Sunday, March 28, 2021

Book Review: "The Answer Is...: Reflections on My Life" by Alex Trebek

I'll admit I waited a while before reading Alex Trebek's The Answer Is..., reflections on life from the late game show host and television icon.

“...even if you are learning facts that you are not going to be able to use in your daily life, it enriches you—the fact itself just enriches you as a human being and broadens your outlook on life and makes you a more understanding and better person.”

I watch very little television, but watching Jeopardy every night has definitely been a ritual for many years, and I love playing along with (and sometimes doing better than) the contestants. I took the online quiz 10 times over the years and passed, and even went to take the in-person text nearly 30 years ago in Atlantic City, but never got the call to move to the next round. 😒

When Trebek announced he had pancreatic cancer, it felt like it happened to a family member, since I have been watching him all these years, and I was so sad when he died. I watched his last episode while sobbing and I still expect Johnny Gilbert to say his name when announcing the guest host.

The Answer Is... isn’t quite a memoir, but more reflections on his life—his childhood, family, ambitions, how he got into television, his career, his family, much about Jeopardy, and his thoughts on his impending mortality. He was wickedly funny and of course, as expected, there are moments of beauty and poignancy, as he speaks of his beloved wife and children.

As an avid game show watcher growing up, I remember him long before he started hosting Jeopardy, so this book was such an enjoyable read for me, but of course, one that left me teary-eyed at the end. (This is why I waited so long to read it.)

Even though I’ll never get to tell Alex I’d like to make it a true daily double, I’m grateful I was witness to a portion of his remarkable career and personality.

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