Book Review: Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton (2004)

Synopsis: In the late 1980s, Wil Wheaton rose to fame as a teenager after starring in the film Stand by Me and being cast as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He decided to leave the latter to pursue a movie career only to discover it was a mistake as he struggled to get cast in even a commercial. His autobiography talks about his life after STNG, his struggles as an actor and his blog.


Review: To tell you the truth, like a lot of people, Wesley Crusher was always my least favorite character on STNG. This wasn't so much because I didn't think Wil Wheaton did an OK job as much as the writers never seemed to figure out a way to make him less annoying. And as part of that, I wasn't really a big Wil Wheaton fan until much later, when he started making guest appearances as a fictionalized version of himself on The Big Bang Theory and I had an opportunity to see just how funny he was.

My decision to check this book out from the library was based more on TBBT than STNG as a result and, after finishing it last night, I was glad I did.

At first, I was concerned the book would just be about his blog and, just to warn you, a good portion of it is him copying and pasting stuff he had already written. However, as the book progressed, I did find quite a bit about it I enjoyed.

In particular, I think this book does a great job showing just how hard it is to make a living being an actor. He had a recurring role on a popular television series and starred in a movie that was nominated for an Academy Award but still was forced to go auditions and was passed over time and time again for various reasons while his opportunity to appear one last time as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: Nemesis was cut out of the film.

His attempt to balance his failing career with his family life was also interesting, especially the part about him needing to choose between a family vacation or auditions, along with his constant self-doubt created by his regret for leaving STNG. Truthfully, I was beginning to wonder why he didn't just make a career change considering he had a bunch of unpaid bills.

Probably the only thing I was disappointed by with this book is it was written before his time on TBBT (that show didn't debut until 2007). However, I know there's a sequel and that will hopefully cover that part of his career.

Final Opinion: It was as entertaining of a book as I had hoped it would be and I learned a lot both about Wheaton and the acting industry in general. It's one I would recommend.

My Grade: A

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