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You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir


You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir

Dear Internet Aficionados (otherwise known as legions of people younger than me), here is the first major memoir from one of your kind: a seriously geeked-out academic and musical prodigy who believes that video games and the Internet have saved the world. Her name is Felicia Day (“Duh!” as my daughter would say), and she's something of a Supreme Ruler in that neck of the woods. I know you’ve heard of her --- especially if you watch Joss Whedon shows and “Supernatural,” and worship Neil Patrick Harris and everything he touches (she was one of the brains behind “Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog”) --- and you think you know everything about her, right? Well, this book that she wrote, YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST), will give you a whole new perspective on her and maybe even make you love her more.

Day was at BookCon this year, and the lines of young men and women eager to meet her looked like a panoply of actors from Central Casting if one were casting people who looked like they were already in possession of their Comic Con and VidCon passes for the coming year. These were lifers --- the kids who think that Day is the Queen of the Internet and that her Twitter feeds and Goodreads romance book clubs were the stuff that contemporary life should be made of --- and she greeted them with all the love and power they expected from her. This book was what she was pushing, but that wasn't the only thing. She was pushing the important ideas of being proud of one's particular peculiarities and personalities, and staying true to the ideals one holds throughout one's life. It was a lovely message and is reiterated with humor and warmth in this memoir.

" honest and fun book to read.... Day is the present and the future, a shining example of how technology is making new generations smarter and faster and more ingenious in the world of computers and entertainment..."

Day has hundreds of tidbits to unload here --- her strange childhood as a homeschooled genius who thinks math equations are a fun way to pass the time; her ability to play the violin so well that she ended up at the University of Texas in Austin WITHOUT having graduated high school on a full scholarship; maintaining a 4.0 while earning degrees in both math and music simultaneously; her complete and utter adoration of video games as the best entertainment there ever was (making room, though, to mention her love of Perry Mason novels as well); and a successful commercial actress who ended up creating her own web series, “The Guild.”

It is the kind of book that doesn't mean to make you feel like a loser, but it does. Day is so chipper about all the hard work and innate intellectual abilities she has that she makes it sound almost as if playing video games is really the reason she is so multi-talented and successful. It is not, and at a few points in the book, her humble spirit is cloying. But she means well and gives readers what they want --- the epitome of snarky, geek girl humor crossed with a light and readable writing style.

YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST) is an honest and fun book to read. If you don't care about YouTube, web series or Internet gaming communities, it will not be of much interest to you. But it should be. Day is the present and the future, a shining example of how technology is making new generations smarter and faster and more ingenious in the world of computers and entertainment, as well as a cautionary tale of what happens when the desire to escape reality is the only desire in life, the opportunity to make everything else seem less important by comparison. I’m assuming that I’m not her target audience, and those she is trying to reach will take a moment to stop their technological navel-gazing and read about someone whose background is highlighted but not defined by a birthright of supergenius capabilities. It is really these capabilities that make her story so compelling, even if you don't agree with the things that she deems most important in the human condition.

I think it is quite fascinating when a person writes a book about themselves and underplays some really important facts about their lives. Perhaps it was an editor who thought that Day's high IQ would make her story less palatable to less gifted geeks (as geek is not always a title befitting people who end up in astrophysics or analytical mathematics). But that is exactly the detail that I think will engage a wider readership for her book. Parents, if you let your kids play as many video games as they can and have no "proper" socialization in this world, maybe your offspring too can become musician-mathematician-actor-Internet stars before too long.

Clearly Day's mother did something right; maybe the next thing she should do is have her mom write a parenting book. That would be a huge bestseller. When most parents are trying to get their kids to hit the books and stay off the technology, Day's mom did the opposite, so perhaps there is a new rule for parenting smart kids in here somewhere.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on August 14, 2015

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir
by Felicia Day

  • Publication Date: April 19, 2016
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • ISBN-10: 147678566X
  • ISBN-13: 9781476785660