Playground by Jennifer Saginor
That's how far I got before deciding that this one's going back to the library. Totally not worth the time. (There may be "spoilers" in the review...you have been warned)
Again, as I've said with other memoirs, I feel the need to say that my low rating is not a condemnation against the author or her experiences.
No, this only got one star because the writing style was horrible and it was a creepy book.
The writing was so trite and stilted I almost wondered if there was a ghost-writer involved. But then I realized I didn't care enough to try to find out so that will be a question I will never have answered. And I'm ok with that. Saginor also recounts memories in amazing detail. Other reviews point this out as well - how on earth can she remember not only what designers she was wearing, but also the colors of each garment as she walks into various clubs? How can she remember the exact time she left a club? I know authors have to embellish for the sake of filling out a memoir, but too much and the book just seems like fiction.
And cue the creepy. While I wasn't expecting a memoir version of The Girls Next Door, I also wasn't expecting an abusive, perverted, drug-addled father figure, the denigration of every single female the author meets, and a lesbian tryst (that was also statutory rape of the author). The only major description in the book (up to the point that I read) is the sex scene with a Hef's girlfriend. I'm sorry, but I don't want to read a sex scene that involves a child. It's statutory rape and not something that should be glorified in any way...even if the author is "damaged" and "looking for maternal warmth".
And while her childhood was horrific and abusive in its own way, there comes a time when the constant, "I'm like this because my dad made me like this" or "I'm like this because I was a pawn my parents used in their contentious divorce" just comes across as hollow excuses.
Again, I haven't finished the book. I hope the author has pulled herself out from the horrible childhood she was subjected to and I hope she addresses that in the book...otherwise the book is just a collection of creepy, perverted recollections looking to make a buck off of Hefner's popularity.
At 46%, however, I have to call in the towel.
It's been a slow start this year, y'all. Yes, I have started all four books on the sidebar. No, I'm not done with any of them at the moment. It's not that they're bad books...I like them all so far. It's just been slow going. Of course, I'm sure our house losing water for 3 or 4 days due to frozen and burst pipes (yay, winter.) didn't help matters. I have managed to finish a different book, though. It's another memoir. From another geek/nerd. What can I say...it's how I roll.
Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton
Apparently I missed the fact that Wil Wheaton wrote a book. In 2004.
But, better late than never I suppose.
From Stand By Me to Star Trek: TNG (I never fully understood why Wesley Crusher was so reviled by so many Trekkies...) to Table Top, Wil Wheaton has been a well-known face among geeks, nerds and various other assorted fans for quite a while.
Just a Geek is Wheaton's memoir of that "in-between" time after he left Star Trek: TNG and before he essentially re-branded himself as the quintessential geek.
While I have always been a TNG fan, I never knew the angst under which Wheaton left the show. I also never knew the angst Wheaton dealt with following his departure as he was met with failed audition after failed audition. He left TNG in the hopes a big movie career would follow quickly on its heels...but, alas and alack, it did not.
Just a Geek is an honest look at the self-doubt, frustrations, and hardships that can follow an actor who is struggling to break into the Hollywood scene (or, in Wheaton's case, to break back into the Hollywood scene).
That said...it is angsty and it is full of confessions of self-doubt...so much so that one might think the book takes on an almost whiney tone at times.
But, can you blame him? I know I certainly can't fathom what it was like to be a child star only to fall off the radar. While the book does take on a certain tone at parts, it's also quick to point out personal triumphs and turning points. It comes across as a seemingly honest and exposed memoir of his "in between" period.
"In between what?" you ask? Well, like I said, the book was written in 2004. I guess my geek card gets suspended for a few days because I totally didn't know Wheaton was an author beyond his popular blog that I check sporadically (so sporadically I didn't see where I am sure he promoted his books on said blog). Now, in 2014, Wheaton is the host of the popular web series TableTop - one of the main shows on the Geek & Sundry channel. He has also been so successful as branding himself as the quintessential geek that he can now make cameos of himself on popular shows like Big Bang Theory and the like. Obviously the tides have turned somewhat for Wheaton. No, it's not the big movie career he had hopes for after his departure from TNG...however, he is now known as WIL WHEATON...rather than that guy who played Wesley Crusher from TNG. I'd call that a success.
Just a Geek is a fun, if slightly dated, read. And one thing is for certain - Wheaton can write in a style that, as Picard would say, ENGAGEs the reader and is probably best enjoyed while drinking a cup of Earl Grey, hot.
Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg
I really enjoyed Nerd Do Well. When I saw that it was in audiobook form andnarrated by Simon Pegg...well, I had to give it a try. I'm glad I did. It was interesting to hear about Pegg's formative years and Pegg's humor made it all-around entertaining.
I knocked it down a star because...well...I just didn't like the sci-fi story. Pegg intersperses his memoir's chapters with brief interludes of a fictional sci-fi story that features a remarkably similar Simon Pegg. The story started out entertaining and humorous, but I just lost interest as the story wore on. It almost felt like the sci-fi story was just filler to make the book a little thicker.
If you are a self-avowed geek/nerd/Simon Pegg fan/whatever then definitely give this book a whirl. I'd recommend the audiobook version simply because of the narration...it's almost like a prolonged narration like you would hear in one of Pegg's movies like Shaun of the Dead.