Just A Geek

Before I begin my review of Wil Wheaton’s latest book, I’d like to take a moment to point out one thing.

I think that I’ve figured out the difference between us simple plebes and the blogging elite of the Blogosphere™. They don’t necessarily have something wittier, funnier, stranger, or generally more worthy to post—well, OK, maybe they do. The point I wanted to make, though, is that when the rest of us post, it’s almost stream-of-consciousness. At best, it’s a first draft. You can’t make me believe that when Dooce or Wil or any other well-known blogger posts, that they haven’t at least read and edited once before they hit that Save button. Sure, I skim for spelling and grammatical errors and other indignities, but I don’t draft my blog entries like I once drafted ENG 112 syntheses.

And maybe I should.

Now, for the review…

Just A GeekMy husband bought me Wil Wheaton’s latest book, Just A Geek, as a Christmas present.

I read it yesterday.

OK, I exaggerate. I read one chapter at the laundromat Sunday, the end of the appendices at work today, and the rest I read yesterday. It was that engaging.

I knew I would probably enjoy Wil’s book because I enjoy reading his website. Just A Geek is basically excerpts from WWdN strung together with explanatory passages that flow easily into the next blog entry. Or, if you prefer, it’s a narrative of various recent events in Wil’s life, further illustrated by blog entries written at the time.

Wil illustrates his personal demons/motivations in a charmingly schizophrenic manner, recording his internal conversations with The Voice Of Self-Doubt and Prove To Everyone That Quitting Star Trek Wasn’t A Mistake. If half of us could personify our inner workings half that well, half the shrinks in the U.S. would be out of a job.

The geeky Trek fan-girl in me loves to read about his days on the set of Nemesis, or at cons, or at the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas. It’s great to see things from Wil’s perspective, because it’s just “insider” enough to give the reader a taste of new experiences (like calling Jonathan Frakes “Jonny” for short), but it also portrays Wil as almost-Trek-family (but not quite). The common Trekker can totally sympathize with this perspective, because we’d all like to think of the ST:TNG cast as our extended family (as creepy as the cast might find it), but we know we wouldn’t *really* be welcomed into that fold.

—OK, maybe I’m reading too much into things again. Moving on…

The jilted and jaded adult in me takes solace in the fact that us normal non-actor folk aren’t the only ones having a hard time in our lives and with our careers. Wil’s had to take some pretty crappy gigs to pay the bills, from what he says. (OMG! Did you know that he was the voice of Martin in The Secret of NIMH? I’ll have to go watch that now…!)

Wil’s style has matured considerably since he first started his blog (and you can tell from the early excerpts). Just A Geek goes down smooth. Maybe it’s because he’s not quite four years older than me, but I can totally identify with his attitude, his vocabulary, all of that. His informal style really made me feel like, in a different reality, we could have hung out and been buds. I mean, he likes the Pixies, for God’s sake.

I would totally recommend this book to all of you. Especially those of you who enjoyed ST:TNG’s run back in the late 80’s, or those of you who consider yourselves geeks.

We’re in good company.