Just a Geek

Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment 
beyond the Starship Enterprise
Wil Wheaton, 2004

Premise: From the back cover: "Just a Geek is the story of how Wil Wheaton faced down his constant companion, the ghost he calls 'Prove To Everyone That Quitting Star Trek Wasn't A Mistake.'"

I read this at a really good time. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that reading a memoir about career transition and self-doubt is really satisfying if one is full of doubt and in the midst of a potential career transition.

It doesn't hurt that this book is also clever, touching and really funny.

I rediscovered Wil Wheaton recently through the delightful Penny Arcade D&D podcasts. I don't get to do any gaming in my day-to-day life lately, so it's fun to eavesdrop on these games through the podcast. And Wil is obviously a really great gamer.

Reading the book was wonderfully comfortable. It's adapted from entries from his blog, each enclosed in a fuller story of what was going on in his life when he initially wrote the posts and interspersed with flashbacks for more information. I felt as if I were listening to an unusually open and honest story told by a friend.

The 'plot' of the memoir largely revolves around Wil making peace with having been on Star Trek, having left Star Trek, and figuring out what he's going to do with his life if he's not getting jobs as an actor. I liked the 'behind-the-scenes' of his blog, where he would reprint an early post, and then write that he had been exaggerating in the post so that he wouldn't reveal how badly the audition had gone, or how depressed he was, etc.

There are poignant chapters about interactions with other Trek cast members, sweet parts about his wife and step-kids, as well as parts about his passion for acting, and frustration with the 'industry'. Plus a really moving and funny section titled: The Wesley Dialogues.

I recommend Just a Geek to all us geeks, and to anyone who feels like you're fumbling your way through life, just trying to figure out the next step.

5 Stars – An Amazing Book


  1. I wouldn't mind checking this out. He was a young man in an extremely difficult position - part of one of the most wildly successful syndicated TV shows ever, not to mention part of a decades old legacy, and yet looked down upon as a child actor. Walking away must have been difficult, but I always respected him for taking control of his life.

    I love that he can look back on it now and laugh - I get a smile every time the 'evil' Wil Wheaton shows up on Big Bang Theory.

  2. Absolutely! It was interesting hearing some of the back story of leaving the show, not to mention the later conundrum posed by 'being famous for having once been famous'. If you do check it out, I hope you enjoy it!


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