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The Big Question

2.74  ·  Rating Details ·  97 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
From the author of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind comes this satirical look at reality television. An aging game show host hopes to make a comeback with a new concept: answer the quiz show's final question correctly, and win $100 million; get it wrong, and get executed on live TV.
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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Nov 01, 2013 Cass added it
"Goodreads wants us - the passionate users, the activists - gone. We are a fly in the ointment, a gnat in the white wine of marketing feeds. They can't use our reviews on They contain .gifs, and profanity, and they are full of social stuff. We are talking to each other and not to the anonymous amazon customer who might want to buy the book in question."

This is the question posed by Moonlight reader. It is scary. I know this hullabaloo about reviews being deleted may seem, to some, li
Kerry Mccaskill
Jul 11, 2007 Kerry Mccaskill rated it did not like it
Perhaps the skull printed on the front cover of the book should have warned me that the book's contents were rancid. The premise of the book did sort of smell bad: a once-famous creator of game shows (a bum named Chuck Barris, wink wink) has an idea for a game show where contestants either win a huge sum of cash or, if they lose, they're executed live on tv. Sounds dreadful but Barris has written some interesting stuff so I figured maybe he could do something with the idea. After all, this is th ...more
Aaron White
Oct 08, 2015 Aaron White rated it it was ok
This book's premise was so interesting and ripe for creating a really interesting and fascinating story, and written by someone who has spent his life creating game shows! But it was extremely lackluster. The characters were completely unbelievable. Some were introduced and then discarded for absolutely no reason. The entire book seemed to start so many mini-stories that went nowhere. The point was to draw out the characters for us, but some characters stories were dropped, and some character's ...more
Oct 16, 2007 Shannon rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
This book was terrible--do not waste your time. I almost always finish a book, even if I don't like it, and I finally gave up at page 75 (which was a stretch). It's poorly written, very redundant and never gets to the point.
Feb 28, 2012 Daniel rated it did not like it
Chuck Barris is the creator and producer of such shows as The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Gong Show, so it's safe to say he knows a little something about television contests. However, if there's one thing that "The Big Question" proves, he certainly doesn't know much about writing.

"The Big Question" is the name of a theoretical television show, one in which the final contestant in the final round has the chance to win one hundred million dollars by correctly answering one big questi
Matthew Ciarvella
Dec 14, 2013 Matthew Ciarvella rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014
I didn't really start to enjoy the Name of the Wind until about the 200 page mark. I didn't start enjoying Game of Thrones until about page 150. That's just the way things go sometimes. Sometimes, a book takes a while to grow on you, but if you give it time and attention, it'll grow into something beautiful. Some books are like that. They ask a lot but they give a lot in return.

The Big Question doesn't really pick up until page 225. That's a long time to let a book grow, but it's not unreasonabl
Hey Sailor!
Jan 14, 2008 Hey Sailor! rated it liked it
Barris, the producer of 70s and 80s game shows (and self reported CIA agent?), self references several times in The Big Question. The obvious references (the cripple's name is Chuck Barris; mention of "that jerk on the Newlywed Game") make the reader wonder what other secret in-jokes may populate the novel.

The story is raw with many references to the darker side of life - racism, sexism, criminality. Many characters, while interesting and colorful, are detestable or pathetic. Almost all the main
Feb 21, 2008 Jenifer rated it really liked it
I saw Chuck Barris on a CNN show or something along those lines promoting this book and knew I had to read it. It is satirical, but when you think about the idea of a reality show called The Death Game, it really isn't that far fetched in the world we live in. I doubt we'll ever see anything so morbid, but who knows, I could very well be eating my words in the year 2040. The book is comical and insightful. It is makes you think what direction we are heading in as far as entertainment and poses t ...more
Feb 10, 2008 Roni rated it really liked it
This book is, at times, a tad difficult to follow. A couple times while reading it I had to stop and think to remember who the character was. But overall it was pretty good.

This book facinated me. Through all the twisted horrors of the world, it was entertaining. It is the kind of book where you never know what will happen next. I love those types and hate the ones with formula plots. This book definitly held my attention firmly.

And then there was the ending. I hoped a false hope of a happy endi
Jun 13, 2007 Lori rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2007june

As Adam quickly pointed out, Steven King has already done this idea (game show in which you either win or die). Unfortunately, that version was much, much better. The main reason? It actually deals with the alleged plot.

Most of Barris' 288 pages is about the characters who will -- or will not -- appear on the show. Their back stories are vaguely interesting, but only because you expect them to all come together in a dynamic way. They don't. In fact, some of the folks never even make it on t
Jun 07, 2008 Kerry rated it liked it
Not bad. It's from Chuck Berris (gong show host/crazy guy) and it's about this gameshow in 2012 that either you win 100 millon $'s, or you get executed on TV. According to him the right to do the show started when the "assisted suicide" law was overturned and you could do what you wanted with your body. Interesting...
Oct 02, 2007 Anastasia rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed this book, though the beginning was frustrating to get through. He introduced so many characters, and spend only a page or two on them at a time. It did finally come all together in the end, as I knew it eventually would. There were a few good laughs, and it was definitely an interesting concept.
Alegna Santos
Aug 09, 2015 Alegna Santos rated it it was ok
Not one of my favorites. . .
Jan 04, 2008 Brian rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
he created the gong show!!! why not give his literature a shot??
Feb 12, 2008 Deanna rated it liked it
Not big on suspense. Not what I'd call a real "page-turner" but I did enjoy this story. I really enjoyed the characters and the way the author described them.
Joseph Dion
Jul 31, 2012 Joseph Dion rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
Clever book about reality TV. A game show where if you miss the final question you are executed on live tv. Great characters and a real shocking ending. Recommended by Angela Laws. Thanks Angela.
Feb 03, 2011 Tira rated it did not like it
Shelves: uh-no
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!
Marjie Ervin
Marjie Ervin rated it liked it
Sep 19, 2012
Jon Phillips
Jon Phillips rated it it was ok
Oct 07, 2013
Margot rated it it was ok
Oct 19, 2009
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Apr 29, 2012
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Nov 12, 2012
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Jun 26, 2012
Hunter rated it really liked it
Mar 06, 2010
Mandy Ballinger
Mandy Ballinger rated it it was ok
Dec 12, 2012
Danielle Tanguay
Danielle Tanguay rated it liked it
Jan 16, 2014
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Dec 19, 2015
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Charles Hirsch "Chuck" Barris was an American game show creator, producer, and host. He is best known for hosting The Gong Show and creating The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. He is also a songwriter, who wrote the hit "Palisades Park", and the author of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, a story about himself that became a film directed by George Clooney.

Barris was born in Philadelphia, Pennsyl
More about Chuck Barris...

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