Saturday, May 7, 2016

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

After reading several blood & guts-style sci-fi stories and a  military history book, I was in the mood to read something cute & quirky.

And among any gaggle of entertainers, you don't get much cuter--or quirkier--than actress Felicia Day.

About four years ago, my friend Adrian told me about a webseries called The Guild.  Up until then, I've never seen Felicia in any of her TV roles, or in any commercials.  Now I'm not clairvoyant, or even empathic, yet as soon as I started Season One's First Episode, I KNEW Felicia's performance was partly (entirely?) a self-portrayal.

Fast forward to April, 2016, and as I was reading through Felicia's memoir You're Never Weird on the Internet (almost), I was satisfied to see that I was right about her.

In addition to seeing her on The Guild, I subscribed to her Geek and Sundry Channel, and I even had a "Ralphie Moment" when I met her at the Emerald City Comicon 2013.

Felicia Day is funny, engaging and grateful to her legion of fans.  Based on this flimsy idea that I made a personal connection with Felicia, it was easy to imagine her voice speaking the words on the page.  Her prose is often populated with ALL CAPS expressions when she's excited and/or stressed out, along with parenthetical asides for "inside-voice" remarks.

However, if you're not familiar with Felicia Day at all, the book will probably have your wondering:  Who is this ditzy chick?

In fact, a handful of 1-star raters on had this very problem.

So, to fully appreciate You're Never Weird on the Internet (almost), you don't have to be a complete fanboy/fangirl, but you should fulfill a few prerequisites before reading this book:

a. Watch most, if not all of the first season of The Guild
b. Play, or at least know something on-line gaming in general and about World of Warcraft specifically.
c. Watch some Geek and Sundry shows

You're Never Weird on the Internet (almost) has an average 4.7-star rating on, with 84% giving the book 5-stars.

While Felicia is funny on-screen and off, her memoir isn't all laughs all the time.  Most people--myself included--think that once you "made it" your life is on cruise control.  Felicia's story tells us otherwise.  That even when she was a soaring success, her mental, emotional and even her physical health was spiraling out of control.

While it was enlightening to see the effects of the price of fame, the author glosses over some aspects of her life.  Felicia mentions a (some?) boyfriend(s) a few times, but almost as an afterthought.  This was somewhat surprising since she writes at length on how her mom manipulated her into having her First Kiss.  One rater commented that "...we're not asking for this guy's social security number..." but it would be nice to give the guy some credit for standing by her through "sickness and in health."

I enjoyed the book for the most part and give it a 4-star rating.

Why only 4-stars?

Well, I hate to sully a book review with politics, but the author brings up her political-social views throughout the narrative.  It is her memoir after all, and fortunately she wears her biases lightly and cloaks them with humor.  Usually, criticism towards others is often followed by a "(no offense/just kidding)" disclaimer.  Unless, that is, you're from the south and/or a churchgoer, then no parenthetical apologies are offered.  She also mentions men who've hit on her and stalked her, but of course these creeps deserve jail time.

And finally she brings up her eventual involvement with the Gamergate Scandal.

Video and computer games make me ill in the first place.


I'm very prone to motion sickness, so I can't play most video games.  I'm more of a traditional gamer ("/tg/"), and what I know of video games is based on what my family and friends play.  So before I could continue with this review I had to Google conduct extensive research on what the fuss was all about.

The most even-handed account I found was Erik Kain's Gamergate: A Closer Look At The Controversy Sweeping Video Games, with the most likely suspects being Internet Trolls going on the offensive against just about everyone on all sides.

(Image from:  Know Your Meme)
Felicia's harrowing experience after posting a comment included death threats, doxing, and being stalked.  I'm truly sorry she went through something like that.  It's inexcusable.

But where my impression differs is that I don't see all the trolls as coming from one political-gender demographic--conservative males.  (As an aside, I stumbled across Kukuruyo's Gamergate Life comic strip, which I find entertaining).

Gamergate and political-social biases aside, I still enjoyed You're Never Weird on the Internet (almost), and recommend the book to anyone who's at least vaguely familiar with the topics I mentioned in this review.

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