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Always Looking Up: the Adventures Of An Incurable Optimist    by Michael J. Fox Amazon.com order for
Always Looking Up
by Michael J. Fox
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

It's been about seven years since actor Michael J. Fox published his bestselling Lucky Man, the story of his acting life and how his world changed when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Fox now returns with Always Looking Up, which documents his life after the release of Lucky Man. In it he talks about the creation of one of the most successful charities ever, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, and how he has continued to always stay positive.

Fox explains himself as an incurable optimist who always stays positive. He opens the book with the beginning of an average day in Michael J. Fox's life, as he slowly gets out of bed, dealing with dystonia which cripples his feet. He talks about the meticulous steps he must take to get up of a morning, put on clothes and slippers, go to the bathroom, and make it to breakfast while battling with constant tremors, as his limbs move in all directions at once.

It is a harsh and sobering look at Fox's life that immediately makes the reader realize two things: 1) their daily ablutions are nothing compared to Fox's, and 2) how incredible it is for a man whose every day is like this to keep a positive attitude and live life to its absolute fullest. While a lot of this courage and optimism comes from within Fox, he is quick to point out and almost obsessively repeat that it is not solely because of him, but due to other factors such as work, politics, faith, and family. He dedicates the book to his wife and children, then proceeds to tell his story for the next two hundred pages, constantly reminding the reader that without these people in his life, he wouldn't have made it.

Always Looking Up is divided into four parts, in which Fox discusses different subjects as opposed to going through his last seven years chronologically. In Work he tells about when he made his decision to leave Spin City while confronting a turtle in Caribbean waters no less! and how he went about setting up the Michael J. Fox Foundation, at first with the help and advice of Lance Armstrong.

In the second part, Politics, Fox discusses his developing level of activism throughout the Bush administration and the important 2006 election. In Faith, Fox admits he has never officially subscribed to a named religion, but nevertheless maintains a faith in everything he does, adhering to tenets that are common to all religions. In the final part, Family, Fox pours out his heart about his own parents and siblings, growing up in Canada, his incredible children, and his remarkable wife - who have all been his foundation.

Fox started the Michael J. Fox Foundation at first to find a cure for Parkinson's disease, but it has since become an important charity not just for Parkinson's, but for the driving spirit to help others in need and make this world a better place. Fox asked for a deadline for curing Parkinson's when he began the foundation; that deadline has now passed. Yet Fox continues his work, his hope, his optimism, offering advice to all others who have ever doubted something. It's very easy to just give up. Michael J. Fox is someone who has never done that.

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