As it turns out, Trebek’s genius has never been in his intellect. It’s in his steadiness. If the book slightly tarnishes the image of Trebek that superfans may have constructed in their own minds, it provides something more deeply reassuring to replace it ... As a piece of writing, The Answer Is… goes down easy. Trebek does not pretend the book is a narrative masterwork or an excavation of his psyche ... But for all its breeziness, the memoir does the work of fleshing out a character with whom millions of Americans have spent their evenings since the 1980s ... Trebek writes frankly about the darkness he’s facing: the side effects from chemotherapy, and the conversations with his family about when to stop treatment. But he also seems uncommonly prepared for the end of the game.
Alex Trebek is the one providing the answers and questions in a new memoir that should reinforce his admirers’ expectations ... a readable but not slapdash approach ... He is uniformly self-deprecating, including telling a story on himself that involves Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and suggesting modestly that he’s known but not celebrated ... Trebek’s philosophical bent emerges clearly in the memoir ... The naturalized U.S. citizen only nibbles around the edges of politics and the polarization he condemns as self-defeating, leaving the impression he has much more to say on the topic.
...those who adore him for his reassuring nature and warmth likely aren’t interested in his literary prowess; they’ve come for his stories. And Answer delivers. It’s an amusing and at times sobering series of vignettes — a quickly inhaled highlights reel of Trebek’s life ... The behind-the-scenes intel is fun, especially for longtime fans of the show. But the rare insights into Trebek’s personal life are far more revealing.
It’s little wonder that Trebek has written a memoir of consummate caginess, one of the wariest I’ve read: a friendly, often funny account marked by a reluctance so deep that it confers a curious integrity upon the celebrity tell-all ... he never takes himself seriously; his memoir is a shameless dad-joke extravaganza, largely at his own expense ... He is exhausted by cancer treatments, exhausted by uncertainty but still sublimely calm and grateful.
And Trebek writes on weathering the pancreatic cancer that has galvanized fans and led to a worldwide outpouring of support ... Much of The Answer Is... holds readers at a polite distance, giving them enough details to understand how a working class kid from Greater Sudbury, Ontario became one of TV's most beloved hosts — but not much more ... In the book, Trebek has a tendency to mention things in an offhand way that would be long chapters in a more typical memoir ... It seems, in part, a reflection of his approach to celebrity and public life, where he maintains a focused work ethic and down-to-earth humility about his position ... The book jumps around chronologically, which can be a little confusing ... Ultimately, The Answer Is... presents some brief, compelling glimpses into Trebek's history and his straightforward approach to life. But readers will have to work through a lot to find those moments.
He’s the reliable figure you can count on ... He leans into this persona in the book, offering up wholesome tidbits about how he’s happiest sitting on the swing in his backyard or eating fried chicken and broccoli for dinner ... Trebek is candid in writing about the toll cancer has taken on his body. In one particularly moving section, he reveals that one day on set his stomach cramps were so excruciating that he collapsed on the floor of his dressing room, crying and writhing in pain.
Trebek doesn’t shy away from the cost his cancer has exacted on his mind and body since he was diagnosed in 2019 ... As you’d expect from someone in the entertainment industry, Trebek drops a few names — Rudolf Nureyev, Merv Griffin, Ed Sullivan, Queen Elizabeth, and Prince Philip — but no startling anecdotes.
The reader will note that each chapter is titled with an answer, replicating the game show, Jeopardy, in which questions are answers, and answers must be in the form of questions. Each chapter title, or answer, is delightfully followed by a corresponding tale from Trebek’s colorful life. His legacy might be, 'The world is a better place in which to live and a safer one, too.'