Book Review: ‘Just a Geek’ by Wil Wheaton
August 20, 2013 | 11:00 am
By Joanna Cabot
I got this book from the recent Humble Bundle, and I went into it expecting to like it. I was a huge “Star Trek” fan back in the day, and I never ‘hated’ Wesley Crusher the way some fans seemed to. I’ve also enjoyed his recurring bit part on “The Big Bang Theory,” so I was expecting a fun read.
And I got … an OK read.
My main issue was that although all of his stories were technically about separate incidents, the incidents all were about the same few themes, so they got tiresome.
There was the “auditioning for a part if horrible and soul-sucking and humiliating and then I didn’t get the part” story. There was the “I think about turning my back on acting/’Star Trek’/the fans, and my long-suffering wife helps me believe in myself again” story. There was the “conventions suck/no they don’t/yes they do” bit. And OK, the anecdotes were about different conventions, but in the end, it was the same story, over and over again.
And some of the angsting seemed really pointless, too. There was one chapter where he talks about whether doing a convention or not doing it will hold back his career. I wanted to smack him and tell him he was massively over-thinking it. Just go about your life and your career as usual, Wheaton. And if they invite you and you’re available to go and you want to go, then fine, go. And if you have work or a family vacation or you don’t want to go, don’t go. Why does there have to be this big ulterior meaning to it?
There were some other nitpicks too. He spells the names of two people—one of them real—incorrectly. And there were a handful of typos and formatting issues. I felt overall that this book would have benefitted from one more pass by an editor, both to trim it down a little and tighten the narrative flow, and to correct some of the glitchy stuff.
I know Wil prides himself on the DIY-ish way he runs his writing business, but all the smart self-publishers these days seem to be coming around to the idea that there are some things it really does pay to outsource. A good editor could have made this a better book.
Three e-readers, and that’s a bit generous. I am baffled by all the raves this book seems to have at Amazon.