Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Book Review - You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir

I've been a fan of technology and video games for ages. I helped keep our family computer up to date and installed our first modem back in the day so I could connect to BBS-es and do some dial-up gaming with friends. When the Internet came around, I built my own little set of cheesy web pages to post stories, random info and just experiment with what I could do. When YouTube exploded onto the scene, I had fun trolling the crazy new videos to see what was out there and have fun reveling in the geek-dom of everything. It was around that time that Felicia Day brought "The Guild" to the Internet and pioneered the new media delivery mechanism to become one of the first "Internet Web Actors." I laughed along with other fans at the Guild and kept up with some of her work peripherally over the years. I was never a huge "fanboy" but I have subscribed to her various "channels" to see what new stuff is coming out. So when one of those "new things" was an autobiography, it seemed only natural that I'd pick it up and read it.

One thing I immediately noticed as I started reading was that this book is definitely written in Felicia's "voice." If you aren't familiar with her work (meaning the stuff that she scripts herself or has creative license with), that won't mean much to you but I found it a lot of fun to have the book really written in her voice. It made it feel that much more "real"...like she had just pulled up a chair and was telling me about her childhood and her experiences. As a side-note to be aware of...since it is in her voice, there is some vulgarity (aka - swearing). Not a ton, but if you've only seen her "prime time" TV acting, it might put you off a little bit...just be warned.

The book traces her life from young childhood up to present day in a mostly chronological manner. The tone is very sarcastic and funny which is an interesting balance especially in some of the more "tragic" parts of her life. Felicia's life isn't rife with huge tragedy (she's not a war orphan...she didn't have abusive parents...etc.) but she did have struggles like anybody. She was pushed and pulled by trials of life all through growing up. She was awkward socially and had trouble creating good friendships or fitting in with others. What is cool is the way she presents these (fairly normal) struggles of childhood in a realistic way. While her struggles and trials came about in ways that are pretty unique to her situation, they aren't so outlandish that they become entirely unrelatable. As such, the way she perseveres and pushes through her problems can provide good examples to other kids, teenagers or young adults dealing with their own struggles.

While she's not a "holocaust victim turned billionaire philanthropist" (sorry for the semi-flippant example), she is an example of having issues that might drag somebody down but balancing those problems with a positive and optimistic outlook on life. Essentially she decided not to let other people set limits for her. Instead, she took risks and just kept on pushing through the hard times trying to do something she believed in and something that she felt would make her happy. There were failures and struggles along the way but she kept on trying. She ignored the totally pessimistic nay-sayers but she did listen to the constructive criticism and suggestions from people so she could learn and grow. As the title suggests, she shrugged off the people calling her weird or telling her "that's not how it's done" and she pushed on to become what she wanted to be . She may not be a perfect role model for everybody but the story of how she overcame obstacles and achieved success is something that anybody can learn from. Her quirky, sarcastic, go-getter, try anything attitude is a lot of fun and her snarky voice makes for an entertaining read. Fans of Felicia will certainly like the book.

3.5 out of 5 stars

View all of my reviews on Goodreads.com

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