(Audio)book Talk: YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST) by Felicia Day, read by the author

 

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir

Audiobook read by the author
Touchstone Books (August 2015), hardcover (ISBN 1476785651 / 9781476785653)
Nonfiction: memoir, 272 pages
Source: Purchased audiobook (Simon & Schuster Audio, August 2015, ISBN 9781442386822)
 
This review contains links to indiebound.org

audiobook discussion The 3 Rs Blog YOURE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST) Felicia Day
 


In the introduction to her memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), Felicia Day describes herself as Comic-Con famous. In the nerdy, Comic-Con-adjacent circles I hover on the edges of, she is acclaimed as a pioneer, a trailblazer, and a heroineand not just because shes played one on TV. 
 
My first notice of Day was as Penny, the love interest of both Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer in Joss Whedons 2008 musical-comedy Web-video classic Dr. Horribles Sing-Along Blog, but that wasnt Dayfirst experience with the TV of the near future. By then, she had already written, co-produced, and starred in the first season of The Guild, a sitcom about a group of online gamers that was one of the earliest shows originally made for YouTubefive more seasons would follow. And before that, shed been playing games and chatting online since the dawn of the modem, nearly. While growing up all over the South—her family’s frequent moves were a contributing factor to her and her brothers loosely-structured homeschoolingDay was part of the first generation to grow up with, and on, the Internet. Youre Never Weird offers a vibrant portrait of how her online experiences have shaped Day, and digs into how shes affected and influenced the online world. 
 
Days unusual education—her homeschooling led to a violin scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin; she entered at sixteen and graduated four years later with a 4.0 and bachelors degrees in math and musicwas an unlikely preparation for an acting career, but she moved to Los Angeles immediately after college anyway. She landed commercials and small TV roles, but her dreams of starring in a sitcom led her to write a pilot about what she knewthe world of online gaming. Unfortunately for her, the TV networks knew nothing about the subject, and the project went nowhere until she and her partners decided to self-produce it for the Internet—after all, it seemed the most likely outlet for a show essentially about the Internet. Funded through Paypal and broken down into six mini-episodes, the first season of The Guild debuted on YouTube in 2007.
 
Youre Never Weird is a memoir of hard work and the creative process, but it’s also a memoir of addiction and recovery. Day acknowledges the addictive nature of her work on her show,  shows its through-line from the original addiction to online gaming–chiefly World of Warcraft–that preceded it and defined it, and reveals her struggles with moving on from it. Day also offers her perspective on her status as a woman best known for creating and gaming on the Internet, and how thats made her both a role model and a target.
 
Days story is unique and she tells it engagingly, but Im glad I read it in audio rather than print. The writing style is very conversational and casualit works perfectly with Days skills as a performer, but I think I would have found it a bit irritating on the page. 
 
Rating: Book and audio, 3.75 of 5
 

 
 

When Felicia Day was a girl, all she wanted was to connect with other kids (desperately). Growing up in the Deep South, where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons,” she looked online to find her tribe. The internet was in its infancy and she became an early adopter at every stage of its growth—finding joy and unlikely friendships in the emerging digital world. Her relative isolation meant that she could pursue passions like gaming, calculus, and 1930’s detective novels without shame. Because she had no idea how “uncool” she really was. 

But if it hadn’t been for her strange background— the awkwardness continued when she started college at sixteen, with Mom driving her to campus every day—she might never have had the naive confidence to forge her own path. Like when she graduated as valedictorian with a math degree and then headed to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting despite having zero contacts. Or when she tired of being typecast as the crazy cat-lady secretary and decided to create her own web series before people in show business understood that online video could be more than just cats chasing laser pointers. 

Felicia’s rags-to-riches rise to internet fame launched her career as one of the most influen­tial creators in new media. Ever candid, she opens up about the rough patches along the way, recounting battles with writer’s block, a full-blown gaming addiction, severe anxiety and depression—and how she reinvented herself when overachieving became overwhelming.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should celebrate what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit. 

 
 
From Chapter One:
 
I recently experienced the perfect summary of my career at a Build-a-Bear store inside a suburban mall in Lancaster, California.
 
OK, sure, a single adult woman in her thirties with no children might not necessarily pick that as the first place to kill and hour of her life. But I’d never been inside one before, and Id already spent twenty minutes outside like a creepster. watching actual legitimate customers (mostly toddlers) go inside and, like modern-day demigods, craft the companion of their dreams. At a certain point, after eating two Auntie Annes pretzels, I decided to throw off the societal yoke of judgment.
 
Get in there, Felicia! Build yourself a stuffed friend. No ones around to witness your weakness!
 
So I entered, told the saleswoman I was browsing for a nephew, and proceeded to spend forty-five minutes trying to decide what design to get. My mom wasnt there, so I could take as long as I wanted. Unfortunately.”

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