Book Review: No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (Three Stars)

Book Review: No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (Three Stars)

“I try not to get too New Age-y. I don’t talk about things being ‘for a reason.’ But I do think that the more unexpected something is, the more there is to learn from it. In my case …”

2018 was annus horribilis for Michael J. Fox. In this book he tells it all. Eventually. First, he gives a hundred plus pages of backstory, with flashbacks inside the flashbacks. No trivia is too small to include. (Is Fox a Kardashian?) Some humor. My rating started at four stars, sank quickly to three, and bounced off two several times. Three may be a gift, but … it isn’t a bad book. (Look for it on clearance.)

“I’m not sure it ever did, but especially now, my work as an actor does not define me. The nascent diminishment of my ability to download words and repeat them verbatim is just a ripple in the pond.”

Shifting tenses throw the reader out of the flow. It’s almost as if he cut-and-pasted material from several sources, then no one proofread the result. Pointless meanderings to fill pages? Like Seinfeld, a lot of talk about nothing. Note to self: Don’t stand next to MJF. He’s a lightning rod for disaster.

“Risk is part of who I am; it is encoded in my DNA. Teens lack a fully formed prefrontal cortex; they can’t reliably assess risk. I was the poster boy for this developmental delay.”

(Which is why 18-years-olds should not vote. Yes, I thought that when I was eighteen.)

Plugs for his eponymous foundation appear every twenty pages. After vowing he’s not Hollywood, he gives directions to his sidewalk star. And tells you which magazines he’s on the cover of.

“Have I oversold optimism as a panacea, commodified hope? Have I been an honest broker with the Parkinson’s community? My optimism is suddenly finite.”

Lots of name dropping. I guess Hollywood/New York folks feel the need to remind you how well connected they are. Golf? Bhutan? Africa? A tattoo? Diary of an overachiever who can’t come to grips—no matter what he says—that he isn’t. Snubs Ronald Reagan’s offer to appear on his show, then accepts an invitation to dine at the White House and discovers “he was a genial and welcoming host.” “People are not always as advertised.”

“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 can be both a realist and an optimist.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (Three Stars)

  1. I’m guessing he did the best he could. He’s not literary for sure. Maybe too proud to hire an editor, too bad. Yet I admire his grit, he has lost a lot.

    • It was a gift. I wanted to like it because I’ve also enjoyed his acting, though I missed most of his TV series while stationed overseas. My sons still say I deprived them of normal childhoods. Instead of TV and pop music, they got the Pyramids, Hagia Sophia, the Parthenon, Rome, Berlin, Stonehenge, Loch Ness, plus castles, cathedrals, battles fields, and museums. Oh, and skiing in the Alps and swimming in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

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