Combining his trademark ironic sensibility and keen sense of the absurd, he recounts his lifefrom his childhood in a small town in western Canada to his meteoric rise in film and television which made him a worldwide celebrity. Most important however, he writes of the last 10 years during which-- with the unswerving support of his wife, family, and friends- he has dealt with his illness. He talks about what Parkinsons has given him: a chance to appreciate a wonderful life and career and the opportunity to help search for a cure and spread public awareness of the disease. He is a very lucky man indeed.
Michael J. Fox is donating the profits from his book to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research, which is dedicated to fast-forwarding the cure for Parkinsons disease.
A surprising pair of celebrity memoirs
In our celebrity-crazed culture, it's no surprise that the memoirs of two well-known television personalities are causing a stir in the book world. Michael J. Fox and Rosie O'Donnell both have books hitting the shelves this month, sending media outlets into angry squabbles over exclusive coverage and pre-publication leaks. The book-buying public is expected to join the frenzy, plunking down plenty of hard-earned cash to read the first-person, from-the-heart stories of this unlikely pair.
First up is Fox, whose eagerly awaited autobiography, Lucky Man, goes on sale April 2. Widely admired since he burst onto the scene in 1982 as Alex P. Keaton on television's Family Ties, the Emmy-winning actor revealed in 1998 that he had been diagnosed several years earlier with Parkinson's Disease, a degenerative and currently incurable condition. Since stepping down from his starring role in Spin City, the actor devotes much of his energy to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, which will receive all his proceeds from the book.
Lucky Man chronicles Fox's journey from his home in Edmonton, Alberta, through his rise to stardom, the years of secrecy concerning his illness and his eventual decision to go public with his diagnosis. Although he had never written a book before, Fox decided to forego the usual celebrity route of hiring a ghostwriter. He preferred to tell the story in his own voice, relying on his brother-in-law, writer Michael Pollan (Botany of Desire), for advice. Steering clear of the "kiss-and-tell, name-dropping" memoirs of many stars, Fox focuses instead on what he calls "the gift" of his illness and the way it has transformed his life.
Rosie O'Donnell also appears to have done without a ghostwriter in turning out the slender volume Find Me (Warner, $23.95, 192 pages, ISBN 0446530077), which has an April 16 on-sale date. Fans will hear Rosie's authentic voice ringing loud and true through this raw, emotional and powerfully honest story about loss and obsession. Although much of the advance publicity about the book concerns Rosie's coming out as a lesbian, the narrative makes only brief passing references to her current partner, Kelli, and a previous relationship with another woman.
Rosie devotes most of the book to her obsessive attachment to a young girl who made contact with the star by phoning her adoption hotline. (The television host and comedian is an active supporter of a nonprofit adoption agency and the mother of three adopted children.) "Stacy," who said she was a 14-year-old rape victim, began calling Rosie at all hours of the night to talk about her problems. A self-professed "savior" who feels compelled to rescue lost causes, Rosie became deeply involved with the girl despite the warnings of suspicious friends. In telling this fascinating tale, she deftly weaves in accounts of her own heart-breaking trials as a young girl struggling to deal with the death of her mother. Rosie's endearingly self-effacing style and frank portrayal of events will keep readers hooked. And as the story comes to its surprising end, they are likely to find themselves either appalled at her gullibility or struck by her boundless compassionpossibly both.