13 October 2011

Wil Wheaton is Just a Geek

Just a GeekJust a Geek by Wil Wheaton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


From Goodreads
Wil Wheaton has never been one to take the conventional path to success. Despite early stardom through his childhood role in the motion picture "Stand By Me", and growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil left Hollywood in pursuit of happiness, purpose, and a viable means of paying the bills. In the oddest of places, Topeka, Kansas, Wil discovered that despite his claims to fame, he was at heart Just a Geek. 

In this bestselling book, Wil shares his deeply personal and difficult journey to find himself. You'll understand the rigors, and joys, of Wil's rediscovering of himself, as he comes to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for once having been famous. Writing with honesty and disarming humanity, Wil touches on the frustrations associated with his acting career, his inability to distance himself from Ensign Crusher in the public's eyes, the launch of his incredibly successful web site, wilwheaton.net, and the joy he's found in writing. Through all of this, Wil shares the ups and downs he encountered along the journey, along with the support and love he discovered from his friends and family.

The first book I bought when I bought my kobo was Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton. I stayed up far too late reading. It became that important to finish it.

Admittedly, I heard of Wil Wheaton only vaguely in my younger years and only watched Star Trek a handful of times. It was one of the shows my dad would be watching when all I wanted to do was watch my cartoons. (And he would tell me who the characters were and why they were important, and how upset he was when it was all over.) I saw it enough to know some of the character names, and called Patrick Steward by Picard for years whenever I referred to him... and had to be corrected repeatedly until I was brainwashed taught to get it right.

Then, some time ago when I was watching Season 3 of Felicia Day's The Guild. There was a character named Fawkes that looked.. oddly familiar, but I couldn't quite place him. I didn't think too much of it just then. It wasn't until reading the collection of stories Clash of the Geeks by Patrick Rothfuss, Wil Wheaton, et al (It's quite the list), which I was introduced to on Rothfuss' blog, that I looked up Wil Wheaton's name and came across his blog. And connected the other dots. Oh.

Now, that's not a bad "ew, omg wth" 'Oh'. It's a "Wow, why didn't I realize who he was sooner I am kind of dense" type of 'Oh'. I also learned that Wil Wheaton is a writer, too, so that was interesting. When Patrick Rothfuss later recommended Just a Geek on his blog, I knew I needed to read this book, sometime.

Well, sometime only took three months (which is pretty good, considering my skill level in Procrastination) but I finally, finally got around to it. I wasn't put-off by learning that it contained some old blog posts. And it was intriguing, as I haven't read much of Wheaton's blog in the first place. (Again, Procrastination.) So the entire book was full of content that was entirely new to me. And an introduction by Neil Gaiman? That's just neat.

There were portions of this book where I literally laughed out loud. (In the living room, where my family looked at me like I'm crazy. Which I am, but that's unrelated.) And then, moments later, be either so angry or close to tears from the raw honesty within the book. I really got the sense of a real person, with real feelings, who is now able to really express all that and not feel ashamed. And yea, he really is a geek.

The decision by Wheaton to keep his old blog posts mostly intact was a very good idea - the change in writing style is evident and really helps show the passage of time, and a difference in his way of thinking. I enjoyed the book more in the later half because of that (and had to add WWdN to my list of Blogs to Follow..) Just a Geek turned out to be a whole lot more than I thought it would be. It was a pleasant surprise, and I really cannot see a reason to not rate this book 5-stars. What was it Neil Gaiman said  in the forward? Something like "sooner or later, you're not just a geek."

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