Book Review: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost)

Like everyone else on the internet I love Felicia Day.  If you don’t know who she is stop what you’re doing right now, find some of her work, and then you will love her too.  She is the perfect combination of charming, awkward, clever, adorable, classy, and vulgar to make for an absolutely unique personality.  More than anything, you always get the impression she is being completely genuine.

Earlier this year she released her memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) and, even though I don’t usually read “celebrity” books I knew it would be a must buy.

The most pleasing aspect of the book is Felicia’s writing style.  If you’ve ever heard her audio commentary on The Guild DVDs, watched her play video games badly with her equally hilarious brother Ryon, or seen The Flog on her Geek and Sundry YouTube Channel, you should be familiar with her style.  She speaks very quickly, almost breathlessly as ideas, words, and concepts just flood over you too fast to comprehend.  Then when you do absorb them you wonder how anyone could possibly express themselves that quickly…  I’m not naive enough to think the book was written as a stream of consciousness,  but while reading it you can picture Felicia in her pastel Flog set telling you these stories and even imagine the cutaways and edits for her parentheticals and asides.  The writing style is without a doubt in her voice and has her unique hammers-in-a-typewriter cadence in the best way.  It’s like having a conversation with her.

Though it’s a memoir, she does an excellent job of making the book profoundly personal, without making it a gossipy tell-all.  She never dishes or trashes anyone.  Even when it’s clear some of the vaguely referenced parties would deserve it.  She keeps stories of her personal life classy, sharing only the bits that advance her narrative.  The only person she ever is really hard on is herself, and as she seems to be an OCD perfectionist (something I can relate to a little bit…just a little) I can understand that.  In one of her best anecdotes she relates how she struggled to get an “A” in one of her college math classes, studying all night, killing herself to keep her 4.0, even against the professor’s advice.  When she maintained her 4.0 and got the “A” she craved she actually found later that it wasn’t really worth anything.  All the stress and trouble it caused didn’t equate to anything real once the course was over.  It’s something that those of us who obsess can truly relate to, as we find out the things we worried about and lost our minds over really didn’t matter too much after all in retrospect.

Copy of The Guild graphic novel signed by the cast!
Copy of The Guild graphic novel signed by the cast!

Much of the middle section of the book is about her creation of The Guild which was fascinating as it’s how I, and a number of others, first found her.  This section was eye opening as it shows the ups and downs of a creative person creating with no budget, but it also shows what can be accomplished if you try hard enough and have the right support group and even how something you love and created can be utterly all-consuming.

Felicia described herself as an absolute workaholic. A habit that she describes as helping her create the brilliant Guild but ultimately self destructive if left unchecked.

My only complaint, if you can call it that, is actually that I wanted the book to actually be longer.  She tells wonderful stories of her home school life; multiple classes of violin, singing, and performance; her move to Hollywood and the awful acting sessions and auditions.  But I would’ve liked to hear what it was like to succeed, to get the part on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or to later become Charlie on Supernatural.  I’m not sure if those are well-known stories I just haven’t come across yet, but her perspective on those successes would have been interesting to hear.

By far the most moving sections are the last two.  Even though I’m not a “constantly online” person I did notice a period where Felicia seemed to withdraw some from her shows, at least the Geek and Sundry ones I watched, and the book explains why.  Having had friends with severe depression and had minor bouts myself this section was by far the most powerful.  Hearing how someone with similar compulsions was able to shake off the negative and focus on the positive was profound.  The last narrative section deals with the GamerGate nonsense (and yes I’m calling their “movement” nonsense…) from late last year and earlier this year.  I actually remember reading the post she references in book and it’s interesting to see the fallout from that, and how sometimes just having an opinion when you’re a public personality (even when only “situationally famous” as she calls herself) can have major effects on your life.

If you are a fan of Felicia Day, Geek and Sundry, internet culture, or creativity in general You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) is a terrific read.  Felicia lets you inside her unique and creative mind for 260 pages and gives you greater appreciation for what can be done if you never give up and fully embrace your weird.  Once you do you’ll find a wonderful world full of more people who appreciate it than you ever imagined.

Felicia Day’s Website

The Geek & Sundry page

Geek and Sundry’s YouTube Page

The Guild Home Page

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