|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Started: Dec. 25, 2011
Finished: Dec. 30, 2011 (6 days)
Where Found: Xmas 2011 gift
Why Read: I enjoy Ebert's movie reviews and more often than not agree with his opinions, and was interested in learning how he became one of the most revered movie critics worldwide.
Summary: A reflection of childhood, his start in journalism, interests in reading, travel, memorable interviews and encounters, and his influence by and on the movies.
Roger Ebert has an inside view of the film industry unlike any other. He isn't a filmmaker, an actor, or a studio executive, yet he is just as respected, opinionated, and central to the world of movies as those who run the cogs of the machine called Hollywood. Ebert isn't pounding the pavement but is the one who brings it all together: he watches the finished product, scrutinizes what worked and what didn't, and makes a conclusion that millions of moviegoing public recognize as the inside scoop on the best answer to the inevitable question: "Is there anything good playing at the movies?"
Ebert has a refreshingly honest tone in his memoir, writing as if he has nothing left to prove or hide, which he readily admits when the book comes to the time when Ebert underwent treatment for thyroid and salivary gland cancer. He starts as all good stories do from the beginning, recounting his start in journalism, encounters with both the famous, including an interview with Lee Marvin and a road trip with Robert Mitchum, but most memorably with the not-so-famous, his stay at the Eyrie Mansion, and his friendship and working relationship with Ebert's complete and utter opposite Gene Siskel.
His transition from Catholic childhood in the chapter "How I Believe in God" fascinated me most and, similarly to myself, a thankfulness for its simplest moral values of honest, kindness, and humility, but not its theology. His bibliophiliac chapter "Books Do Furnish a Room" would make a great book on its own.
The movies don't play as much of a part in this memoir as you would think, but they crop up occasionally. This book is less about the movies and Ebert as a movie critic, and more wholistic in scope with Ebert's experiences as a journalist and a traveler.
Rank: (B)- Very Good, Recommend