I reviewed Ken Jennings’s book Brainiac seven years ago. (Was it really seven years ago‽ Yes, it was!) So I figured I should also read the latest book by another Jeopardy champion, Brendan DuBois, whose short fiction I had read several times in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. DuBois is not in Jennings’s league (he was a champion for only one day), but I imagined that he would at least be a competent writer and that he would have something interesting to say.
Unfortunately I wasn’t quite right on either score. His fiction writing shows that he is in fact a competent writer, but this memoir does not show that at all. At the very least, My Short, Happy Life in “Jeopardy!” badly needs a ruthless editor. It’s at least 50% too long, the writing is awkward in many places, and the book is riddled with typos and factual errors. I know Ken Jennings, and Brendan DuBois is no Ken Jennings.
Of course I don’t really know Jennings, but he has such a winning personality that it feels as if I do. DuBois, on the other hand, comes across as someone I don’t need to know. Don’t waste your time.