This book was everything I hoped for, and so much more.
I generally shy away from memoirs, for many reasons, the foremost being that most of the ones IThis book was everything I hoped for, and so much more.
I generally shy away from memoirs, for many reasons, the foremost being that most of the ones I had to read in college boiled down to 'listen to me whine about how rough life is.' Yeah, it can be. Most people have gone through trials to get to where they are. Growing up poor does not make you special; struggling with depression does not make you special; becoming a functional part of American society does not make you special - millions of people have gone through those experiences, myself included. I don't really care, unless you did something great or innovative or interesting, and are going to tell me the story without too much boohoo-ing.
Nevertheless, I decided to give Felicia Day's a chance (not just because it was on the 30% off rack five feet from the ATM I was using. Promise). Since her web show The Guild premiered, I've watched it through multiple times, and half-heartedly followed her online since. From what I've seen and read, I always felt she was someone I could relate to: A fellow old-school gamer, someone who was active on the worldwide web since its younger years, and a witty writer, with a good social conscience. I was interested in finding out more about how she used these qualities to rise to a position of success and influence in a growing corner of the pop-culture world that I've spent so much time in.
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) delivers that explanation, and much more.
Felicia's story is genuinely interesting, and she tells it in a very engaging way. All of the wit and awkward humor that I expected is present, along with a hell of a lot more candor. Hearing a celebrity openly discuss feelings of inadequacy and normalcy was a pleasant change of pace from the typical Hollywood 'reality' garbage. Depression and anxiety are subjects often skirted as taboo subjects, with sufferers treated as 'broken' by society and very often playing the 'pity me' card, themselves; Felicia Day's balanced portrayal of the disorders makes them more accessible and easier to understand, while at the same time providing hope for individuals struggling with them. Her mental and emotional journey mirrors that of many, and is told in a very relatable way. The circumstances of her unusual upbringing are simply funny and entertaining.
In describing how she found her identity online, Day touches upon a truth that does not get proper or sufficient consideration in public affairs: A large part of modern society, especially for younger generations, is rooted in, and based around, electronic connectivity. The internet has revolutionized how we shop, store and search for information, and communicate - of course it would also bring about new entertainment formats and social communities. Felicia's personal experiences and anecdotes show how these developments can be both terrifyingly negative and, if properly regulated, positive and fulfilling. My own World of Warcraft addiction in 2007 was fueled and maintained largely by the fact that my work schedule kept me from interacting with everyone I knew who kept a normal schedule, but the game world provided plenty of socialization with other people who had similar interests. I honestly believe that it was healthy, as long as I was doing it to supplement my life and fill in gaps; when it starts taking over other aspects of life, though, is when it becomes a problem and needs to be reined in. Whether it's gaming-related or not, many people who spend a lot of time in an online world tend to get sucked in and lose touch with reality to some extent. Hopefully, friends and family of such individuals can learn from Felicia's book how to support their interests constructively while providing an anchor.
A large part of this book focuses on how Day made something out of nothing. When I first heard about The Guild, it was one of just two series I knew of that focused on gaming, and the only one that was about the RPG genre (the other was Red vs Blue, a comedic spoof on the Halo franchise). The entire concept of a serial web show was still fairly new. While I knew Felicia Day had played a role in that field, it was interesting to learn exactly what a pioneer she was. What was more important to me personally, though, was how she did it. I've tried many times over the past decade to write a novel, a comic script, a short story, a weekly anime blog . . . and never completed anything. Self-doubt, lack of a committed audience, the need to pay the bills - I have plenty of excuses, but that's all they are. Felicia's advice on pushing through, the satisfaction of the finished product, and the lessons she learned the hard way are both priceless and motivating. Take this review, for example: I haven't written anything for myself in almost half a year, but within an hour of finishing You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), I started cranking out my thoughts on it.
From her unorthodox childhood to advice on creating to honest and candid revelations of personal struggles, Felicia Day's memoirs provide funny and meaningful entertainment and inspiration. If you've ever been a part of the gaming community, this book is for you, and even if you haven't, there are plenty of good life lessons to be had, along with clever wit and a great story. Do yourself a favor and pick it up today....more