Felicia Day has had quite a career. She was first seen by many as one of the Potentials on Buffy, then went on to produce the groundbreaking web comedy The Guild, appeare in Dr. Horrible, Eureka and Supernatural and create the Geek and Sundry website.
Now she’s penned a memoir, which is both very funny and also a bit uncomfortable. That’s a good thing, because it shows Felicia is much more than Codex or Penny or Charlie or even “that quirky gal” that we think we know from The Flog.
We learn about her unconventional education, but also how lonely it was. She talks about her early acting career, but also how she found herself typecast. She is very frank about her World of Warcraft addiction but also explains how, with some help, she willed herself into writing that first episode of The Guild. She also admits how the pressure of getting Geek and Sundry off the ground, and having to say goodbye to the show, seriously affected her health. She devoted a chapter to the #GamerGate controversy and how she was afraid to comment on it until her Tumblr post last October. She’s honest about how it has affected her, but why she still had to do it.
What’s really good is her writing style. Her story is told as if it’s a nearly 300-page version of The Flog. While I decided to get the iBooks version, her audiobook version may be even more entertaining. Then again, the audio version doesn’t include pictures of her past, including some really cute ones when she was young, her first Hollywood head shot, her first web page and the first version of the logo for The Guild.
The book begins with an encounter she has at a mall in Lancaster, CA that she says sums up her fame: being recognized for Supernatural and the internet, and for a movie she wasn’t in. From there, she guides the reader through her life, starting with her unconventional home schooling while living in the Deep South. She also recalls how she discovered the internet, which, at the time, was much different than it is now.
She reveals that her desire to be an actress and a writer actually started early in life. She appeared in a local production of To Kill A Mockingbird by lying about her age, while coming up with interesting fan fiction involving Anne of Green Gables.
Her story about how she got involved in World of Warcraft is also interesting. In fact, there was another online game she played that was less fancy, but gave her a chance to accomplish something while having friends online. That turned out to be the gateway to WoW, and how she devoted too much to that game.
It all still led to The Guild, and meeting Kim Evey, who suggested to Felicia that she make the show for the internet, since YouTube had just started about the same time. The rest, they say, is history. Felicia devoted three chapters to the show, specifically how she wrote it, filmed it, and got it shown. It’s also a lesson to others who also may consider making something for the internet, or even the next big Kickstarter thing.
Even with the success from that show, she admits she was scared about whether her true self would still exist without it. That fear actually led to the creation of Floyd, the game designer from the last season of the series. It also led to health problems that she soon handled bit by bit. People who may know her from “that show” may be really surprised, in a good way, on what she’s really all about.
The book includes a foreword by Joss Whedon that recalls how she helped prevent Dr. Horrible from being cut into smaller bits because it was thought people couldn’t watch YouTube videos longer than three minutes. He called it a “Buffy moment.” As he puts it, “Felicia created a persona of the bewildered waif who somehow manages to manage (and occasionally triumph). Her odd, compelling journey was more difficult than a lot of us who know her knew.”
In Joss Whedon’s words, the book is more than a memoir. It’s a quest. “If you wanna survive,” he says, “stay close to the redhead. She knows her way.”
This book is how she found her way, and how we might find ours by reading her story, too.
“You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” is available now in paper, digital or audio form at feliciadaybook.com. The site also has information on her book tour that continues through the end of August.