I enjoyed Felicia Day’s memoir immensely, but I’m going to start this review with a caveat.
I usually feel suspicious when young people write memoirs. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of young people have led remarkable lives that are worth reading about. It’s just that I’ve long felt that memoirs should be like an artist’s retrospective: it’s better to wait rather than doing it too soon, for fear that you might be looking back too early. Like memoirs, retrospectives become a cristallized point in the artist’s or person’s life. That person will keep on living and creating, of course (well, hopefully), but it’s hard not to feel like it’s something that should be done at an advanced point in their careers / lives. Felicia is still quite young, and I’m pretty sure she will go on to keep doing great things. Nothing wrong with writing a memoir when you feel like it, but if you keep being successful, then eventually you’re going to write another one (it’s happened before). This is the one thing that made me not give this book five stars: the feeling that it ends too abruptly, like a work in progress. I have a feeling she will have a lot more to tell in a few years.
That being said, this is an amazing book. One of the best memoirs I’ve ever read, in fact.
I’ve been a fan of Felicia since the first season of The Guild, way back in 2007. At that time, I played World of Warcraft daily with my guild. Growing up, I never knew any other girls who played games - I only had female friends who were also gamers as an adult - so it was easy to feel like the odd one out. I was happy to finally find a series with people I could identify with. I also identified with Felicia’s character on a more personal level: the anxiety, social awkwardness, not having things figured out in life. I became a fan of the show and its creator, and have followed her work ever since.
Felicia’s personality comes through in all of her videos, and that same personality is perfectly encapsulated within the pages of this book: funny, witty, neurotic, anxious, self-critical, at times dysfunctional, but always disarmingly honest. For me it was therapeutic to read about how hard it is to create something, how difficult life can be when we are our own worst enemy, and how perfectly wonderful and scary and exhilarating it is to be a geek and find the internet. I too remember that moment of acceptance, of finding one’s community. And I too remember when that exhilaration deflated in the face of toxicity.
Felicia goes through several stages of her life, and it is true that her path has been unconventional. But the beauty of this book is that it’s not just about her - it’s about being a geek, but above all, about being human. And that is perhaps the best reason for me to recommend this. Definitely read this if you’re a fan, a geek, a gamer, a creator, or someone who has always felt like the odd one out. And if you haven’t watched The Guild, go watch it. You won’t be disappointed, and then you can come back and read this book.