Probably best know for his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation and a turn in the Oscar-nominated movie Stand by Me, Wil Wheaton was a recognizable face in the pop-culture of the 1980's. Unfortunately, when he left Star Trek, the promising acting career that he had dreamed of didn't materialize, leaving him angry, disillusioned, full of self-doubt and struggling to pay the bills. In 2000, Wil decided to start a blog which has become very popular with fans, and opened up avenues that proved he had another talent lurking in the shadows...writing. With unflinching honesty and plenty of laugh-out-loud humor, Wil chronicles the early years of his blog (2001-2002) while taking readers on his journey of self-discovery as he came to terms with what his stint on Star Trek meant to him and finds out that it's OK to be "Just a Geek."
Although I've seen most of the Star Trek movies and several episodes of the various Trek TV shows, I can't really call myself a true Trekkie. I didn't even watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, so I became a fan of Wil Wheaton, the geek, rather than Wil Wheaton, the Star Trek actor. Several years ago, my husband told me that Wil was hanging out on Slashdot, one of his favorite sites at the time, and I couldn't help but think how cool it was that a celebrity was chatting with the masses on a public website. Over time, my husband would occasionally mention things that Wil said or something he was working on, which I guess kept him in the back of my mind, until one day, I found him on my favorite website, GoodReads. After reading a few of his blog posts, I couldn't believe how funny and relatable this guy was. I enjoyed them so much, I immediately put all of his books on my TBR list.
Just a Geek was a great mix of entertaining and inspiring. Wil is a normal, down-to-earth kind of guy, who just happens to be trying to make a living in Hollywood, but experiences many of the same day to day struggles that I, and most other people I know, go through all the time. I think it's easy for fans to forget that actors are people with problems too, and this book certainly brings that truth home in a very positive and real way. As the subtitle of the book says, Wil tells his story with unflinching honesty. He pulls no punches in relating his feelings about other people and the way he's been treated by the Hollywood powers-that-be, but he is also completely honest about his own foibles which gives the book proper balance. I loved his self-deprecating humor, and felt like I was going on the emotional journey of self-discovery right along with him. My favorite chapter was "The Wesley Dialogues" where Wil recounts how he finally came to terms with the role that Wesley Crusher and Star Trek played in his life and the decisions he made surrounding those things. Reading about him finally putting those demons to rest was very poignant and inspiring, and I think that anyone who has ever struggled with the search for a sense of self could definitely relate. The romantic in me also couldn't help but admire Wil's comments about his wife. Rarely have I seen a man shower his mate with such genuine praise and affection. He is obviously a man who is crazy in love which is extremely cool in my book.;-)
Just a Geek is not a book that is merely for geeks. In fact, there is very little in it that would be accessible solely to geeks. While a large part of the book details Wil's experiences with Star Trek, one wouldn't have to be a fan of the show to appreciate it. The narrative is full of humor, honesty and emotions that I think just about anyone could relate to. As memoirs go, I found it to be a very enjoyable and entertaining read that I plan to place on my keeper shelf. Mr. Wheaton without a doubt has a talent for story-telling, and I very much look forward to reading his other works.
Note: Sensitive readers should know that this book contains a fair bit of strong language, as well as some innuendo and a few off-color jokes.
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