"No Time Like the Future" | Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider
If you’re like me, you might need an inspirational boost in this strange holiday season—a read to help you realize how much you have to be grateful for.
Michael J. Fox’s newest memoir offered me a panacea, a shot of feel-good laced with gratitude. I got that and more from “No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality.”
Early-onset Parkinson’s changed Fox’s life path when he was in his 20s, a diagnosis he kept quiet for a while, from everyone but his wife Tracy. (The couple has been married 30-plus years and have four children, the oldest a son, age 30; twin daughters in the middle; and a daughter who graduated high school in 2020.)
Fox was drinking heavily the first three years of his son’s life, and he’d just found out he had Parkinson’s during that time too, muddying his successful acting career and leaving him feeling doomed about his future. He was struggling mightily when his wife confronted him about his drinking. Fox realized he had to change and still attends a 12-step group.
“Gradually, I learned to accept and understand my new illness. I could put down a drink, but Parkinson’s would be with me for the rest of my life.”
Fox writes about acting, his family, his beloved dog, work with the Parkinson’s foundation he formed, and golfing with his buddies, one of whom is author Harlan Coben. In recent years, Fox has had to give up the game, but rather than being embittered he’s thankful for having enjoyed the links for so long.
Fox’s can-do attitude permeates this inspirational book—acceptance about what is rather than constant wishing for what could be. Fox has not only had to deal with Parkinson’s, and its physical and mental symptoms, but also weather falls resulting from his impairment. Add to that, intricate surgery to remove a benign growth on his spine, unconnected to Parkinson’s but certainly complicated by it, his recovery long and arduous.
Fox doesn’t maintain a Pollyanna outlook in “No Time Like the Future,” but rather a realistic one in which he admits to bad days. He faces his fears, feels them and plows ahead despite knocks that would flatten folks with less pluck. This wise, philosophical memoir touched me to tears.