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No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality

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A moving account of resilience, hope, fear and mortality, and how these things resonate in our lives, by actor and advocate Michael J. Fox.

The entire world knows Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the teenage sidekick of Doc Brown in Back to the Future; as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties; as Mike Flaherty in Spin City; and through numerous other movie roles and guest appearances on shows such as The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Diagnosed at age 29, Michael is equally engaged in Parkinson’s advocacy work, raising global awareness of the disease and helping find a cure through The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the world’s leading non-profit funder of PD science. His two previous bestselling memoirs, Lucky Man and Always Looking Up, dealt with how he came to terms with the illness, all the while exhibiting his iconic optimism. His new memoir reassesses this outlook, as events in the past decade presented additional challenges.

In No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, Michael shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality. Thoughtful and moving, but with Fox’s trademark sense of humor, his book provides a vehicle for reflection about our lives, our loves, and our losses.

Running through the narrative is the drama of the medical madness Fox recently experienced, that included his daily negotiations with the Parkinson’s disease he’s had since 1991, and a spinal cord issue that necessitated immediate surgery. His challenge to learn how to walk again, only to suffer a devastating fall, nearly caused him to ditch his trademark optimism and “get out of the lemonade business altogether.”

Does he make it all of the way back? Read the book.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published November 17, 2020

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About the author

Michael J. Fox

25 books893 followers
Canadian/American film and television actor.

His roles include Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982–1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty from Spin City (1996–2000), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. He also starred in Doc Hollywood and Secret of My Succe$s and the lead voices in Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire and in the film Stuart Little and it's sequel.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. As the symptoms of his disease worsened, he retired from full-time acting in 2000.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,271 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
431 reviews4,225 followers
May 25, 2023
Here is my video review: https://youtu.be/Hagy_14cjLE

Although not PD, I was diagnosed with POTS, a neuromuscular disorder. It has a cute name but I assure you it is anything but. In POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), the nerves get confused and sends bad information to the muscles including the heart. When a patient stands up, the blood pools in the legs (not back up to the head) and can faint.

When I walk, my blood isn't circulating as it should thanks to my confused nerves. I am unstable on my feet. Just like Mike wrote, something as simple as closing a door can send me falling. Trying to get dressed in the dark is a cruel joke. Add to it that POTS patients are also trying to take off compression stockings up to their ears essentially shrink wrapped. All this while trying to balance in the dark.

In addition, my heart is not having any of it. When I close my eyes and attempt to sleep, my heart starts racing, up to 230 beats per minutes, laying flat. When I wake up in the morning, I have received 0 minutes of deep sleep. At night, there were times I was not sure if I was going to open my eyes in the morning. Was my heart going to give out?

So many doctors told me that I was just crazy. It was "all in my head", and I just "needed physical therapy" (despite already receiving 50+ hours and not getting better). These weren't just any doctors. These were doctors at Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, hospitals routinely rated #1 and #2 in the world.

Eventually, I learned that I was dying. In September 2021, I had my first heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic. In November 2021, I had my second heart surgery at The Cleveland Clinic.

After my heart surgeries, I was no longer in danger of dying, but I still could not control my left leg. I would direct my leg to go straight, but it would just go to the left. This caused me to walk into the wall and misstep. I could not trust my own legs. I had to use my eyes to see where they were and try to overcorrect to the right spot to avoid walking into walls.

After two heart surgeries, I started my first experimental procedure, taking an immune suppressant. After four months, I stopped vomiting, the head to toe rashes were gone, and I could control my left leg again.

Is everything perfect? Nope. I just started experimental treatment #2 yesterday.

At the beginning of 2020, my goal was to competitively run a 5K. Then, I was in the battle for my life. Up until my first heart surgery, I had to battle every step of the way, telling world-class doctors that they were wrong. Because I couldn't walk, I spent my time reading every medical article that I thought might even be remotely connected to my case. Multiple doctors have said that I know more than most medical doctors at this point.

And I started reading. I started to become an active member of the bookish community. Eventually, I became the #4 US book reviewer.

If you had asked me when I was healthy if I ever would have picked this life, no way. Now, if you asked me if I would pick this life, I would say absolutely. This time of my life has changed me, not only physically but mentally.

Life is short. No matter our health conditions, we aren't guaranteed a tomorrow. All of the trips that I went on, I valued. I so highly value my connection with the book community which is honestly one of the most supportive groups imaginable. I started to create book reviews and content, learning new skills every day, trying new things.

My life is different, but it isn't meaningless. There are still adventures to be had.

And a word about the disabled community: Do you know how often people don't even make eye contact with someone in a wheelchair? Or even worse people stare and then look away, pretending that they are so subtle. About as subtle as a freight train.

No Time Like the Future was incredible for me. So many things that Mike talked about in the book I experienced first hand. I laughed and I cried. It is so easy to think of all of the things that I have lost: walking, running, being able to close a door without fearing of falling, the stairs not being Enemy Number One, driving. Having a pity party for myself would be justified. However, that isn't how I want to spend my life however long or short. Darkness is close at hand for a lot of people, and this book is a great reminder that you have a choice to make: Lemons or Lemonade.

Michael J Fox, really well done!

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,986 followers
December 22, 2020
“With gratitude, optimism becomes sustainable.”

Michael J Fox is the personification of The Giving Tree. Life just keeps taking . . . and taking . . . and taking from him, and all he does is GIVE, GIVE, GIVE! And, through it all, he stays positive! If anyone has the right to be ticked off about life and the hand they have been dealt, it is Fox. But he doesn’t complain. He meets every challenge with compassion and humor. He is truly amazing.

If you feel like life has given you a raw deal, I think hearing this story will help put everything into perspective. I admit that I tend to be a glass half empty type guy with lots of anxiety and crying over spilt milk. In the future, when I am facing adversity and want to lose my mind with frustration and anger, I am going to keep Fox’s story in mind to re-center myself.

The format is several larger stories bookended by some mini anecdotes from throughout his life. It is interesting to hear tales from a young Alex P. Keaton all the way up to very physically sick man approaching his 60s. But I can still hear the boyish charm in his voice as he contemplates mortality, the passing of time, and how every day is a challenge. I was wondering if this would be a book only appreciated by someone with an interest in Michael J. Fox and a history of watching his movies and TV shows, but I think there is a lot to be found here for those who may not be familiar with Fox at all.

I contemplated whether I would give this book 4 stars or 5 stars. The content blew me away, but I was on the fence about whether the delivery moved me all the way to 5 stars. After writing this review and reflecting, I think I will go 5 stars because I am realizing how much this book already has me thinking about it and contemplating how I can use what I have read to improve my approach to adversity.
Profile Image for Rowan.
117 reviews223 followers
December 14, 2021
I loved this. It has been ten years since I read Always Looking Up. My Dad gifted me that one and he gifted me this too. It was just the kind of book I needed to read. I started reading it the day of my uncle’s funeral.

“Through my example of living with adversity, I was able to positively affect someone else’s life.”

Given my uncle’s passion for golf, I’m sure he would have approved of the various golfing anecdotes and analogies:

“I just deal with whatever presents itself. Sometimes I end up in the bunker, in the deep rough, or in the water. Carry on. If you’re going to do something, just do it.”

Things started out a little clunky and disjointed; feeling somewhat thrown together. The book soon fell into a nice rhythm though, with Michael’s writing style being a joy to read. I found it increasingly hard to put down. I didn’t want it to end - much like the Back to the Future trilogy.

We get Michael’s thoughts and feelings on a range of subjects; from touching chapters on his dog (Gus), to family (amazingly supportive wife Tracy), career, travels, health battles, TV-watching habits and even the pandemic. Michael’s trademark humour is throughout – it has been a while since a book has made me laugh out loud like this.

“Oh god. Keith Richards looks better than I feel.”

It’s also reassuring to know I’m not the only one struggling with the lingo of today:

“I have what? FOMO? Sounds like a fungus.”

Michael could easily be a travel writer and give the likes of Bill Bryson a run for his money. It was fun living vicariously through chapters depicting travel to the likes of Bhutan, India, and various other destinations.

“Never drive in a country that believes in reincarnation.”

Not so much fun, was reading about the various injuries and health battles plaguing Michael. It often felt like I was in the hospital room or rehab unit with Michael; such was his way to paint a picture of various situations.

Not only did I feel like I was with Michael during No Time Like the Future, but I increasingly felt I was Michael. I was surprised at the large number of things I could relate to. While I don’t have PD, it was touching that someone else understands certain things I experience. I feel less alone with my own health challenges.

“I can’t always go where they go, when they go there. My participation is syncopated.” - on time with his family.

I learned a lot about Parkinson’s reading this. It also gave me what felt a brutally authentic perspective of life in a wheelchair; enabling me to better understand what my own grandmother endured for over fifty years.

Gratitude was a strong theme in the book; a practice that Michael seemed to pickup from his inspiring late father-in-law Stephen.

“With gratitude, optimism becomes sustainable.”

This book helped me reflect on my own life and the things I’m grateful for. I’ll never take walking independently for granted again, after the grueling chapters depicting Michael’s rehab. Michael has taught me to focus on what I can do, instead of what I can’t.

“Instead of focusing on the notes I could no longer hit, I’d focus on my new instrument. It’s not an electric, it’s an acoustic.”

Michael is to be applauded for the level of vulnerability and openness he demonstrates; particularly when talking about mental health battles that accompany physical challenges. It’s clear he possesses a level of privilege most of us could only dream about, but it’s also apparent he has worked hard to achieve this. He displays a self-awareness and gratitude which balances it all out.

No Time Like the Future has its fair share of touching and emotional moments. Whether it be the pure love and support of his wife, or reflections on his dog’s old age; there was often something to make me smile, laugh or find common ground with.

I was amazed to learn the Fox Foundation has raised over $1 billion for Parkinson’s research. It’s a monumental achievement that no doubt has a positive impact on the lives of many - just as Michael’s No Time Like the Future has had on mine. Best book I've read this year.

“Whatever my physical circumstances are today, I will deal with them and remain present. If I fall, I will rise up.”
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
December 14, 2020
One of my top movies of childhood remains Back to the Future. Who would not want the ability to travel through time despite the ramifications that the movie trilogy presents. In fact, the seminal event of my life, the Cubs winning the World Series, is forever linked the second movie in this trilogy, earning the movies an everlasting special place in my heart. No I have not personally discovered time travel yet. If I did, I would go back to when the Cubs were cursed and prevent it from happening, negating their cameo appearance in these movies. The Cubs aside, I also enjoyed the movie for the on screen relationship of its main actors. To this day, it is hard for me to separate the actors from their personas of Doc Brown and Marty McFly.

I don’t know when I recalled knowing that Michael J Fox had Parkinson’s. He was first diagnosed in 1991 so it may have been lost in my youth. And kudos to him for taking part in Back to the Future Part III post diagnosis. Not to mince words, Parkinson’s sucks. I saw how Muhammad Ali received iconic status as much for coping with daily life with Parkinson’s as he did for being a prized boxer and civil rights activist. Over the last thirty years, Michael J Fox is known for having Parkinson’s (PD) as he is for playing the roles of Alex Keaton and Marty McFly. He has accepted his station in life in the only way that he can: with his optimistic outlook. I have read his other books about being an Incurable Optimist. No Time Like the Future, in homage to his now classic film, Fox takes readers down the road of what comes next. With his unique brand of humor and, of course, optimism, I knew that I would enjoy a bright light in an otherwise bleak year.

Michael J Fox is now approaching sixty years old, which is the average life expectancy for someone with Parkinson’s. He hasn’t driven a vehicle for ten years, has run his Fox Foundation for twenty, and tries not to let his Parkinson’s define his life, even though that is now inherent in who he is. Fox has been married to his wife Tracy for thirty years and they have four adult children who remain devoted to them. He golfs with the likes of Harlen Coben and George Stephanopoulos and still enjoys family vacations in Martha’s Vineyard and the Bahamas, albeit with limitations. Michael J Fox is still attempting to live life as an optimist whereas many in his position would not.

Yet, even he admits that being an optimist has its limitations. Two years ago he had a tumor removed from his spine. He had round the clock home care and has had to learn to walk with a cane. Golfing and acting: out of the question. Going to sporting events and concerts in a wheelchair: part of his new normal in life. Fox has come to the realization that only time he will see himself acting is on television. His new best companion is his dog Gus, although long time friends still come to visit him, rather than them engaging in physical activity. Fox sees that every day is a blessing even if it means physical therapy, doctors’ visits, and a cocktail of drugs to keep him on an even keel. After five decades in the public eye, Fox has come to terms with the hand he has been dealt and accepted it with grace and dignity, and attempts to remain optimistic despite all the pits and falls over the years. At least he knows that Alex Keaton and Marty McFly will remain after he is gone.

The Fox Foundation has raised $1 billion dollars for Parkinson’s research. Fox believes that one day hopefully soon, hopefully in his lifetime, that there will be a cure. The next generation will reap the reward that people like Ali and himself gave toward advancing science. Each year, the foundation stages a gala and honors those who have given back to the foundation among the last year. Fox lists these people who also live with Parkinson’s as his heroes. He says that it takes a village to deal with him today, so I would be remiss not to mention his wife Tracy and his kids who have handled their loved one’s diagnosis like true mensches. Being the optimist that I am, I hope that Fox and Tracy will enjoy another thirty or so years of marriage that one day is free of Parkinson’s.

4 stars
Profile Image for JD.
716 reviews334 followers
March 20, 2023
After reading many positive reviews of this book I was really looking forward to it and was left a little disappointed in the end. I just never got into his writing style and he does try to make too many jokes. The chapter about his golfing was the highlight of the book for me. I like Michael J. Fox as an actor a lot and has immense respect for him as a human and PD sufferer and activist, but the book was a huge let down for me, I probably expected too much from it...
Profile Image for Ray Edwards.
39 reviews6 followers
November 18, 2020
Michael J Fox tells a compelling story of how it’s possible to maintain optimism in the face of certainty that there is always adversity to come. This book is well-written, paced like a Harlan Coben suspense novel, and even though I already knew most of the story, it was full of surprises.

As a person with Parkinson's myself, it was amazing to see how skillfully Michael conveys the reality of having this disease without spending too much time (for “civilian readers”) dwelling on the details.

He doesn't write to make himself look good, he writes to make himself tell the truth. And the truth is powerful, without being preachy.

I won't spoil the experience for anyone, but I will say the way he ends this book is the most perfect grace note I could've imagined.

Thank you Michael, for reminding us all to keep looking to the future.
Profile Image for Danielle.
831 reviews450 followers
June 19, 2023
What child born in the 80’s doesn’t adore Marty McFly? 🤷🏼‍♀️ I listened to this one and loved hearing his voice telling his own story. ❤️ What a strong and inspiring story. 👍
Profile Image for Kon R..
241 reviews106 followers
July 29, 2021
How can someone not enjoy a book written by Michael J. Fox? Guy spews positivity in every sentence despite all of his health struggles. I learned a lot about his mental state and Parkinson's. I'm feeling smarter and in better spirits. The audiobook is narrated by him, which is both a blessing and a curse. About halfway through I was understanding his speech with more ease.
Profile Image for Bill.
939 reviews160 followers
January 23, 2021
Michael J Fox has had a very successful career in film & television, & being diagnosed with Parkinson"s Disease at the age of 29 did not deter him. He has continued to work & has set up a foundation for Parkinson's research which has raised huge amounts of money.
In this new memoir Fox looks at his work, his travels, his family & coping with a disease that can be physically & mentally exhausting.
I knew only a little about PD & one chapter in the book really brought home the day to day strugles he has to deal with. In it he describes how he walks from his New York apartment to the gym, which is housed in the basement of the building. It's a short walk down stairs, out of the building & around the corner & down into the gym. This previously simple walk is now a major journey, & is then followed by an hour of physical therapy. The way Fox describes the walk is both heartbreaking & uplifting at the same time.
There is a surprising amount of humour in the book & I love how Fox describes making a surprise visit to his 90 year old mother. He was careful that when they hugged his Parkinson's & her fragility didn't combine to make them both fall to the floor & suatain any injuries.
There are times when even Michael J Fox's eternal optimism leaves him. At one point he tries to cope with Parkinson's, a spinal condition & a broken arm. Any of these would be difficult enough, but all three together was devastating.
No Time Like The Future is a book that shows how someone can deal with the worst & keep hoping for the best. It's an inspiring read & I highly recommend it to anuone.
Profile Image for Julie.
2,011 reviews38 followers
March 9, 2021
This is the third book I have read by Michael J. Fox and my favorite.

My favorite quote: "Everyone has a bear inside they are wrestling with." So true!

Other standout quotes: "I always thought rock was a silly metaphor for a supportive family member. Rocks are solid, stubborn, and immovable. That's me. Tracy on the other hand has learned to keep the rock rolling (apologies to Keith)." I truly enjoyed reading about the loving relationship Michael J. and Tracy continue to share after 30 years of marriage.

"I am exhausted by effort already put in at Johns Hopkins and daunted by how much work I still have to do. It's like being nibbled to death by ducks." Referring to learning to walk again after intricate back surgery. I loved this insertion of humor despite the hardship he is describing.

"Shattered from shoulder to elbow it took meticulous surgery plus a half pound of cutlery to repair." More humor!

"As for the future, I haven't been there yet. I only know that I have one until I don't. The last thing we run out of is the future."
Profile Image for Clif Hostetler.
1,106 reviews748 followers
September 13, 2023
The author Michael J. Fox is a well known actor who has been living with early-onset Parkinson’s disease for the past thirty years. This book reflects on how PD affects his daily routines and has reoriented his career. He also expresses his appreciation for the medical research foundation that was establish in his name.

This book consists of a variety of vignettes describing various episodes in his life, most of which touch on ways in which PD has remained an ever present frustration. Then as if that wasn’t sufficient challenge he was diagnosed with a tumor in his spinal cord that threatened to paralyze him faster than PD.

The tumor was dealt with via surgery, and he was given strict orders to not fall because it might damage some of the delicate work of the surgery. Then he fell badly breaking an arm. Fortunately his back wasn’t effected, but his chagrin at not being sufficiently careful to avoid the fall was an issue he found emotionally more difficult to deal with than the PD or the spinal tumor.

Chapter 19 tells of a trip to Africa with friends. While touring a wildlife preserve it's pointed out that other members of the touring party don't need to worry about an attacking leopard because they can all run faster than Michael. Michael J. Fox then turns this fear of attacking leopards into a metaphor that describes his fear of the future.
That's life: the leopard you see; the one you don't see; and the one that prowls stealthily through your dark places. The first leopard for me, up to this point, is Parkinson's. I know its habits. I know its territory. I know it's cruelty. I know when it's safe to get out of the jeep and when it's not.

The second is the leopard I don't see. It's that gut feeling that something is wrong, very wrong. Something is out there waiting to pounce. No warning, no negotiation no accommodation., This foreboding is a recent development, something that is common for many of us in middle age, and which has intensified for me with the discovery and removal of the spinal tumor.

And then, with my fall in the kitchen a new existential crisis emerged. ... It's the unknown dangers that paralyze: Darkness. Confusion, Solitude. Vulnerability. Essentially blindfolded, grasping for a familiar shape, a handhold that is stable and can be trusted, but finding only the temporary and unstable as I negotiate my way pleading my case before gravity. The stakes are high; not only could I damage myself, I could harm others who share my space. I pray that I'll find my way, however unsure I may be of the path. (p.186)
... ... ...
In that same "nothing to fear" speech, Franklin D. Roosevelt also said, "Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment."

I accept the optimist part, but now, I also admit to its foolishness. (p.187)
There are lessons here for readers because we are all aging and many of the handicaps PD have placed on Michael J. Fox will eventually visit us in old age. Michael’s combination of optimism and foolishness might be insights we all need.

Notes taken by Brian Eshleman (G.R. friend) from this book:
Profile Image for Debbie Zapata.
1,832 reviews44 followers
December 27, 2020
Dec 25, 2020, 645pm ~~ Review asap.

Dec 26, 2020, 730pm ~~ The latest book by Michael J. Fox, this was published in November 2020 and has an epilogue dated August 2020, in which Fox comments briefly on the scariest topic of the year, the pandemic and how it has affected his life.

But long before we get to those pages, we see how early onset Parkinson's disease has changed the author's life during the twelve years since his last book was published. And you know, as if a incurable disease is not enough to deal with, Fox had other scary events to deal with, especially in 2018.

A tumor on his spinal cord. A fall which caused a horrendously fractured left arm. And of course the continuing deterioration due to his disease. In this book he allows the reader closer than ever to seeing just how this condition transformed him. Reading about the daily struggle can be a little overwhelming. More so for a person without any chronic condition of their own to cope with, I imagine. For myself, I recognize a partner in spirit. Fox would understand my own efforts to get through each day the same way I understand his. Underlying causes are different, but the need to pay attention to so many things that normal people are barely aware of? That is the same for us both.

The inside front cover actually sums it all up better than I can:
Thoughtful and moving, but with Fox's trademark sense of humor, his book provides a vehicle for reflection about our lives, our loves, and our losses.

I have a comment to make about the physical book itself. When I first opened it I saw that the endpapers had a surprising (to me) design on them: a repeated pattern of a dozen or so different line drawings. There is a park bench, a dog, golf clubs, a television set and others. At first I didn't understand why they were there. Most books these days don't have this kind of detail in the construction. The endpapers are either merely blank or at best with some sort of floral or abstract design. But these little images turned out to be significant in the author's life; another way to invite the reader in. Now I see those designs and I know exactly what they symbolize. It was, in my opinion, a brilliant piece of bookbinding.

Mr. Fox, after reading your three books, all I can say is thank you for having the courage to share. You are my hero. Be safe, and thanks for the lemonade.

Profile Image for Vannetta Chapman.
Author 134 books1,389 followers
February 21, 2021
This was an interesting book, and I'm glad I read it. To say that I come away from it with a heightened respect for MJF would be an understatement. And, as the parent of an adult child with a "catastrophic disease," I'm reminded, once again, what people in these situations face. The book is inspiring, in that way.

As a book though, it falls a bit short. The chapters are a bit disjointed. The point of view a bit distant. I found myself saying, "I really need to finish that book," which is usually not a problem for me. I was reading this for a book club so I felt I had to finish it; otherwise, I'm not sure I would have.

But that's me. I struggle with nonfiction. Maybe you don't! So if you're interested in MJF's story, give it a try.
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,820 reviews427 followers
June 11, 2022
It was a lot of fun reliving many iconic Michael J. Fox roles and hearing them from his viewpoint post-Parkinsons diagnosis. I listened to the audio, and he reads the biography himself, which at some points is slightly difficult to understand, but overall is fun to hear it in his voice.

I enjoyed it, but I guess I was considering a bit more substance with the title. Suffice to say that Michael J. Fox is accident-prone and has even worse luck than I do. I'm still a fan, and it's worth reading once at some point, but I am glad I got it from the library and didn't pay for it.

3 Stars
Profile Image for Mandy White (mandylovestoread).
2,136 reviews580 followers
November 27, 2020
When you think of Michael J Fox what do you think of? For me, a child of the 80's it is Alex P Keaton in Family Ties, Marty McFly in the Back To the Future films and Scott Howard in Teen Wolf. He is an actor that I have always admired and loved to watch anything that he is involved in.

At age 29, Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and his life changed forever. In this book he talks about his struggles with the disease as he gets older. He is an incredibly optimistic man but some of the things that he has been through in his life would get anybody down. On top of the PD he also had a tumor removed from his spine and has recovered from many bad falls where he has broken bones.

He is a family man, married for more than 30 years to Tracy Pollan and has 4 kids who are his world. His work with the Michael J Fox Foundation, raising money for Parkinson's research is also a big part of his life. He talks about his limitations, what he can do, and that he never gives up. And he is not at all bitter. His humour and outlook on life is inspiring, what a strong man.

I loved reading about his friendship with one of my favourite writers, Harlan Coben, and his attempts to play golf. Learning his thoughts on various film and TV roles that he has played was another interesting part of this book.

I loved this book, it was inspiring and motivational. At 59, he has no plans to slow down his life or career - good for him.

Thanks so much to Hachette Australia for sending this book my way.
March 3, 2023
I was always proud of Michael J. Fox as a Canadian and “Back To The Future Fan”. Astonished by his powerful writing talent, Mike became my favourite author! His work goes beyond comfort. His mastery with words, humour, and uncanny observations impress, soothe, and get me laughing so uncontrollably, I actually searched for evidence of new autobiographies in the works! I was ecstatic in 2020 with “No Time Like The Future”, when the Fox family blessed us with a new first edition to treasure!

A decade apart, these books share how his family is doing and grew into a series. I loved reading about the grown kids and both their Grandmas in their 90s! The Parkinson’s struggle currently requires mental concentration to walk. Mike decides if accompanying his family on outings would make it better or harder for them to have fun.

Pain revealed a spinal tumour. One doctor agreed to remove it. He should consult Donna Eden, whose techniques aid recovery and possibly Parkinson’s Disease itself.

I wonder how often he returns to Bhutan, where Parkinson’s Disease is miraculously gone. Some of the most gorgeous and wittiest writing comes from Bhutan’s landscape on page 43.

“What I see is so beautiful as to be impossible. Every turn of the head presents a new tableau, as basic as a splash of watercolour on a piece of parchment, as complex as the patterns in a peacock’s feathers. One such vista includes cranes, flying low in loose formation over the surface of a tumbling river, across a team of ponies. The landscape exists to be painted by a master”.

“It must be reported that almost every home is adorned with a larger-than-life-sized painting of a phallus. A cluster of three, arranged like flowers, creates a sort of bouquet of boners; penis portraiture”!
Profile Image for Greg Zimmerman.
829 reviews173 followers
January 14, 2021
Like Michael J. Fox, my dad fought Parkinson’s disease for nearly 30 years. And like Fox, my dad suffered just an absurdly unfair number of health calamities (the man barely had one calamity-free week since the Reagan Administration). And also like Fox, my dad couldn’t help but remain almost irrationally optimistic. It’s hard to fathom, really. But it’s amazing perspective. This book is about a particularly difficult year in Fox’s life, during which he has surgery to remove a spine tumor and then falls and shatters his arm not too long after. Even so, he remains optimistic (there are of course a few lapses into anger and despair, because of course there are) and this book is an explanation of how he does it. It’s a fantastic read — self-deprecating and just filled to the brim with goofy dad jokes — another thing Fox and my dad have in common. Loved this. Inspiring!
Profile Image for Laura Noggle.
682 reviews396 followers
March 18, 2022
Heartbreaking and endearing.

“With gratitude, optimism becomes sustainable.”

“When I visit the past now, it is for wisdom and experience, not for regret or shame. I don’t attempt to erase it, only to accept it. Whatever my physical circumstances are today, I will deal with them and remain present. If I fall, I will rise up. As for the future, I haven’t been there yet. I only know that I have one. Until I don’t. The last thing we run out of is the future. Really, it comes down to gratitude. I am grateful for all of it—every bad break, every wrong turn, and the unexpected losses—because they’re real. It puts into sharp relief the joy, the accomplishments, the overwhelming love of my family. I can be both a realist and an optimist. Lemonade, anyone?”

Profile Image for Leah.
664 reviews89 followers
January 14, 2021
Learned some things about Michaels life - the ups and downs, his family.

Learned the struggles that Parkinson's Disease brings and the degradation of health through life.

Even tough Mike went through depression he has an overall positive attitude and happy go lucky laid back outlook like it is what it is lets move on.

I was hoping to get long lasting insights or perspective afterwards but didn't.

I didn't know he was born and raised in Canada :)

Loved Back to the Future, Homeward Bound (voice of Chance), and Teen Wolf
Profile Image for Erin Clemence.
1,108 reviews323 followers
April 11, 2021
“No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality” is the newest memoir by Canadian actor and advocate, Michael J. Fox.

In “Future”, Michael is twenty-plus years into his Parkinson’s diagnosis, and he has come to terms with it (in every way he can). Now, he is watching his children embark on new adventures (high school graduation, new jobs) and occasionally appearing in cameo roles on hit television shows. When his health begins to seriously decline (separate from his Parkinson’s), he is faced head-on with his limitations, and begins to question his future.

Fox is hilarious, poignant and honest in this memoir. He is very open about his struggles in the past with alcohol, his Parkinson’s’ diagnosis and symptoms, and his mental health. He touts the support of his family as helping him get over his biggest hurdles, and, if anything, it made me love him more.

The novel is quiet short, which makes it an easy read. It is well-formulated, flows nicely and will have you running the entire gamut of emotions (laughing one minute, thoughtful the next) . I really enjoyed reading about Fox’s life from his eyes, and cheered him on as he overcame obstacles one by one. This memoir portrays Fox as a father, a husband, a patient and, more importantly, a human.
Profile Image for Joe Kessler.
1,964 reviews48 followers
February 15, 2021
I think most people probably have a fondness for actor Michael J. Fox, due to lingering affection for the beloved characters he's played, sympathy for the early-onset Parkinson's disease that reoriented his career and continues to affect his daily life, and appreciation for the medical research foundation he established with his wealth. But even with all that good will going into this latest memoir… it's simply not a very exciting read.

As a book, No Time Like the Future is disjointed and clipped, offering a variety of anecdotes that might be interesting at greater length but are seldom given enough space to breathe here. There's not much of an overall theme linking these reflections, and the author can be a tad exasperating as he name-drops his famous friends and all the cool vacation spots he's jetsetted to around the world or suggests that the universe wanted him to adopt a dog because he and his wife both happened to notice the same flyer for it. The subtitle is also misleading, although I don't know whether or not Fox supplied it -- he's not particularly optimistic within these pages, nor is he overly focused on considering death. He's just sharing a succession of unrelated comments that would likely make for engaging dinner conversation (so long as one could ask follow-up questions) but are not nearly as effective in this written format.

At its best, the title gives us an idea of what it's like to live with a movement disorder, planning out every physical motion yet still experiencing a disconnect with one's body, leading to spasms and frequent falls. But it's lacking the story to properly illuminate either that condition or his broader journey, which substantially weakens the text.

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Profile Image for Lynne.
306 reviews26 followers
February 20, 2021
I don’t usually read celebrity books. But I have always liked Michael J. Fox. And I knew this book was not specifically about him as an actor but how he is living with his health conditions.
I put a hold on the audio book, which said it would probably be available in 6 months. I thought perfect since I have all my current future reads already lined up. But the book became available much sooner like within 5 weeks.
I think I know why... because once you start listening it is hard to stop. Michael narrates the story himself, at times it is hard to understand him as Parkinson does over time impact your speech which he does address. But this is minor and does not detract from the enjoyment of listening to him tell his own story.
As I said, I was a fan of his before I read this and now I am even a bigger fan and so admire how he has handled all that life has thrown his way.
Profile Image for Kristi.
322 reviews1 follower
January 9, 2023
Listened to this audiobook on a recent car trip. It was narrated by Michael J. Fox himself. Yes, at times, it was difficult to understand him since he doesn't talk clearly anymore due to his disease, but also because I have a convertible with high wind noise even with the top closed. But I didn't care and I got the gist of the sentence even if I may have missed a word or two.

This book was everything I needed to listen to and I only wished I read this last year when I hit some dark times with my leg injuries. I can not be compared to what Fox endured and is still going through, but a lot of his feelings were exactly my feelings. Like him, I got tired of people telling me that I should be in a bubble/not to fall just as much he got tired of people telling him to not to fall. When he was finally recovering from his spine surgery, he fell and broke his arm setting him back more just like me. Months of PT and you just want to be done. For me, this book got me and my feelings. Also, I learned so much about his family that I guess I didn't really know. I love his family and his friendships. His wife is my husband in exactly the same manners and questions. He even would bring a notepad to the dr's office to write down notes when I had other ailments on top of the legs situation.

I highly recommend listening to this quick book to look at life differently. Plus, Fox is humorous.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,975 reviews53 followers
November 22, 2020
Michael J Fox has written a few books. However, this one is the first one I've read. He has such a positive message of getting through each day, even when the burdens are great. I'm not sure I could do it. This book had that same positive vibe. He has purpose and he knows it. It is greater than his trials. That is a message that I admire.

I also loved the title. It fit his story so well. I also enjoyed the titles of his chapters. He is personable and genuine in the telling of his story. So 4 stars.
Profile Image for Cathy.
487 reviews1 follower
November 29, 2020
It took me fully half of the book before I was fully invested in his story. It took me awhile to sort of "get" his humor and understand where he was really coming from, but ultimately, I felt again that I was sitting with a friend -- who wasn't asking for pity or anything really, but just making sense of his own life and his own circumstances and sharing the insights. You have to like MJF. And now I admire him, too.
Profile Image for Ricky McConnell.
137 reviews38 followers
January 18, 2021
Good book, nothing special. Reading about his battle with Parkinson's and other health issues makes me appreciate my health when it is going good. He is definitely a fighter and is human just like the rest of us. This would be a great read for anyone who is suffering from Parkinson's , or who has family who is. For those of us who grew up watching him on tv, you will enjoy this book as well. The book values strong family ties, good doctors, and has lots of empathy in it.
Profile Image for Repix.
2,224 reviews429 followers
July 27, 2022
El título no tiene nada que ver con el contenido, un montón de anécdotas inconexas de un hombre blanco, rico, privilegiado y con muchos amigos famosos.
No esperaba esta mierda, de verdad.
Profile Image for Lori  Keeton.
485 reviews120 followers
February 11, 2021
I have read two Michael J. Fox memoirs in the past month. It wasn’t planned but it just happened that the library said these are ready for you now. First I read Lucky Man which covered his early life and entrance into Hollywood and then the harsh reality of learning that he had Parkinson’s disease at age 29. It was eye-opening to read about how he learned to accept this lot in his life and be able to share it with the world. Now in No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, Michael J. Fox has lived with the disease as normally as possible for 30 years, still acting a bit and raising money for PD through his foundation. Much of the same can be said from my previous review except that he’s older now and has learned much more. He’s experienced some very serious health concerns including the need for a spinal surgery. His family has always been there for him especially his wife, Tracy. He talks so much about her support and love. Trying to maintain a normal life living with an incurable disease is not easy. He describes how his 58 year old body isn’t as adept as some 90 year old men - in his funny joking about himself way. There is a lot of humor throughout this memoir while mixed in with the realities of his limited mobility. He deals with not being as fast in his movement as he used to be as his brain has to break every little motion down into components. Even giving someone a hug requires stability and careful attention so as not to cause harm. Much of his last 10 years have been living with falling. Many times a day he finds himself on the floor.

When I think about walking, a word that now comes to mind is “deliberate.” I have to plan every step I take; no extraneous side trips or wasted effort. I have to think about the way I sit in a chair: Am I settled in the right way? I do an inventory of where my limbs are. All of this calculation and deliberation is rigorous work. Physical tasks are made more difficult by the need to break them down into all of their components. The required mental work is harder than the physical effort. I need to think about every step, which demands intense focus.

His is a movement disorder not a mental or emotional one, however it certainly can take a toll on these aspects of life as well. What has been hardest has been acknowledging that his movement is diminishing - never to get better. This reality check is very humbling to Michael J. Fox, a guy we think of as Marty McFly, full of vibrance and energy.

I couldn’t end my review without this classic line from Back to the Future:

Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one. – Doc Brown, “Back To The Future”
Profile Image for Cathryn Conroy.
1,074 reviews35 followers
August 3, 2021
You think your life is hard? Read this. You'll feel better. Even though Michael J. Fox is rich, famous, successful, and has a seemingly perfect family doesn't mean his life is easy. But he does have one thing that is priceless: optimism.

Written with wisdom, honesty, and compassion—and lots of laugh-out-loud humor—this memoir by actor Michael J. Fox, his third, is an exceptional read.

The star of the 1980s hit TV sitcom "Family Ties" and the lead in the incredibly successful "Back to the Future" movies, Fox isn't just another bratty actor with millions in the bank. He has Parkinson's disease, which he developed at the unusually young age of 29, and he has creatively used his celebrity pulpit by establishing the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, which has funded $1 billion in brain research.

This memoir, which mostly focuses on a particularly difficult year he had in 2018, is deeply personal and focuses on a time when Fox lost his optimistic attitude and the effect this loss had on his life. How he got it back is the heart of his story.

I'm amazed by how much Fox reveals to his readers, who are after all total strangers, about his precarious health, his darkest thoughts, and really personal details about his family. And that is exactly what makes this book so special and so worth reading. Forget that Fox is a celebrity (even though that's why the book was published) and just read it for the valuable life lessons he imparts.

Bonus: This is a serious book about a serious topic, but Michael J. Fox is wickedly funny. I have read so-called "humor" books that were far less funny than this one. I found myself smiling and chuckling a lot. Even the chapter titles are oh-so clever! It is these gentle insertions of Fox's dry wit when you least expect it and his unerring ability to turn something that could be tragic into a smile that speaks the most about who he is as a person. Even the acknowledgements chapter is embedded with jokes.
Profile Image for Darcy.
12.7k reviews445 followers
November 23, 2020
I grabbed this one when it showed up on my library's website due to nostalgia. I'm probably dating myself but I loved watching Family Ties and loved the teen movies that the author did in the 80's. Seeing this book I thought it would be an interesting read, more so knowing that he has Parkinson's and was diagnosed early with it. I knew he disappeared from acting for a while, but then came back and did some things, remember watching those, knew about his foundation for PD, but it was a very generalized knowledge. This book was more how his life has evolved since the PD, how hard the simple things are, how even though it's taking things he loves, like acting and golf, you attitude will make a difference. I think that in this time of covid the message is more important, sure you can focus on why things are bad or you can look to the what you have.
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