So I spent several hours the other day starting and finishing Felicia Day’s recently-released memoir, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost),” and now it’s time for the (pretty darned good) review.
So let’s begin.
First, it would be easy to think of a “memoir” by any 36-year old to be simply a vanity project, designed to keep a fading celebrity in the news for another cycle.
And that might be true for most celebrities in this day and age, whose sole claim to fame is “singing,” “dancing,” or having sex on tape and/or being marginally attractive in the process, but who have no real talents or accomplishments to speak of.
That doesn’t describe Felicia Day.
As her career illustrates, she can write, act, sing, play the violin, and start/run/sell a business. She could probably cure cancer if she wanted to, but she hasn’t had to yet and/or there’s not enough time in her schedule.
But, as we learn in “You’re Never Weird,” it turns out that those accomplishments have a price.
I won’t get into a blow-by-blow of the book; it is her story, after all. That’s why she wrote the book, so who am I to sit here at my keyboard and recap it all for you?
Since I must mention it in passing, however…
After her… unusual… upbringing, recounted in almost obsessive detail (a trend), we can see the beginnings of the person who would become “Felicia Day” (not “Leesie Day” — sorry FD, bad choice of nicknames for yourself.).
What really struck me was how so much of her career is a direct result of those childhood events. Literally.
Her eager-beaver, hyper-friendly acting persona is a (major) facet of her own personality, albeit one that she came to regret emphasizing to the degree she did, professionally.
Her popular web-series “The Guild” * was nothing less than a cathartic outlet for her to deal with her out-of-control online gaming life.
The point is, everything that made Felicia’s childhood/college years so “unusual” is what made her career so atypical, as well.
And that’s what’s so great about it. Felicia Day really is a self-made person. A Renaissance Man, uh… Woman. I don’t recall if she actually said this in the book, but the impression I got is that she knows a lot about a little, and a little about enough to get her in trouble.
And I mean that in the best possible way.
But the most surprising chapters of the book are really the last 2, in which she chronicles her late-and-post Guild situation in agonizingly candid detail, and the recent hubbub known as #Gamergate **.
Who could have guessed that the hard-won successes that Felicia managed, beginning with becoming an actress at all and continuing through creating “The Guild” and the start-up Geek and Sundry would carry such cataclysmic consequences for her health, both mental and physical?
Especially disturbing was the revelation that she had
toyed fantasized thought about what might happen if she “died.” Yeah, you read that right. Felicia is brutally honest here, in discussing what might normally get shined over in a celebrity memoir.
Her discussion of Gamergate is equally as revealing, detailing how the world she once loved and felt completely safe in — online gaming — was taken from her as the controversy unfolded, how she was villified professionally and personally, and even “doxxed.”
Some brutal stuff about some brutal people, but she handles it very well, presenting it for the reader to see. Felicia chooses not to re-litigate the events, but rather focuses on the impact the events had on her life.
That’s what a memoir should be: a telling of the events, but with an emphasis on what happened to the subject because of those events. Otherwise, it’s just a history book.
So if you’re a fan of hers, even casually, I recommend picking up the book. It’s a fairly quick read, but worth it. If you’re a fan of “The Guild,” shame on you if you don’t read this book. The behind-the-scenes look at the production of the show is priceless.
Supernatural, Dr. Horrible, Eureka: if you enjoyed any of those shows and the slightly neurotic, yet lovable redhead that seems to steal every scene she’s in, pick up her book. Get to know the girl behind the giggle: she’s even cooler in real life.
* Read my review of “The Guild” HERE.
** Read my thoughts about #Gamergate (at the time) HERE.