Life Itself by Roger Ebert

Life Itself

By Roger Ebert

  • Release Date: 2011-09-13
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
From 118 Ratings
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"The best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written." - Janet Maslin, New York Times

"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."

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.

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.

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 shares his insights into movie stars and directors like John Wayne 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.


  • Go Gently

    By TechandRamen
    Roger Ebert's "Life Itself" is a must read for anyone with even the slightest interest in Roger Ebert. Ebert's autobiography is well written and the sections dedicated to his life (most of the book) are dramatically more interesting than those devoted to the legendary stars whom Ebert interviewed. For someone who rarely reads, this book was addicting. For someone who followed Ebert through the last few years of his life, this book is a celebration of all of the things that made Roger Ebert such an enriching character.
  • Leaves you content. Not happy, or sad—just content.

    By Mmm Braaains
    I picked up this book in hopes of learning more about Ebert's ascension into the world of film criticism (my dream job). What I quickly learned was that his title was something that defined him to the public, but as a person he is so much more. Sad and depressing at times. Motivational at others. A detailed glimpse into the moments that make a man and the events that leave him capable of calling it a day.
  • Smart, insightful but above all honest.

    By Anton RC
    In the end we are who we are, and Roger Ebert could only write about his life the way writes about movies: from his own perspective. Amazing memoir... I will read it again and again.
  • Good, but a bit disappointed

    By Jbrahms
    I'm a big fan of Ebert's film reviews, and was hoping that more of his film views and experiences would be folded into the narrative of his life. I liked the last third of the book best, where he opened up his inner life and let us in. Many earlier portions, on his drinking binges and buddies, became tiresome; way too many chapters on them. Also, while I enjoyed the first part of the book on his growing-up years, some of this could have been cut, especially the detailed chapters on his forebears. On the positive side, Ebert is a terrific writer, and his style was economical and lively at the same time. I wish, though, that some of the repetition across chapters was eliminated, and that each chapter had greater length. As Janet Maslin has pointed out, their origin in the blog format is all too obvious. In the bigger picture, kudos to Ebert to living with such pluck and dignity in his changed condition. He is a courageous person!
  • Great book!

    But where are the photos?
  • Terrific journey!

    By Divajordan
    Such a joy, so honest and informative. I loved the set up of the chapters. One could navigate throughout the wonderful stories of Eberts life at will in no particular order. What a great man! What a great life!
  • What a Life

    By AliHar
    This book was enormous in it's scale and scope. Roger Ebert has lived quite a life. Shame on iTunes for not including the photos!
  • So where are the photos?

    By Bear Mc Bear
    Promised in the book are photos, but there are none. There is no excuse for this. I feel cheated.
  • Obi Wan

    By Scott Finley
    Roger Ebert is a national treasure. And struck down like Obi Wan, he is more powerful than ever.