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Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise Paperback – 7 Sep 2009
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"A cleverly constructed and vivid collection of memoirs with flashes of brilliant wit, this title betters even Dancing Barefoot." - Paul Hudson, Linux Format, Nov (top stuff award) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Wil Wheaton may be one of the most unusual celebrities of our time. Born into stardom with the movie "Stand By Me", and then growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil was in the spotlight nearly his entire childhood. Instead of burning out as a child star, he left fame behind and became a computer specialist in what Hollywood might consider the middle of nowhere: Topeka, Kansas. Now, Wil considers himself "just a geek", and both Dancing Barefoot and the forthcoming biography Just a Geek are about his journey in rediscovering himself and coming to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for being previously famous.
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"Just a Geek" is a memoir that chronicles actor Wil Wheaton's uneasy relationship to Star Trek (easily the project he's most famous for, together with the movie Stand By Me), his decisions as a teenager that influenced the course of his life, and how it really feels like to be an actor in Hollywood (apparently it sucks). But it's really much more than that. It's about making a big decision in your life and being haunted by the ghost of Proving to Everyone It Was the Right Decision. How badly would it suck to feel that the most professionally successful days of your life were when you were a teenager, too immature and stubborn to appreciate it? How do you deal with that once you finally become a (pretty cool) adult and find that no one wants to give you a job?
The only gripe I have about this book is that, in my opinion, he wrote it too soon. It was published in 2004, and when the book ends, it feels like the story is just starting. Since that year, he has achieved a lot of success. It would have felt more complete had he waited a bit beyond his late twenties to write this. Still, recommended for Star Trek / Wil Wheaton fans.
The thing that impresses me most about this book is Wil's style of writing. It is frank and open, it peels back the veneer of an actors ego and exposes what he feels on the inside and you cannot help but feel for him as a result.
This is an excellent book, and I'd recommend it to geeks and non-geeks alike.
However, I’ve noticed that Wheaton now does non-acting geeky things (mainly from items on John Scalzi’s Whatever blog). So when my other half got this book, I thought I’d have a look too.
It’s very good. Okay, it’s 10 years out of date (published in 2004), and I’m positive he’s done a lot else since, but what it does is provide the background to Wheaton’s then-new blog, Wil Wheaton dot Net (launched in 2001). The book blurb says how On his blog, Wil shared—with stunning and fearless honesty—his real life. The book says how, in fact, he didn’t, initially. It’s mainly a description of how he worked through being an actor no-one would hire, to a writer everyone was reading. In the book he is fearlessly honest (I assume), including being honest about how he was still in denial in his early blog posts.
Some of the insights into behind the scenes on ST:NG and at Trek conventions are fascinating. Ironically, the bits that work least well for me are the passages where he being writerly: writing about incidents from his childhood, because these are more autobiography than geeky. However, the parts where he is writing about how he transitioned from trying to be the person he thought he should be (an actor), to the person he actually wanted to be (a writer), and no longer being afraid of being thought a failure, are very thoughtful, and a great read too.
Ultimately, Just A Geek is a success story. It's about a man finding his place in world and allowing you to come along for the journey. I found myself laughing and crying in equal measure.
Thank you Wil.
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