Reviews for The Answer Is ...

by Alex Trebek

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A memoir from the beloved host of Jeopardy.In brief chapters copiously illustrated with photographs, Trebek steers clear of deep introspection in favor of amusing anecdotes and fond recollections of a life he insists was not particularly exciting. Though the book was clearly prompted by a 2019 diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which the author notes, with typical understatement, has taken a toll on me, he doesn't dwell on his illness. Throughout the book, the tone is upbeat and infused with gratitude and humor. Trebek tells pleasant stories about the illicit distillery his father ran in the basement of the Sudbury, Ontario, hotel where he was a chef; the scrapes the author got into at a Catholic boarding school; the advent of his famous mustache and the repercussions when he precipitously shaved it off; and the jokes played on him while he was working on a newscast at the CBC. Trebek's firm sense of what he believes is mostly public knowledge, and its clear that much of his personal life is off-limits. Of his parents' difficult divorce, he writes that they were ill-suited, and he only provides a few sentences about the kind ofresentment he felt toward his mother for concealing for years the birth of a half sibling born after his parents' divorce. Jeopardy fans will be pleased to find that much of the narrative covers some of the shows memorable moments, including Trebek's musings on some of the big winners, comic interactions with contestants, and lists of celebrities who could have made it as contenders on regular Jeopardy rather than the easier celebrity versione.g., Michael McKean, Jodie Foster, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Aaron Rodgers. Readers will likely come away from the memoir feeling even more comfortable with the author than they already did.An amiable, enjoyable series of glimpses into the life of an avuncular figure. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A memoir from the beloved host of Jeopardy. In brief chapters copiously illustrated with photographs, Trebek steers clear of deep introspection in favor of amusing anecdotes and fond recollections of a life he insists “was not particularly exciting.” Though the book was clearly prompted by a 2019 diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which the author notes, with typical understatement, “has taken a toll on me,” he doesn't dwell on his illness. Throughout the book, the tone is upbeat and infused with gratitude and humor. Trebek tells pleasant stories about the illicit distillery his father ran in the basement of the Sudbury, Ontario, hotel where he was a chef; the scrapes the author got into at a Catholic boarding school; the advent of his famous mustache and the repercussions when he precipitously shaved it off; and the jokes played on him while he was working on a newscast at the CBC. Trebek's firm sense of what he believes is mostly public knowledge, and it’s clear that much of his personal life is off-limits. Of his parents' difficult divorce, he writes that they were “ill-suited,” and he only provides a few sentences about the “kind of…resentment” he felt toward his mother for concealing for years the birth of a half sibling born after his parents' divorce. Jeopardy fans will be pleased to find that much of the narrative covers some of the show’s memorable moments, including Trebek's musings on some of the big winners, comic interactions with contestants, and lists of celebrities who could have made it as contenders on “regular” Jeopardy rather than the easier celebrity version—e.g., Michael McKean, Jodie Foster, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Aaron Rodgers. Readers will likely come away from the memoir feeling even more comfortable with the author than they already did. An amiable, enjoyable series of glimpses into the life of an avuncular figure. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
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Jeopardy! host Trebek delivers an anodyne, anecdotal pass through his life. He touches on his childhood in Canada and his first jobs with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which led to game show hosting work in the U.S., and, in 1984, to the job that would make him a fixture of American pop culture. He peppers in some behind-the-scenes bits about ad-libbing during tapings, attributes his success as the show’s host to coming across as “comforting and reassuring,” and humbly, if implausibly, surmises that “you could replace me as the host of the show with anybody and it would likely be just as popular.” But much of the book addresses matters personal and political. He lavishes compliments on his “soul mate” current wife (sparing the details of his first marriage), champions family dinners, remarks upon his “deep love of horses,” and shares platitudes about his charitable work and support of the USO. His attempts to speak to pressing world events in a balanced fashion, however, come across as mushy; he gives superficial treatment to political crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic response, criticizing the federal government’s withholding of funds from blue states, and ends abruptly with fist-shaking at both political parties (“Enough!”). Trebek’s fans will no doubt appreciate this, but the lack of soul-searching will be a turn-off for those who don’t consider Jeopardy! to be appointment viewing. (July)

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