I should preface this review by telling you I am a big Star Trek fan, I am also a Star Wars fan, yes it is possible to be both. I grew up watching the original Star Trek series in reruns and was one of those just thrilled when Star Trek: The Next Generation came out. When I saw the first episode I nearly jumped up and down at the thought of someone not much older than I was on the ship. As the season continued and Wesley became a member of the crew I just loved it. It was so awesome to me that someone so young could be on a ship in space, flying the ship and solving problems with the adults. I became a Wil Wheaton fan, somehow never connecting him to his role in Stand By Me until years and years later. A while back we shared our review for Memories of the Future, which I really loved.
Wil disappeared for a while and many people lost track of him. Over the past few years with the help of a friend of Amy’s and mine, I have found Wil’s blog and his podcasts and then his books. Just a Geek is the story of him coming to terms with his low status in the world of Hollywood, his fear of failure, his fear that quitting Star Trek was the biggest mistake he ever made, and his being bitten by the writing bug.
This is the story of just another guy, a guy who happens to be a geek and who also just happens to have acted in some pretty big things. The book is told in part through old blog posts that by Wil’s own admission are hard to read as they are a horrible example of the English language. The book is not long but filled with personal stories that show how he deals with fear and rejection, his love for his family, and sometimes some just plain funny stories.
As Wil tells stories about various auditions where he went in and felt he did his very best but still ended up as a runner up, I wholeheartedly felt for him. I feel the same way every time I go for a teaching interview and don’t get the job. The book starts with him being asked “Didn’t you used to be an actor?” and him replying rather forcefully “What do you mean used to be an actor. I’m still an actor!” Oh yeah this sounds a lot like me when students ask “You mean you used to be a teacher?” UGH!!! “Just because I’m in a classroom assistant position does not mean I’m not still a teacher.” It’s connections like this though that have made Wil’s books and blogs so popular. He still has his detractors some left over from the days of “Wesley sucks!” but ignore them!
If you were a Wesley or Gordie fan read this book, if you weren’t read it anyway you may change your mind. Go to Wil’s page wilwheaton.net for more recent blog entries and check out this video with Wil at the Calgary Comic Expo explaining why it’s awesome to be a nerd http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_BtmV4JRSc