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The Answer Is . . .
Reflections on My Life
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A RECOMMENDED SUMMER READ BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, TIME, AND NEWSWEEK Longtime Jeopardy! host and television icon Alex Trebek reflects on his life and career.Since debuting as the host of...
A RECOMMENDED SUMMER READ BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, TIME, AND NEWSWEEK Longtime Jeopardy! host and television icon Alex Trebek reflects on his life and career.Since debuting as the host of...
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  • A RECOMMENDED SUMMER READ BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, TIME, AND NEWSWEEK

    Longtime Jeopardy! host and television icon Alex Trebek reflects on his life and career.
    Since debuting as the host of Jeopardy! in 1984, Alex Trebek has been something like a family member to millions of television viewers, bringing entertainment and education into their homes five nights a week. Last year, he made the stunning announcement that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. What followed was an incredible outpouring of love and kindness. Social media was flooded with messages of support, and the Jeopardy! studio received boxes of cards and letters offering guidance, encouragement, and prayers.

    For over three decades, Trebek had resisted countless appeals to write a book about his life. Yet he was moved so much by all the goodwill, he felt compelled to finally share his story. "I want people to know a little more about the person they have been cheering on for the past year," he writes in The Answer Is...: Reflections on My Life.

    The book combines illuminating personal anecdotes with Trebek's thoughts on a range of topics, including marriage, parenthood, education, success, spirituality, and philanthropy. Trebek also addresses the questions he gets asked most often by Jeopardy! fans, such as what prompted him to shave his signature mustache, his insights on legendary players like Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer, and his opinion of Will Ferrell's Saturday Night Live impersonation. The book uses a novel structure inspired by Jeopardy!, with each chapter title in the form of a question, and features dozens of never-before-seen photos that candidly capture Trebek over the years.

    This wise, charming, and inspiring book is further evidence why Trebek has long been considered one of the most beloved and respected figures in entertainment.

About the Author-

  • Alex Trebek hosted the syndicated quiz show Jeopardy! for thirty-seven seasons, earning him seven Daytime Emmy Awards—including a Lifetime Achievement Award—and the Guinness World Record for most episodes of a game show hosted by the same presenter. Prior to Jeopardy!, he hosted various other quiz shows including The Wizard of Odds and High Rollers. He began his career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, working there for more than a decade. He graduated from the University of Ottawa and held honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa and Fordham University. He worked with the humanitarian organization World Vision since the early 1980s, and contributed to various other philanthropic organizations, including the USO, UNCF, National Geographic Society, and the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission. Originally from Sudbury, Ontario, he resided in Los Angeles with his wife, Jean, until his death in 2020.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2020
    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(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 24, 2020
    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.

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