Lucky Man: A Memoir

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Fox, Michael J.

The remarkable memoir of film star Michael J. Fox and his first ten years living with Parkinson's Disease. Diagnosed in 1991, Michael eventually lost his balance, his grace, his spontaneity, and the ability to read the morning newspaper. Even so, he realizes that, in fact, he is a lucky man.

The same sharp intelligence and self-deprecating wit that made Michael J. Fox a star in the Family Ties TV series and Back to the Future make this a lot punchier than the usual up-from-illness celebrity memoir. Yes, he begins with the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the incurable illness that led to his retirement from Spin City (and acting) in 2000. And yes, he assures us he is a better, happier person now than he was before he was diagnosed. In Fox's case, you actually might believe it, because he then cheerfully exposes the insecurities and self-indulgences of his pre-Parkinson's life in a manner that makes them not glamorous but wincingly ordinary and of course very funny. ("As for the question, 'Does it bother you that maybe she just wants to sleep with you because you're a celebrity?' My answer to that one was, 'Ah...nope.'") With a working-class Canadian background, Fox has an unusually detached perspective on the madness of mass-media fame; his description of the tabloid feeding frenzy surrounding his 1988 wedding to Tracy Pollan, for example, manages to be both acid and matter-of-fact. He is frank but not maudlin about his drinking problem, and he refreshingly notes that getting sober did not automatically solve all his other problems. This readable, witty autobiography reminds you why it was generally a pleasure to watch Fox onscreen: he's a nice guy with an edge, and you don't have to feel embarrassed about liking him. --Wendy Smith

Discussion Guide: 

How much did you know about this person before reading the novel?

What did you think about this person prior to reading it?

Now you have read more about this person, has your opinion changed?

Do you like this person more or less?

How would you describe this person?What is their most impressive quality?

What has this person contributed most to the world?

If he/she hadn't been around, would the world be any different? What would have changed?

Is there any particular aspect of their life that shocked or surprised you?

Were there any parts of the book that did not ring true? Which?

Were there any parts of the book/their life where you would have liked more information?

Were there aspects of the book/their life that were too detailed? Which?

Can this person write or is it just a great story? How much help do you think the author has had to write the book?