Book Review: Felicia Day's You're Never Weird On The Internet (Almost)*

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* I was fortunate to receive a copy of this book upon request from Sphere, thank you! *

The first time I heard of Felicia Day was watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog during my first year of university (watch it now), and since then I feel like she's always been a part of my life, in the background of my internet browsing. She's always tweeting (2.3 million Twitter followers can't be wrong), always making something new, and always involved in something to help other people. I knew the moment I heard she was writing a memoir that I needed a copy, despite knowing very little about her other than her web presence. 

Felicia takes us on a quick journey through her life with this book, mainly focusing around how technology and the internet have been a part of her existence from the very beginning. She talks about her dabbling (see: addiction) with various online games, from unheard of 'early internet' hits to the MMORPG World of Warcraft (as if you haven't heard of it), which served as a coping mechanism for her at a point in her life where she felt out of control. Honestly, I loved hearing about her experiences with gaming and how they formed who she is today, despite her bad experiences. It served as a refreshing view on a medium that is so frequently dismissed as a waste of time, even today when gaming it at such an all time high. 

Of course, being a woman playing videogames comes with its difficulties, with Felicia dedicating a chapter to her experiences during the GamerGate...debacle? Nightmare? There isn't really a word for it. Juxtaposed with her overwhelmingly positive experiences with gaming and the internet in the past (being so easily accepted as a 'female gamer' in her early online life), it's really sad to see how some large groups of fans of this medium have become so eager for segregation and dismissive of any positive changes for women in the community. She talks in detail about the threats she received for speaking out during this time, how her home address was leaked online, and the fear she felt every time she left the house (and the Twitter attacks she received for airing these fears). It's a hard chapter to get through, but fortunately it exists within a framework of more positive tales of the online world. It's just a shame it's one of the most recent ones, not giving a huge deal of hope for the future.

The way the book is structured put me off at first, with self-created memes dotted about and a very informal conversational writing style, but after a few pages I was hooked. I felt like I was reading a blog Felicia had written for her friends, with no pretense or fakeness about it. The book is 100% Felicia in its humour, its honesty, and its nerdy references. I think if you're not hugely engrossed in internet or 'nerd' culture, a lot of her jokes will go over your head, but I also think this could be an eye-opening read for anyone unsure of why the internet or gaming can be good for anybody, and even if you don't really know who Felicia Day is. She's like the nerdy big sister you always wanted. After finishing my copy of the book, I immediately watched the whole first season of her web series The Guild, which she talks about in length throughout the book, as it was her first real step on the path to who she's become today. All I can say is: I'm hooked.

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) was released by Sphere in hardback on 13th August, so is available to buy now! You can find Felicia over at @feliciaday (and I recommend you do, because she's hilarious). She tweets about conventions, animals, being a redhead, gaming, more conventions, and conventions. 

M x

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