The highs and lows of an internet celebrity’s journey from lonely child to CCO of a multi million dollar startup.
Any card carrying nerd or geek (you choose how you self identify) probably knows who Felicia Day is. Either from her work as an actress on shows like Joss Whedon‘s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or perhaps Eureka or Supernatural. As the writer/producer/star of her own, groundbreaking, web-series The Guild or as the driving force behind the online content created by Geek & Sundry. Her video persona is one of a quirky, upbeat and positive person. She is a huge advocate of gaming culture.
In this easy to read memoir interspersed with old photos and meme style illustrations we learn many things about Felicia Day, first and foremost that she didn’t enjoy what would be commonly referred to as “a regular upbringing”. Much of her education took place at home, and her mother’s approach was way different to a standard curriculum. As a result Felicia and her brother barely came into contact with kids their own age. In search of friendship and interaction, Day became an early adopter of the Internet and over time found herself drawn towards the world of online video gaming.
Despite a lenient approach to education Felicia had the drive and motivation to major in maths and music at college, finishing through sheer grit, determination and bloody mindedness (The details of which form one of the most compelling parts of the book) with a 4.0 average. Most would have taken these skills and turned them into a career, but this girl had other plans. Felicia Day aspired to be an actress and ended up a World of Warcraft addict.
Many of the positive attributes I associate with Felicia Day are commonly on show in her public persona. She’s a funny, quirky and a super-positive person to the casual consumer of her work. Yet in this honest memoir we learn that she’s suffered from social and stress anxiety throughout her life, in no small part thanks to a self imposed fear of failure and desire to achieve perfection in every endeavour. She feels awkward, a lot, and many of her insecurities can be traced back to the years of homeschooling and lack of peer interaction.
Littered with funny stories and awkward situations – and written very much in an informal style – much of the book, despite the underlying neurosis, is presented in a positive light. It’s near the conclusion that things get a whole lot darker as Day shares some of the sickening comments and treatment she’s been subjected to by keyboard (and not so keyboard) warriors, and the fallout and very real threats she faced following the sharing of her thoughts on #GamerGate. Darker still are the mental and physical repercussions of living a life in search of perfection in every aspiration.
What I had expected to be a stroll through the slightly strange psyche of this goofy, yet appeasable Internet star, often lauded as the queen of geek, turned out to be far more substantial in content than I would have envisioned. You’re Never Weird… however, doesn’t offer great longevity, for me at least. I ploughed through the life of Day in less than a day.
You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) A Memoir is available now from many place which you can locate at feliciadaybook.com.