Thursday, January 7

Book Review - You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day

Some people know her from her acting in cult favorites like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Eureka, and Supernatural, while others recognize her from her YouTube series, The Guild, or other videos from her Geek and Sundry channel. Then there are the people who recognize her insanely popular Twitter feed. Felicia Day has made what she calls a "weirdly cobbled-together career" for herself by celebrating the things she loves the most, no matter how geeky or strange those passions may be, and by finding a community of like-minded fans and friends

In the book's foreword, Joss Whedon, who cast Day in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, says "It's hard being weird. No -- it's hard living in a culture that makes it hard." In the first few essays (the first appropriately titled "Why I'm Weird") Felicia describes growing up very socially isolated - she and her brother were homeschooled "for hippie reasons" and their parents encouraged them to pursue their passions, enrolling them in all sorts of lessons so they could meet other children but also in case they were prodigies. Felicia was always the weird girl in her ballet class until she finally found a community to connect with - in the world of online role-playing games. She writes, "In my childhood world, the sound of a modem dialing up to connect with another computer was the sound of freedom."

Something new I learned about Felicia from the book was that she started college early and double majored in math and violin. The chapters about her college experience really get into her anxiety and perfectionism, and I appreciated how honest she was (while still being hilarious).

After college, Felicia decided to pursue acting, but got burned out when she was typecast in a role she calls the "cat secretary" over and over again - never mainstream pretty enough to be the leading lady and never in roles that were actually interesting to play. "When the system you want to be a part of so badly turns you into someone you're unhappy with and you lose sight of yourself, is it worth it?" Depressed about her acting career, Felicia became obsessed with World of Warcraft, to the point that playing the game became a full-fledged addiction. With some pushing from friends, she was able to quit playing WoW and turned funny experiences she'd had gaming into The Guild, a web series that went viral on YouTube even though it was produced in the cast and crew members' garages with props found through dumpster diving.

One of the common themes in celebrity memoirs is that notoriety doesn't fix things, and Felicia's essays are proof of that - even when she goes to conventions like Comic-Con and meets fans who love her, she suffers from impostor syndrome. When it became clear that the sixth season of The Guild would be the last due to funding issues and other restraints, she had a nervous breakdown because she'd conflated her work with her identity. Felicia also addresses #GamerGate, a recent online scandal in which well-known women in the gaming industry and culture were targeted with accusations of bribery and harassed for "ruining gaming." 

I really enjoyed the anecdote Felicia used to tie together her experiences in the world of geekery: after YouTube stopped funding her channel, Geek and Sundry, and Felicia was forced to revise her company's offerings, she got the opportunity to visit Skywalker Ranch - every nerd's dream! While she was there, she saw some props from Star Wars that turned out to be made from Dixie Cups - much like the random Craigslist junk she'd used to turn The Guild's sets into her characters' homes. The message? The only real qualification for making something happen is passion. As Felica says, "I hope all my copious oversharing encourages someone to stop, drop, and do something that's always scared them. Create something they've always dreamt of. Connect with people they never thought they'd know. Because there's no better time in history to do it." 


  1. Haha, this sounds like a book I'd most definitely enjoy!


    1. I really liked it! I always enjoy learning that celebrities were just as weird as I was growing up... or even weirder, in this case ;)

  2. I've wanted to read this book for a while now. From reading your review, I feel like I would really connect with Felicia's experiences.