I loved this inside look at the life of Felicia Day. In one of the opening anecdotes in the book, Day is surreptitiously looking at the Build-a-Bear store, and she’s approached by a teenage girl who’s a fan. The girl’s mother has no idea who Day is. The girl says that her boyfriend has a big crush on Day, and she totally doesn’t mind. Day wonders whether this is a compliment.
I hear this a lot. The insecure part of me always feels like there’s a backhanded insult underneath, like the girls know I’m not QUITE hot enough for their guy to go through with a hookup.
I laughed out loud on a plane as I read this, because I could identify. Yes, my husband has a crush on Day, and I totally don’t mind.
Who is Felicia Day? She’s a successful actress, writer, and producer, but she’s much more than that. She’s called “the Queen of the Geeks” but she’s more than that. She defies categorization, which is maybe what I admire most about her. She’s geeky but girly at the same time. Joss Whedon says she’s “fierce.” She wants girls to feel good about who they are, even when that means being weird. She’s a celebrity that most of the population won’t recognize. And for her, that’s probably a good thing.
As a writer, Day has a really engaging voice. Not surprising; she did write The Guild, after all. I found this book a quick read. At first I got a little lost in the details of early internet and gaming in the 90s, but I was fascinated by her experiences as a student and even more by her experience trying to break into the Hollywood scene. I loved reading about her “participation” in a support group for women writers.
I especially enjoyed the blow-by-blow of how The Guild was created. Warning, if you’re not a fan of The Guild, or have no idea what that is, you might find this part a little tedious (but then you’re probably not reading this book). For me it was a chance to relive a show that was a lot of fun for my husband and I to watch together – and it’s also where I learned most of what I know about gaming, at least until I played a little myself.
One problem with Day’s book was I found it a little disjointed. It covers a few things thoroughly, like Day’s college experience as a music major and her early home schooling days. But it doesn’t give you the big picture of who she is as much as it could.
Another thing: she clearly does not want to delve into her personal life in this book, which I respect. But there’s a vague unnamed boyfriend throughout the book that occasionally gives her advice, and I found the lack of description of her personal life to be really distracting (we don’t even know if these are different boyfriends or the same one). Who we date and when and how it goes ALWAYS impacts who we are. It just does.
Post-Guild, the book continues to be a little disjointed. I loved reading about her experiences at Comic Cons (I’ve always wanted to attend one). One year she’s setting up her own booth just to hand out flyers, and the next year she’s filling an auditorium. I particularly enjoyed when she talks about all the crazy fan art that people have given her.
I’m glad she addresses GamerGate, and this was a powerful part of the book, but again it seems disconnected to the rest of the book. In a way this book (like Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?) reads like a loose collection of essays at times, not a cohesive narrative.
That said, and while I think she could have delved more deeply in some places, I’m grateful for the chance to get to know more about Day, who I really admire. I appreciate that she shares with us some of the bad times as well as the good times. The husband and I are rewatching the Guild, and now I understand how much of her own identity she put into the show, and how much it took to get it produced. Her success is truly inspiring.