CC's Reviews > Life Itself

Life Itself by Roger Ebert
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
F_50x66
's review
Feb 16, 12

Read in February, 2012

I think Roger Ebert is a fantastic critic and writer. I love his movie reviews and his uncanny, conversational ability to be your ally when exploring film. He never takes cheap shots at actors or directors to make himself seem superior the way some critics do. He won a Pulitzer. He's survived cancer. He can no longer speak, or eat, and still faces the world with wonderment and grace. Frankly, I admire him.

However, this book was a bit of a puzzlement to me. I feel like I know more about him through his movie reviews than I did when reading this, his memoir. The usual Ebert voice was gone, and in its place, was a rather dry, fact-based journey through his life. I know what happened, but not necessarily how he felt about any of it. On the whole, the pages are void of emotion. I can't figure out why, but I felt detached, the book holding me at arm's length even as it detailed private moments and personal triumphs.

Regardless, this is an interesting man with many accomplishments, and oddly, he admits, most of them just suggestions by other people. "Hey, want a job at this newspaper?" "Hey, want this job on TV arguing about movies?" In today's cut-throat world you'd need blind ambition, a shocking amount of connections, and even then you'd still have to claw your way to the top. Not so for Ebert. He became the Sun-Times movie critic, because, after six months of working there, someone said, "Hey, kid, wanna write the movie reviews?" and thus, Ebert was born. Very funny that he turned out to be so very good at it.

I liked the Siskel parts and all the stuff involving Ebert's wife, Chaz, who seems like someone I'd like. But, really, unless you're a die hard Ebert fan, you'll learn more about him through his movie reviews than you will this book.



5 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Life Itself.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Joshua I had the same reaction. The book is swamped in the minutia of memory instead of the way more interesting relationships with people.


message 2: by CC (new) - rated it 3 stars

CC Joshua wrote: "I had the same reaction. The book is swamped in the minutia of memory instead of the way more interesting relationships with people."

I agree. I thought it was honest in places -- his own alcoholism; his demanding alcoholic mother and how her disapproval hampered his dating life. But because every random moment and random person in his life were bestowed with this same level of importance, it gave the effect of none of it being "really" important.


back to top