Michael J. Fox Explores Big Questions in New Book: 'Who Am I?... I Think I’ve Figured It Out'
The star will share "stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality" in his fourth book
Michael J. Fox is proving to be as passionate about writing as he is about acting.
The Emmy award-winning actor announced on Thursday that he’s written his fourth book, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, which will be released on Nov. 17, 2020, by Flatiron Books.
“What’s exciting for me is that this new book is less memoir and more perspective — I consider questions I believe we all have about our lives,” Fox, 58, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. “Who am I? Where am I? Where am I going? I don’t want to give anything away, but I think I’ve figured it out.”
The Back to the Future star was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that causes tremors throughout the body, in 1991. Later, he founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which funds important Parkinson’s Disease research. In Fox’s memoirs Lucky Man and Always Looking Up, he revealed how he processed the diagnosis and maintained his optimistic spirit.
“In No Time Like the Future, [Fox] reassess this outlook, while sharing stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality,” according to the book’s description. “Flourished with Mr. Fox’s trademark sense of humor, he provides a vehicle for reflection about our lives, our loves, and our losses.”
In March 2019, Fox told the New York Times about the new health problems he was facing, which prompted him to opt into spinal surgery the month prior.
“I was having this recurring problem with my spinal cord. I was told it was benign but if it stayed static I would have diminished feeling in my legs and difficulty moving,” the star told the paper. “Then all of a sudden I started falling — a lot. It was getting ridiculous.”
Fox explained that he “was trying to parse what was the Parkinson’s and what was the spinal thing.”
Despite six months of intensive physical therapy after the surgery, Fox had a hard fall. “It was such a blow,” he told the Times.
“I try not to get too New Age-y. I don’t talk about things being ‘for a reason,'” he continued. “But I do think the more unexpected something is, the more there is to learn from it. In my case, what was it that made me skip down the hallway to the kitchen thinking I was fine when I’d been in a wheelchair six months earlier? It’s because I had certain optimistic expectations of myself, and I’d had results to bear out those expectations, but I’d had failures too. And I hadn’t given the failures equal weight.”
Beyond Fox’s new mindset about life and illness, the book will also explore his connection with family and friends. For over 30 years, Fox has been married to Tracy Pollan, 59, who supported him while he navigated his diagnosis and his struggles with alcoholism. They share three children: son Sam Michael, 30, twin daughters Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances, both 25, and daughter Esme Annabelle, 18.
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“I’m so blessed with a great family, and I’ve had success in my career,” Fox told PEOPLE in 2006. “I feel this is a really unique opportunity for me to help out and try to effect change.”
No Time Like the Future is Fox’s latest attempt to do just that.
“Only Michael J. Fox could write about such difficult subjects with such warmth, wisdom and humor,” Flatiron’s president and publisher Bob Miller said in a statement. “We’re so proud to publish this book, a book that will add meaning to the lives of everyone who reads it.”
No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality will be released on Nov. 17, 2020.