looking in.

Another aspect is the seemingly constant name dropping. At some points in the book it becomes nothing more than a ‘Who’s Who of Hollywood’. And although I appreciate this is the world Fox lives and works in, the constant references to his famous friends, the glitzy parties, flying by Concorde and staying in fancy 5 star hotels, didn’t endear me to him. There’s no denying or avoiding the fact that he’s a famous actor with the money and privileges that inevitably come with that, but the constant references felt a little too much like bragging for my liking. Also, there’s around 5-6 pages almost solely dedicated to Fox’s hero worship of Lance Armstrong, which made for uncomfortable reading given what we now know about the athlete.

If you’re interested in the political side of PD – particularly in relation to American policies – and don’t mind a rather one-sided view of proceedings, then you might enjoy this. However, for me ‘Lucky Man’ is by far the superior book and the one I would recommend reading if you’re looking for a more personal viewpoint. ‘Always Looking Up’ is too self-indulgent and not focused enough in its delivery to make for an enjoyable or truly insightful read. In my opinion it could easily have been condensed into a 3-4 page special report for a magazine which would have told a better, more succinct and informative story.
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on 29 May 2009
It is difficult to appraise "Always looking up" without tripping over the cliches...funny...moving..uplifting... Fortunately for people who prefer reading books, rather than reviews, Michael J Fox is a true original, with the sharp, vivid prose of a natural author, and a genuinely remarkable story to tell. Stricken with early-onset Parkinson's disease at the age of 29, and the height of his Hollywood career, his early struggles to come to terms with his illness were recounted in the astonishing, must-read "Lucky Man". Now,in its sequel, he ranges widely over his recent life and explores his very personal philosophy of optimism. Whether writing with deep affection about his family, or unconcealed frustration over bruising encounters with the American political machine, a boundless energy and love of life illuminates every page - more incredible still when you consider that this is the work of a man trapped inside an increasingly unresponsive body.
He casts himself neither as saint, nor victim, revealing his flaws with entertaining candour. This is not your standard celebrity illness story, but a witty, inspirational portrait of an unsinkable human spirit. You finish this book feeling just a little better about life, the universe and everything. He may joke about being on the short side, but it is impossible not to look up to Michael J Fox.
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on 6 July 2016
He'll always be Marty Mcfly to me, but in this book Michael J Fox is a true inspiration and a true, real life hero. He's raised not just money but most importantly awareness of Parkinson's Disease and put himself out there to stand side by side other PD sufferers and their families. When you're famous, showing a less than perfect facade can bring misconceptions and with it less work and increased press interest for the wrong reasons. Michael has used his celebrity status to increase awareness of PD and shown his true self to the press and anyone who cares to look at someone suffering with the various symptoms that accompany PD. This is a selfless act on his part, he incurred ridicule from one named radio presenter who thought it hilarious to mock PD sufferers and their symptoms because of an ill informed, ignorant opinion that completely backfired. If anything this made me love and admire Michael J Fox even more. All I can say is read this book, you won't be disappointed and you may just learn something along the way.
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HALL OF FAMEon 1 June 2010
`Always Looking Up' explores what has occurred in Michael J Fox's life since publication of his first memoir `Lucky Man'. Like his first book this is immediately engaging, open and heartfelt and I found it to be written with humour, human insight, passion, humility and a full range of other emotions. Based around four themes (Work, politics, faith and family) this tells of his stem cell advocacy, the minor screen roles he has played and his greater involvement with his family. I found some parts quite emotional to read and got choked up when he described his feelings and experiences at the time of his sisters death. This is as inspirational as `Lucky Man' and if you enjoy both of these books I highly recommend `Still Me' by Christopher Reeve which is one of the few books that honestly changed my life. Overall Michael J Fox manages to inspire and enthral and this made for a couple of days reflective and motivational reading.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 16 October 2017
Not as good as first book, by a long way. I get that he needs to share his story further, but this book is all about raising awareness of Parkinson's and not about entertaining the reader in any way.

I hope that by buying it, I have helped in some small way, but cannot in all good conscience recommend anyone else buys it. Better to just make a donation to the foundation and buy another book to read
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on 28 August 2017
Very well written, entertaining book, Michael J Fox is clearly a very intelligent man. Gives a great insight into Parkinson's disease as well.
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on 19 February 2014
If you are interested in the author, interested in Parkinsons or just want a jolly good read how out of adversity some good can come enjoy this book - the lasting legacy is tremendous and I applause Mr Fox for how he has been able to use all his professional networks to set up one of the most successful foundations worldwide.
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on 20 August 2016
This is an amazing book & would recommend it to anyone to read.
Especially brilliant for people & family members who have Parkinson's disease.
Very inspirational man.
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on 24 December 2012
I read Michael J. Fox's first autobiography, and I loved it. I was curious to see if this follow up could stand up to the first book, and it did. It is fascinating to read about Michael J. Fox's every day life, the challenges that his Parkinson's disease gives him and how he deals with them. However, the book goes beyond that, which makes it even more interesting. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes reading biographies!
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on 26 October 2015
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