Review: "Just a Geek" by Wil Wheaton

It's not often I read books which both reverse and elevate my opinion of the author. Before reading Just a Geek, Wil Wheaton was the child-actor who played arguably the most hated character on Star Trek:TNG, as well as the kid with the biggest (leech-infested) one in four counties. After finishing the book, Wil has become one of my Personal Heroes.

To summarize the book by saying it publicly chronicles his personal struggles after leaving TNG is simultaneously accurate and whole inadequate. Peter Coyote said his advice to anyone wishing to publish his or her memoirs is simply? ?don't.? But Peter, ignoring his own advice, released his story when he was in his 50's, with a rich, varied and sordid past to chronicle. Christ, Wheaton is a few years younger than me! How much interesting crap can you dig up, honestly?

Surprisingly, and as my high school physics teacher often said, I had the units of measurement wrong. With Wil's book, it's the quality of his life experiences that draws you in, not the quantity.

Uber-geek Trek fans looking for the dirty nasties which happened behind-the-scenes of the show are going to be disappointed. There are no tales of late night coke-parties which ended with Dr. Crusher and Councilor Troy bumping uglies, no recitations of the time Picard stuck a flattened tribble on his head and ran around the set saying ?I'M WILLAM FUCKING SHATNER!?

But what you will find is always honest, often heart wrenching and other times hilarious accounts of his life during, after and orbiting around TNG. It's not been a rosy ride for Wil, but rather than bottle it up inside or turn to the ever-so-tempting lure of sweet, sweet heroin, he talked about it. Publicly. It's all there in the book (and on his blog) for the whole world to see.

I think people will take from the book what they need. For me, I found not only a new understanding of an amazing human being, but also inspiration and perspective. Christ this boy went through some serious shit, often at the hands of you people! But through it all, he survived, flourished and grew into the person he is today. I'll bet you if you asked him (which I'll do in a month during our interview), he wouldn't change a thing.

Hats off to you, Wil. You're a damn fine storyteller, writer, comic and one of the more decent folks I've had the pleasure of knowing. And best of all, you're just a geek? like me.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton
Published by: O'Reilly Media; July 2004
ISBN: 059600768X
Genre: Non fiction
Author's Webpage:

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