Life Itself: a Memoir
By Roger Ebert
Grand Central Pub., 2011. 436 pgs. Biography
After decades in front of the camera telling America what movies to watch and what movies to skip, Roger Ebert lost his ability to speak due to a cancer that required his lower jaw be removed. However, thanks to modern technology, he once again found his voice through blogging. This memoir, "Life Itself," grew from that blog. He begins with his childhood and then early career, his path to prominence as a film reviewer, as well as his marriage and prolonged battles with cancer.
"Life Itself" is a particularly great memoir for people who know a lot about the movie industry. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people and I believe a great deal of this book was lost on me because I didn't know the people or films referred to. But even with that handicap, I still enjoyed many of the essays, especially those describing the golden age of journalism and film. By far the best chapters are those about some of the famous people Ebert had the pleasure of interviewing, like Robert Mitchum and John Wayne. Those two chapters alone made the whole book well worth the read.