Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton

[rating=4] ‘Just a Geek’ promises “Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise”.
I’m very happy to say, it delivers on that promise.

In 1991, I was 13 years old and Wil Wheaton was about to retire from Star Trek at the ripe old age of 18. My friend Alyssa and I went to a convention in Toronto to hear Wil speak.

I was floored by the difference between the character I’d seen on TV – clean shaven, immaculate spandex attire, smiling, polite and dripping with 1950s ‘Leave It To Beaver’ purity – and the brash young man standing on the stage, decked out in a Canadian tuxedo (head to toe denim), black leather jacket and backwards baseball cap, affecting a slacker drawl.

Who WAS this man? This wasn’t Wesley! He was wearing LEATHER!!!

(Please note: I am not the lady with the silver ponytail photobombing Wil)

Wil Wheaton was the first celebrity I ever met in person. The experience caused me to wonder about the huge divide between the media I consumed in theaters and on TV and the people who worked to create them. He woke me up to the Industry side of magic, fame and alternate reality. It was a key moment for me, and kept me from wetting my pants later in life when I got to meet Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver!) and Kevin Smith.

These days, you can follow celebrities on Twitter, watch interviews on YouTube, read about an actor’s life history on Wikipedia, or connect with him on his mad popular blog, WWdN. Information was far more limited in my teens, so it was a unique revelation to have this insider peek into what was happening to Wil back in the 90s.

Wil Wheaton had debt issues? He had stepsons? He fought court battles with his wife’s ex? WHAT? You mean, he wasn’t regularly enjoying tea and crumpets with Patrick Stewart, in a band with Jonathan Frakes, attending Levar Burton’s friends-only bookclub? Damn. Life is cruel.

At points, the tone of this autobiographical work became a bit too sentimental, too whiny, waxed political, waned wistful, grew sassy, felt self-important. But I forgive those wee faults because they are human and true, and they live up to the title: Wil Wheaton is really just a geek, looking for love and acceptance and some money to pay his bills.

The happy ending comes in real life, knowing that he’s now doing well, showing up as Evil Wil Wheaton on TV in ‘Big Bang Theory‘ episodes and on the web in ‘The Guild’ with Felicia Day.

Four solid stars: not big on fancy style, but clean, honest and intimate.
Read the FAQs at the end, some of his best writing is in the ultra-short answers IMHO.

4 of 5 stars / bookshelves: read, 269 pages, Publisher: O’Reilly Media, Inc (2004)
Read from February 16 to 20, 2012

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