Friday, March 11, 2011
Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox
Last week I finally picked up his book. I actually had forgotten about wanting to read it until I saw it sitting there in the library. "Oh yeah...I wanted to read this." So, checked it out I did. As I mentioned, I liked the title -- cheery -- and I like the cover. Yes, come on, admit it. We all do judge a book by its cover. I know I do. That's not to say that I don't read some very plain covered books and find a story within the pages to be extremely entertaining. But, a catchy cover does get my attention -- and Mr. Fox's picture, with his blue eyes against the blue background, looking upward...it was pleasant. I like that little smile he has on his face. It's appealing and makes me feel happy. Optimistic. So, good job there on the cover.
However, when I started to read it, I was very disappointed. Today, Marcus asked me what I learned from reading the book. Good question. I couldn't answer because I really don't know. I supose I learned a little more about stem cell research from MJF's point of view, but even still...I'm not sure what I learned. There were parts that were just interesting and I appreciated hearing his stories. I appreciated his perspective on life. And, I was interested in what his life entails with Parkinson's and how that affects his family. What I was expecting was more of all of that though. I was disappointed with the language he used. Furthermore, I felt like he was using his book as a way to promote his political agenda. Instead of talking about his activism, explaining his drive and what got him to get so involved...he does that briefly and then spends quite a bit of time pushing his agenda. Perhaps that's not what he intended, but that is the feeling that I got, and that frustrated me. I'm not super into politics, but I know a little bit about what my own personal views are...and I was frustrated that in reading a book for enjoyment, I was fed his agenda. I don't know. Maybe I should have expected that, but I didn't.
Lastly, I take my personal faith pretty seriously. It defines me and the decisions I make. I was disappointed in some of the references and comparisons he made to things that I feel to be sacred. One time -- ok, I get the point you are trying to make. But when comparisons and references are made too much, I get uncomfortable.
I did find parts of the book to be worth reading. I am impressed with his drive. I'm impressed with his dedication and incurable optimism. I'm impressed with his family values -- how he and his wife love each other and work together -- how his children, and family, appear to be his number one priority. I have no reason to believe otherwise based on the love he expresses, the experiences he shares, and the decisions he's made along the way that affect his family. Do I think he's a good person? Yes. I do. I think Michael J. Fox is a great person who cares deeply and fights for those things that he feels are worth fighting for. I support some of those same things. Was his book worth reading? mmmmm I'm not sure. I think I liked my view of him better before having read his book. But, I wish him success is funding more research for PD and many blessings as he continues living life with his family. He certainly deserves all of that.