We give this great new memoir two thumbs up

Cancer robbed Roger Ebert of his speaking voice, but his print persona and online presence have never been stronger. Now he’s written a keen, confessional memoir called Life Itself. We read it in a single sitting.

Ebert devotes plenty of space to his favorite films and filmmakers (the list includes Robert Altman, Robert Mitchum, and other actors and directors he’s known personally). But he also describes his relationships with Ann Landers, Oprah Winfrey, and sometime cohost/occasional nemesis Gene Siskel (“ ‘You may be an asshole,’ Gene would say, ‘but you’re my asshole’ ”), casts a cold eye on his problems with alcohol (“Did I know drinking made me unmarriageable, or did I simply put drinking ahead of marriage?”), and gives us a typically unflinching account of his illness (“I will look the way I look, and express myself in print, and I will be content”). All of this in the elegant, unpretentious sentences that Ebert’s readers have come to expect.

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We give this great new memoir two thumbs up