In his third memoir, Michael J. Fox shares personal stories and observations about his Parkinson's disease, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality.
Michael J. Fox reminds us that hope is an exercise and a discipline, not just a feeling or even a state of mind ... Introspective and poignant, No Time Like The Future is the latest installment in Fox’s series of reflections on just how hard-won that famous sense of hope is ... Though it skips around a bit, the story is mostly linear, carried by an easy, almost upbeat rhythm ... Fox’s belief in a positive outcome, or just making it through the current setback, rarely ever wavers. But his optimism isn’t of the borderline fatalistic variety, of keeping your fingers crossed that things will work out some way, somehow. The grim reality is that Fox and his family have been through these things before: injuries, hospitalizations, physical therapy. The author’s resolve has been burnished by adversity, something he shares with his loved ones. If his hope is unfaltering, it’s because the love and support from his family and friends is steadfast ... Despite the aforementioned production-style approach to the book, this darkest-before-dawn moment is less a narrative device than it is an epiphany. Fox is ready to acknowledge the tolls that time and Parkinson’s have exacted on him. He’s never lugubrious, even as doubts crowd out memories of happier times. Fox’s pluck still shines through, especially in the asides scattered throughout even the most troubling passages. His gratitude is also ever-present as he recounts the second act of his career ... Before meeting it head-on, Fox shows greater vulnerability than ever before by just sitting with it, and with the possibility that, despite his best efforts, things might not work out ... reflects both the culmination of his own philosophy and the greatest test of it.
Fox makes it through all this with both light humor and deep introspection: The entire book is well woven in a rich tragicomic tapestry. We make it through all the obstacles only for the book to be most heartbreakingly tagged with what will likely be a standard of 2020 memoirs: The epilogue that addresses the fact that the book launched amid one of human history’s greatest afflictions to date — our pandemic — and that we, just like Fox, are still struggling to see a way out ... Occasionally the many registers of the memoir fall into disharmony thematically: The dad jokes work well in the voicey-ness of the prose but distract when in, say, chapter-title placement ... Fox’s writing is at its best when it’s barreling into the demons ... Some of the most engaging parts are the ones where Fox’s past fame and his current fame intersect in awkward ways — the actor vs. the illness activist ... what makes the book a page-turner is its tenor: drolly conspiratorial, affably best-friend-y, infectiously convivial and unapologetically pensive. This a book you really hear whether you have the audiobook or not. The quality of the prose, the care in the pacing, the delight in storytelling, all made me reexamine why I read and write in this genre in the first place. In sharing so much of himself beyond buzz words and headlines, Fox has given us a gift we didn’t know to ask for, a gift that isn’t anywhere close to diminishing with his years. You get the feeling that even with these memoirs behind him and inevitable health hurdles ahead of him, many more chapters are yet to come.
... bracingly honest ... a memoir with an unusual sense of purpose, because it’s a book about Fox trying to figure out what his own sense of purpose is. And he writes it in a pithy, highly readable, present-tense bestsellerese. Granted, as he starts telling us about how and he and his wife found their dog while taking one of their regular breaks on Martha’s Vineyard, or talking about his happy struggles playing golf, you wonder if it’s straying into the more standard terrain of a famous man who has already told his story twice ... Never for long, and always for a reason. Nobody could read this book without ending up with the utmost respect for Fox’s fortitude and a palpable sense of the love between him and his wife and family. He puts us into the heart of what it’s like to live with this disability, where every movement is a challenge, where you might prefer walking on stairs to walking on pavements because the terrain is more predictable ... Fox is wonderfully lucid as he explains exactly how Parkinson’s manifests itself ... Fox tells his story vividly with plenty of quips and self-deprecation. The most compelling moments, though, are when he questions his can-do spirit, when he asks at what point positivity becomes self-deception ... Fox knows what he has to be thankful for, knows what he has achieved, so his humility doesn’t feel faux. And it’s all the more moving when he ends up by putting his personal issues in the context of the whole world’s annus horribilis in 2020.