Thursday, January 17, 2008

BOOK REVIEW - The Happiest Days of Our Lives

The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Wil Wheaton
Monolith Press, 2007
136 pages

I would like to start out by saying that Wil Wheaton is a bastard. As I noted in my review of Just A Geek, Wheaton's tales of his journeys through life kick my ass and quite frankly I am tired of it. Just once I would like to be able to put down something he has written without completing the damn thing in one sitting. I want to savor his prose and take my time to allow his stories to refresh my memories of my own geek life. Shit, I would like to get to bed before 3 in the morning so I am not a complete ass at the office the next day. Simple enough requests, methinks, but apparently Wheaton has other plans for my night.

As you might have surmised I received my copy of Wheaton's newest book The Happiest Days of Our Lives yesterday and once again read through it in a marathon session. Here he continues to chronicle his life as a geek with stories ranging from the dark past of the '70s all the way through the present. They run the emotional gamut as well, from the tear-inducing "let go - a requiem for Felix the Bear" in which Wil documents the all-too short time a stray cat spent in his family's life to the uncomfortably familiar "a portrait of the artist as a young geek" in which Wil details his involvement with table-top RPGs and drops the line, "...we had D&D fever, and the only prescription was more polyhedral dice." Amen to that, brother.

One of the most enjoyable things about Wheaton's writing is how accessible his style makes his stories. While he is an accomplished wordsmith his writing is not distant. There is an intimacy to it which makes you feel as though he is telling you personally. While reading the book you might as well be sitting and sharing a Guinness with Wheaton and this heightens the impact of his stories.

Go buy this book. Do it right now. Usually I would complain about this thing setting me back twenty clams for only 136 pages of product (and some of those are blank) however this book is worth twice the price of admission. If my words can not convince you then perhaps comic book luminary Warren Ellis can when he says, "Wil Wheaton's made a new career out of doing well that which is in fact the hardest thing to do at all, he writes, brilliantly and simply and gloriously, about joy." Truer words and all that.

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