Book Review: You've Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day
I am a fan of Felicia Day’s so it is not difficult for me to love her memoir. Her writing style is similar to how she presents herself in interviews and online; she’s conversational and self-deprecating. Definitely a quick read here.
While she does cover her homeschooled childhood & teen years, her college experience of having her mom drive her to UT Austin, and young adult dreams of being discovered in Hollywood, it’s her essence of geek that ties this book together.
Her love of computers, technology, games, and the internet is a recurring theme. Reading about her first experiences with using a dial-up modem and meeting people in chat rooms had me laughing, sometimes out loud.
When her Ultima fan group Ultima Dragons decided to meet in real life, her characterization of those events had me in stitches. Her mom is hilarious; she doesn’t mean to be, but nevertheless, in that story she steals the limelight. Fun tidbit I learned: Day chose the online name Codex Dragon for participating in these message boards. I see where she’s going…
I knew that Day had a double major in college, but I didn’t know it was in math and violin, or that she maintained a 4.0 GPA. Her reflections on what she sacrificed and how much she pushed herself to keep that “perfect score” on her record really touched me. As a teacher, I see students exacting near impossible standards on themselves, and it’s nearly impossible to persuade them to give themselves a break. When a professor tried to talk to Day, her reaction was to just dig her heels in deeper.
My favorite chapters involve Day explaining the origin and development of The Guild. She begins with describing how hooked on World of Warcraft she was; her absolute love for the game is obvious. She decides to quit gaming cold turkey and joins a women’s support group. They meet for one year to encourage each other with personal and career goals. Even though Day didn’t work toward much of anything during the majority of the year, she finally decides to write a pilot episode for her idea for a tv show. She cranks out the first episode of The Guild in the last few weeks of the year.
Throughout the book, Day includes excerpts from her childhood diary, poems, photographs, and memes that she created specifically for the book. Pictures of the various fashion mistakes over the years are completely relatable.
But it’s the pictures of some of the scenes in the first episodes of The Guild that were cracking me up. Day describes combing through garbage bins for anything that she thought might be a good prop. She relates how she would check freecycle.com to see if anyone had posted anything of interest and then drive across town, in LA, to procure the necessary items for the perfect atmosphere.
She spends time relating how and why she began her YouTube channel Geek & Sundry. The stress of creating and producing the content for that channel blew me away. In 2012, they had more than 420 videos with more than sixty-two hours of content with eight people on staff. Those numbers give me pause.
I can understand her relief when YouTube decided not to renew their two-year contract. Day was free to sell her channel to whomever she liked and restructure her life. And she explains how, thanks to her life-long perfectionism, she clearly needed to restructure things. Her regret about pushing herself too hard comes through in the last chapters where she shares how she lost friendships and suffered health consequences. These chapters very much ring of Day trying to say “Do as I say; not as I do.”
If you’re a fan of Felicia Day’s, you will probably love her memoir. If you don’t know who Felicia Day is, there's a strong chance you may still enjoy this book; vicariously living a geek’s life through Day.