Life Itself

A Memoir
Ebert, Roger (Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Life Itself
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Baker & Taylor
The film critic best known for his "Chicago Sun-Times" reviews and his thirty years as co-host of "Siskel & Ebert at the Movies" describes his life and career, including his recovery from alcoholism and the complications from thyroid cancer treatment.

Hachette Book Group
Roger Ebert is the best-known film critic of our time. He has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and was the first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. He has appeared on television for four decades, including twenty-three years as cohost of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies.

In 2006, complications from thyroid cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career.

Roger Ebert's journalism carried him on a path far from his nearly idyllic childhood in Urbana, Illinois. It is a journey that began as a reporter for his local daily, and took him to Chicago, where he was unexpectedly given the job of film critic for the Sun-Times, launching a lifetime's adventures.

In this candid, personal history, Ebert chronicles it all: his loves, losses, and obsessions; his struggle and recovery from alcoholism; his marriage; his politics; and his spiritual beliefs. He writes about his years at the Sun-Times, his colorful newspaper friends, and his life-changing collaboration with Gene Siskel. He remembers his friendships with Studs Terkel, Mike Royko, Oprah Winfrey, and Russ Meyer (for whom he wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and an ill-fated Sex Pistols movie). He shares his insights into movie stars and directors like John Wayne, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese.

This is a story that only Roger Ebert could tell. Filled with the same deep insight, dry wit, and sharp observations that his readers have long cherished, this is more than a memoir-it is a singular, warm-hearted, inspiring look at life itself.

"I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."

& Taylor

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic best known for his Chicago Sun-Times reviews and his 30 years as co-host of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies describes his life and career including his recovery from alcoholism and the complications from thyroid cancer treatment. 200,000 first printing.

Authors: Ebert, Roger
Statement of Responsibility: Roger Ebert
Title: Life itself
a memoir
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Pub., 2011
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: ix, 436 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm.
Subject Headings: Ebert, Roger Film critics United States Biography
Topical Term: Film critics
LCCN: 2011022442
ISBN: 9780446584975
Branch Call Number: B Ebert E
Research Call Number: MFL 13-85
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From the critics

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Aug 29, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

In his autobiography, Ebert comes across as the life of a lifelong party. Tales from childhood, interviews with film stars and directors, funny and touching stories about colleagues, and essays about trips unwind before the reader in a series of loosely organized, beautifully written essays. In light of his recent struggles with thyroid cancer and surgeries resulting in loss of speech and ability to eat, he comments “I may seem tragic to you, but I seem fortunate to myself.” Two thumbs up!

Jan 24, 2014
  • Ron@Ottawa rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The late Roger Ebert is a good writer, and I have always enjoyed his film reviews. This book is probably his last work. Many interesting period pieces, but I skipped some of those on his family as I find them repetitive. The final several articles are particularly interesting - from a man of no religious belief facing imminent death. A good read overall.

Oct 07, 2012
  • Ellington4 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A terrific read! Ebert is funny, moving, intensely honest and ultimately an extremely heroic character. His story is very colorful, and in his life he has displayed extraordinary courage.

Nov 07, 2011
  • GummiGirl rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

An entertaining memoir, if somewhat repetitious. I would have preferred reading more about his career and less about his friends and family, but he does evoke childhood in mid-20th century Urbana, Illinois, very well.

Great memoir about movies and much more -- indeed, the title says it all: this is about life itself. Ebert talks about his professional life but also talks about his childhood, his struggles with addiction, his friendships and his illness and disability. Highly recommended.

Oct 13, 2011
  • okbookgirl rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This candid, poignant and funny memoir wanders around a fair bit --- but that is not a criticism. Ebert writes about his early life, and his work relationships with fellow journalists, t.v. co-hosts, movie stars and directors. But, this is also an exploration of his former addiction and his very public illness and subsequent disability. Look online for Ebert's TED talk - "Remaking My Voice" - that is a fascinating account of how he is using technology to remain connected and active in the world.

Oct 12, 2011
  • ronandlynda rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

If you read one non-fiction book this year pick this one, you will not be disappointed.


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