Life Itself by Roger Ebert
A Memoir

85%

17 Critic Reviews

...Ebert has created a no-holds-barred portrait of his life.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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."
-from LIFE ITSELF
 

About Roger Ebert

See more books from this Author
Roger Ebert is the Pulitzer Prize–winning film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. Starting in 1975, he cohosted a long-running weekly movie review program on television, first with Gene Siskel and then with Richard Roeper. He is the author of numerous books on film, including The Great Movies, The Great Movies II, and Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert, the last published by the University of Chicago Press.    
 
Published September 4, 2012 by Grand Central Publishing. 448 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Oct 02 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Life Itself
All: 17 | Positive: 15 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Below average
on Jul 20 2011

...a disjunctive, impressionistic, episodic but often moving memoir. Throughout, he alludes to his current medical difficulties...Two thumbs sideways.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jul 25 2011

Hollywood gets its due, but it's an ensemble player, sharing the screen with reminiscences both witty and passionate from one of our most important cultural voices.

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NPR

Good
on Sep 21 2011

...reading this book I was struck by how deeply he's inscribed with our national character. The decency and good humor...Above all, the eagerness to engage with life.

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Kirkus

Good
on Sep 12 2011

...Ebert has created a no-holds-barred portrait of his life.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
on Sep 10 2011

Roger Ebert may have created a new genre: the kind, well-adjusted, nondysfunctional memoir. Readers can't help but wish this supremely decent person well.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
on Sep 20 2011

There are certain books it’s a privilege to review, and LIFE ITSELF is one of that small number...That’s a tribute to him, and a gift to all of us.

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AV Club

Good
on Oct 05 2011

...it’s an indulgent, finely nuanced survey of the impressions of a man who has, when it comes to the movies, pretty much seen it all.

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National Post arts

Excellent
on Sep 16 2011

...whatever happens, this personable and powerful memoir ensures that it is the man himself who will have the last eloquent word on his life and times.

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Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
on Aug 31 2011

...this is not a depressing book. In the end, writing is what gives Ebert purpose, and Life Itself is at its best when he's reliving the people and things that have brought him joy.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
on Sep 23 2011

While his body may be weaker and his audible voice gone...as trite as it may sound, Ebert's spirit is as vibrant, alive and engaged as ever.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Good
on Sep 18 2011

...it is both a tribute to the persistence of memory and to the insightful work of a man who has "become more aware of what matters in life."

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
on Sep 12 2011

... it’s a great read — thoughtful, entertaining, and emotional...

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USA Today

Excellent
on Sep 05 2011

...Ebert can no longer speak after cancer...But at least his words haven't failed him.

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Time Out Chicago

Below average
on Sep 21 2011

...one gets the feeling that he’s telling us not just what he wants us to know, rather what he wants us to think—an understandable impulse for anyone, but a counterproductive one for an author.

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Military.com

Good
on Sep 09 2011

Even in the face of his current condition, there is no self-pity here.

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Broad Street Review

Excellent
on Jan 03 2013

Like a skilled jazz piano player, Ebert tickles the keys of our common music just enough to evoke the whole melody, many melodies. Now I’m in love with Roger Ebert.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Adam Nayman on Sep 16 2011

One hopes that Life Itself isn’t even close to a last sigh, and that Ebert will keep writing and wildly overrating Lee Daniels movies for years to come. But whatever happens, this personable and powerful memoir ensures that it is the man himself who will have the last eloquent word on his life and times.

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