Oof, this review is going to be a hard one. On one hand, I love a lot of Felicia Day’s work. The Guild, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and Geek & Sundry in particular have made an impact on my life. The Guild is a series I revisit frequently because I find it relatable and comforting: for instance, if I have to stay home because I’m sick, watching my favorite game addicts try and fail at socializing helps me feel a little bit better. And, since I’m a fan of her work, I was interested in reading about how it all came to be.
But this book was not what I was looking for.
I should clarify: the story told in this book is what I was looking for. Her writing style is what made the experience somewhat painful. Of course, this is her first book and not nailing her voice right out of the gate is forgivable. I just feel that there was very little foresight put into writing it.
When the book was published in 2015, the LOL RANDOM memespeak that Day uses to tell her story probably felt, to her and her publisher, like she was striking while the iron was hot. If I had read it five years ago, I probably would have found it ten times funnier and more relatable. However, the internet has shown that memes age more like milk than wine and the jokes littering the pages come across as archaic and, you know, kinda cringey. Memes do not belong in books – books are meant to last for a long, long time and memes degrade quickly by nature. So, if I ever see another writer reference I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER for a cheap laugh, I will take the book, go out to my fire pit, and cackle maniacally as I watch the flames reduce it to ashes. (And since I use my phone to read books, it will be that much more impactful.)
Then, when I reached the chapter about Gamergate toward the end of the book, it kind of gave me whiplash. I appreciate getting a little bit of history on this event that I’ve never really understood (and still don’t completely) and I sort of see why it’s included in this memoir, but the shift in tone and subject matter was really jarring. The jokes stopped, the story turned somewhat frightening, and it made me uncomfortable as I read it… And then the chapter was over, and she returned to the cheesy/cheery voice she’d used for the entirety of the book up to the beginning of that chapter. The whole section felt like it didn’t belong and I’m a little surprised it made the cut.
I don’t regret reading this book. The subject matter was interesting to me, so I don’t feel like it was a waste of time. However, I don’t believe I’ll ever reread it, nor will I recommend it to anyone else. Unless, of course, I’m talking to a person totally #stans Felicia Day.