Review of STILL JUST A GEEK by Wil Wheaton

Still Just a Geek An Annotated MemoirStill Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir by Wil Wheaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a big fan of Wil Wheaton, the writer--and, more recently, the audiobook narrator--I am pleased I pre-ordered this book to receive it on the day of publication. I'm grateful it took all of a few minutes to realize I should really listen to the audiobook instead. I'm still perfecting Wil Wheaton's voice in my head, so I figured I better leave it to the real deal. (If you only have the paper copy, you REALLY missed out.)

I had already read Just a Geek: Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment Beyond the Starship Enterprise, probably not long after it was published. So I was eager to dig into what I saw as Bonus Content in the form of annotations in Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir. The Bonus Content is totally worth it. And Wil's reading of the audiobook version is entertaining, funny, gripping, emotional, and heartbreaking. So, yeah, get the audiobook.

If I love Wil Wheaton so much, and loved this book so much... why four stars?

First, a technical flaw that ruined the experience of the paper version of the book: the symbols signifying the footnotes were too subtle, and I missed reading the footnote... every... single... time. Given that many people were buying the book specifically for the annotations, these should have been much more obvious. Having hit the bottom of the text and discovering the missed footnotes, scanning for the appropriate symbol in the text to reestablish the context of the footnote was a game I had no interest in playing. Put simply, it took the fun out of reading the book. (This is another reason the audiobook version is SO much better.)

My second and only other complaint about this book is the sheer number of footnotes spent apologizing for word choices made in the original text. I understand Wil felt the need to apologize for his uses of words that are now considered offensive and hurtful and demeaning, but apologizing upon virtually every occurrence is repetitive and unnecessary. Not to mention, I'm sure the majority of his audience is intelligent enough to read the original text with the understanding that it was a product of its time. Perhaps an all-inclusive statement in a preface or introduction would have sufficed?

In the grand scheme of things, these are minor complaints. But I had to be honest with myself that a book with even minor complaints does not deserve five stars. Regardless, I highly recommend the audiobook, in particular. It is such a rewarding and powerful listening experience.

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