Friday Review: Just A Geek by Wil Wheaton

Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship EnterpriseJust a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise by Wil Wheaton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I admit it- As big a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation as I was, I was never much of a fan of Wesley Crusher. To be fair, and maybe this will make the Wesley fans and perhaps Wil himself feel better, I was never much of a fan of Will Riker, either. As for Wil Wheaton, the person, I wasn’t a fan or not, mainly because I didn’t pay a lot of attention to him at first. And then, I started seeing him around online, and you know what? He’s kind of a nice guy.

The subtitle of this book pretty much describes it better than I could. Wheaton doesn’t pull many punches, even though a lot of them are aimed at himself. He had a tough time after leaving TNG. The big movie career he thought he’d get never materialized, and the longer he went without acting work, the less offers he got, and the more he sunk into depression and disillusionment. He had a family to provide for. He had a reputation to defend (or so he thought). He shunned almost everything to do with Star Trek. He did very few conventions, and preferred to try and forget about those years.

But, ultimately, he learned things about himself and his life. He learned he had a flair for comedy, and had a reasonably successful comedy sketch group. He began to write, first online and then books like this one. He learned he could still be a part of the Star Trek world, that the people he worked with didn’t really dislike him (they were just a lot older and had different lives than his teenage self), and that the fans still wanted Wesley around. He grew more comfortable with himself and who he became. It was a tough process, and he is honest about the many downs before the ups.

I found the book somewhat eye-opening. Those of us on the outside think it must be great to be part of such a successful TV show. The fame, the money, the cool life, right? Not always, and Wil Wheaton is proof of that. But he is also proof that a teen idol star can become a real adult and can overcome the obstacles he put in his own way. I will never again have the urge to say: “Shut up, Wesley!” (Oh, you knew I had to get that in there, didn’t you?)

I am not sure I will ever be a fan of Wesley, but I am most definitely now a fan of Wil.

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