The Answer Is…Reflections on My Life – 4 Star Review

“…most of the great accomplishments of the world have not been made by people who were certain.”

-The Answer Is…Reflections on my Life by Alex Trebek

I am most certainly not a person that could even hope to compete on Jeopardy but I’m one of the millions of people who grew up with the show and have discovered (and promptly forgotten) all kind of interesting new trivia facts. Jeopardy lovers were united in our sadness when Trebek first announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2019 and grieved together upon his death in late 2020. Trebek was a familiar face for many, as he graced our television five nights a week, but not a lot was known about him. Trebek comments in his book that he was asked several times to make a memoir prior to his diagnosis and he always turned it down. He feels his life is not overly exciting or “memoir-worthy”. Seeing the end date of your life can cause second thoughts I imagine, so Alex gave us a few memories of his childhood, his path on becoming the host of Jeopardy, and a glimpse into his final years.

I listened to the audio book for The Answer Is… as I usually find I enjoy memoirs substantially more when they are read by the author. In this book, Trebek narrated the beginning and ending chapters, with a few chapters of importance (like meeting his wife) in between. The rest of the book was narrated by Ken Jennings. It wasn’t stated as to why it was done like this, but I can only speculate that the chemo Trebek was going though made narrating an audio book too strenuous for him. Regardless of the why, the audio book was still enjoyable, especially since if you “know” Jeopardy then you are already familiar with Jennings also.

As mentioned above, Trebek give the reader a disclaimer that he doesn’t feel like his life was very unique, and it shows a little in the beginning. Trebek had a relatively normal childhood so he shares some memories with us that stuck out to him, some chapters being VERY short. It had the feel of listening to your Grandfather telling you childhood stories that may not seem like anything special, but they are special to him so you listen and enjoy these memories being told all the same. Once Trebek gets into this adult years, his love for radio and his first jobs hosting random game shows the book picks up and I didn’t want to stop listening! Alex details his work and time spent with World Vision and how it impacted his life. He shares notable Jeopardy moments including how he continued hosting the show throughout his cancer diagnosis and treatment.

If you are a fan of Jeopardy, I wholeheartedly recommend that you give this sweet memoir a listen. Whether or not he thought he was, Trebek was a treasure and is still missed by so many a year and a half after his death.

-Review by Kelly

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