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Monday, June 28, 2021

What Is...A Wonderful Memoir By the One and Only Alex Trebek

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The death of Alex Trebek—long-time host of the trivia game show Jeopardy!—saddened all of his fans, including me.  I'm not the kind of person who cares much about celebrity gossip or Hollywood tell-alls, but I have wanted to read Trebek's memoir, The Answer Is..., ever since I first heard about it.  Since I'm always looking for entertaining audiobooks, I decided to listen to this one.  I'm glad I did, as it made me smile to listen to Trebek's antics told in his own voice, which is so familiar and soothing.  While the majority of the book is narrated by Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! champion and Trebek's successor on the show, I most enjoyed the portions voiced by Trebek himself.

Because Trebek has always projected such a serious, straight-laced persona on television and because he was dying as he wrote The Answer Is..., I expected the book to be a somber text full of deep, philosophical reflections on life and death.  It's not.  With an "It's all good" vibe throughout, the memoir is actually quite light and funny.  Told in short vignettes taken from Trebek's career and personal life, it's a fast read (or listen, in my case) full of humor and simple, down-home wisdom like these nuggets:
  • If you're not ten minutes early, you're late.
  • If it's a good idea, it doesn't matter if it came from the CEO of a company or the guy who mops the floors.
  • You're never as important as you think you are—just ask the queen!
  • A good education and a kind heart will serve you well throughout your life.
  • Always give back, even if your contribution is small.  (Note:  Trebek was a philanthropist who contributed to many charities.  All profits from the sale of The Answer Is..., in fact, will go to charity.)
Like Trebek himself, his book is charming, entertaining, and uplifting.  Although it's lightly peppered with F-bombs (Surprise!  Trebek had a bit of a potty mouth), it's a mostly clean read that exudes the television host's "warm bath outlook on life."  Hearing the author talk about his impending death gives The Answer Is... a poignant aspect as well.  Although I did shed a tear or two, mostly I smiled and laughed my way through this enjoyable listen.  If you're a Jeopardy! fan (or even if you're not), I highly recommend this book, especially in audio format.

(Readalikes:  I'm not a celebrity memoir person, so I'm not sure what to compare this one to.  Suggestions?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a handful of F-bombs, plus milder expletives)

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I've heard from a couple people that they enjoyed this book. I like that it's light and not just serious.

  2. (1) I read your review. (2) I bought the audiobook version even though I already have it on my Kindle. (3) I came back to write this comment.

    I've been on the fence about reading this because I thought it might be sad. Your assurance helped me get over that hurdle, and since I've loved Trebek's voice for decades, your telling me that I get to listen to it in this book... well, that was the clincher. Thanks!

  3. Swell guy through and through. What a great loss.

  4. This sounds like a great listen. There's no avoiding it getting a little sad an poignant, but it's nice to know that it's generally got a positive vibe to it.

  5. I have a copy of this one and I can’t wait to read it! Great review!

  6. Sounds like a great read!! I want to listen to this memoir as I love audiobooks. My family has been longtime Jeopardy fans. So saddened by Alex Trebek's death.


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