My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I haven’t read a lot of autobiographical books, but this is one of the more entertaining ones I’ve ever read. I think part of that has to do with Wil Wheaton’s writing style – I particularly enjoyed his teen-to-adult filters. I think it also is partially due to the fact that many of these stories originally came from his blog. While I’m sure his editor helped him clean it up a bit and make it slightly more bookish, it still retains a lot of that conversational style.
Similar to Borg Like Me & Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems, part of what really helps the book work and fit together cohesively are the introductions added to the book. They provide not only the context we’re missing, but also sometimes give us an epilogue that’s only possible years after the fact, but which provides greater meaning to the events that took place in the piece.
I have to admit that when I was first becoming acclimated to net culture and learned about alt.westlycrusher.die.die.die that I expressed some hatred of the character. I assumed that a) I hadn’t noticed it when I watched Star Trek: TNG because I was just a kid and b) this is part of Internet culture. But as I found him on his Suicide Girls Blog and in other places, I realized a) he’s a person (Something I try to remind myself every time I think of acting like a jerk to someone online – particularly a celeb or comic writer) and b) people were being mean because it was what others were doing. The more I got to know him through various media, the more I realized what a kind-hearted person he was. This book cemented that feeling. Not only is a good autobiography through articles, but it’s a great reminder that those who put themselves out there for our entertainment are people with hopes and dreams and feelings. Some of them may have already been jerks and some may become jerks through access to fame and power. But many are decent folks no better or worse than you and I who don’t deserve our ire.