Book Review #32: You’re Never Weird On the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day

Felicia Day is someone I admire for a few reasons; she’s overcome similar things that I have, and she’s a HUGE nerd/geek, like me. She also has a philosophy that I love, which includes lots of positivity statements. In her memoir, she shares a lot about her life, including deeply personal things, and it shows she has a lot of gusto.

She first describes her early days in school, then after a while being home-schooled for the rest of her schooling career. The tone of this book is definitely humorous, as the book is spattered with pictures such as a school photo of her younger self with a upside-down salad bowl photoshopped on her head. Felicia later describes her first gaming love, a online video game series called Ultima. Ultimately (pun definitely intended), Felicia’s game lead her to getting her first kiss with a boy she met through the game.

Amazingly, without graduating high school, Felicia made it to the University of Texas where she studied music and math, excelling in both. She had played violin since she was very young and had always loved math (not only because her grandfather urged her to pursue it due to his profession). After university she goes to L.A. to try to become an actress. Of course, in classic Felicia fashion, many funny hijinks ensue.

She eventually creates a web-series called The Guild based on the massively multiplayer online video game, World of Warcraft, which she may or may not have devoted her life to at one point. The series soon became a success, and she got roles in such media like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-LongBlog and Supernatural. In 2011, Felicia created a YouTube channel called “Geek & Sundry” where she posted many various videos favoring all of “geekdom.’

During this process, things were not always sunshine in Felicia’s life. She had trouble with anxiety, depression, and disease, making a portion of her life very difficult. Her experiences with these struggles reminded me of my own struggles, and I think I connected with her more as I was reading. I even teared up a bit while reading.

Felicia Day has a way of pulling you in. Her novel is not something you can put down very easily, and I devoured it in less than two days. You’re Never Weird On The Internet (almost) has a fun, spunky atmosphere that shows amazing talent. You go, Felicia.

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Book Review #29: Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate number #11187-424–one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison–why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

This novel is only the second adult memoir I have ever read and it gives a bit of improvement from the last one which you can read the review I gave for it here.

I found this novel really inviting and Kerman really relatable. At times this novel was a bit stale, as nothing much really happens, however, I found her daily life in prison fascinating. The friendships she made in this novel were very dear to her and as a reader, I could tell this wasn’t going to a be a novel about the oddities and atrocities of prison in America. This novel was about women and their relationships.

Now, I don’t mean to say I want to go commit a crime and jump into prison just to have close and sincere relationships with women of all ages, however, it seems like a good way to do it. Just kidding… but I wish I could be close with someone like that.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has seen the series and recognizes the fact that it is also about women and their relationships. I can also recommend this novel to anyone who wants to pick up a non-fiction novel and gain something from it.

Now, with this novel being adapted into a series I can’t help as a reader to look at differences between the novel and acclaimed Netflix Original Series (That people should watch! Because it’s awesomely good and I mean…Laverne Cox. ‘Nuff said). Some of the more recognizable characters in the series like Red, Sofia, and Pennastucky were actually characters from the novel. Events obviously, were not all the same, but I was surprised the peeing incident was in the book.

In conclusion, watch the show, read the novel. ‘Tis good. No matter which way you swing. (Could that be a reference to Kerman’s stint as a lesbian? We just don’t know.)

My Rating
My Rating

Book Review #25: With or Without You by Domenica Ruta

A Haunting, unforgettable mother-daughter story for a new generation–the debut of a blazing new lyrical voice

Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class, unforgiving town north of Boston, in a trash-filled house on a dead-end road surrounded by a river and a salt marsh.  Her mother, Kathi, a notorious local figure, was a drug addict and sometimes dealer whose life swung between welfare and riches, whose highbrow taste was at odds with her hardscrabble life.  And yet she managed, despite the chaos she created, to instill in her daughter a love of stories.  Kathi frequently kept Domenica home from school to watch such classics as the Godfather movies and everything by Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, telling her, “This is more important. I promise. You’ll thank me later.” And despite the fact that there was not a book to be found in her household, Domenica developed a love of reading, which helped her believe she could transcend this life of undying grudges, self-inflicted misfortune, and the crooked moral code that Kathi and her cohorts lived by.

With or Without You is the story of Domenica Ruta’s unconventional coming of age–a darkly hilarious chronicle of a misfit ’90s youth and the necessary and painful act of breaking away, and the overcoming her own addictions and demons in the process.  In a brilliant stylistic feat, Ruta has written a powerful, inspiring, compulsively readable, and finally redemptive story about loving and leaving.

Upon reading the description of this story, I thought it was going to be a very emotional and powerful read, something to make me think about my own life and such. This book didn’t really achieve that.

Sure, it wasn’t bad. Not at all, However, I wish Ruta would have put more emotion into her writing, something more reflective so it can keep me hooked. This novel wasn’t perfect, but it was still an enjoyable read.  Stepping into someone else’s shoes for a while made me enjoy this story even more.

I also really loved the fact that Ruta touched upon her own addictions and how they affected her life.  I do recommend this read for anyone who enjoys memoirs or reading about addiction and how it affects the family etc.

Sorry, this was short and sweet, but there’s really not much else to say about this novel.

My Rating
My Rating