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At around the 2/3 mark, I would've given this one four stars, but having finished listening last night, I can't quite muster that much enthusiasm, although I do recommend the book. Here's the scoop for those who feel they might be interested in Bob's story ...
The first half consists of Bob's own background, as well as the run up to his selection for his (first) appearance on the show. That he went to prep school, on a scholarship, from a working-class family was interesting; although, I could've used a bit less angst regarding his guilt over his sister's not having been able to do the same. He goes off to college for a degree in electrical engineering, which it seems he never really wanted to study, except that it was more "practical" than a liberal arts curriculum. Then it was off to the stand up comedy circuit - so much for that technical stuff.
He gets selected for an appearance on the show, with the focus shifting to very intense full-time cram sessions, which eventually lead to the break up of his then-current relationship. Jumping ahead slightly, we're introduced to several other show winners over the course of the book, but we never hear their prep stories; so, it remains frustrating to me as to whether Bob went overboard (at least somewhat), or whether others generally cram (almost) as much as he did? Back then, there was a five-game limit, which Bob managed to achieve, filling us in on the first-hand experience; I had no idea that they film 10 games per week, two days of 5 each, which makes sense if most contestants can't cool their heels in L. A. forever. Contestants bring three changes of clothes per day.
After that, the story went somewhat downhill for me, as Bob made "Jeopardy honcho" pretty much a lifestyle, appearing at industry conventions, and scoring a followup stint on a another quiz show, that failed badly, though not before Bob could brag about what easy money he scored off it; this was the only time he seemed obnoxious, but proved a harbinger of the rest of the story.
In a nutshell - he's invited back for not one, but two, reunion tournaments. which become a bit tedious, consisting of name-dropping of other winners who have become his friends (or at least acquaintances), along with question-by-question replays of his experiences in the games themselves. On the memoir front, away from Jeopardy, there's a new significant other in his life (Jane), more detail on his sister's serious medical issues (which had been touched on earlier), and highlights from Bob's global tour.
My final impression: the author's a smart, funny guy, who wrote a book that should've been shorter. I really didn't need all those reunion details, which were overkill - and I'm a huge fan of the show! During those, more than once he calls upon his clever pneumonic training to get clues that I thought were common knowledge? Again, did others cram as much as he did? He's quite mum about that, leaving me to wonder if most of them knew most of the answers without (much) cramming? If so, I inferred Bob came off as a bit of a ... hanger-on ("I'm in the kewl kidz club!"). The ending isn't so much abrupt, as inconclusive.
Recommended as an audio book for the narration, which earned a solid five stars from me.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What other book might you compare Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy! to and why?
Brainiac by Ken Jensen
What about Brett Barry’s performance did you like?
He was amusing and gave character to the dialog!
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me laugh out loud, so my family kept asking me what was happening. Best to listen to this book when you are by yourself!
Any additional comments?
This book gives insight into the world of Jeopardy, entertaining, and engaging!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful