I could write an autobiography now. Or not.

Pile of old, worn-out books

I recently read some reviews of the memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), by Felicia Day. I’m not emphasising, but despite not knowing much about her or being a fan, I know that she became internet-famous, and that is how people know her. Or a ‘web celeb’ – whatever they dub it as these days. Because of that, some of the reviews tended to be negative, from people who were unaware of her background or claim to fame, curious and later disappointed, some unable to get through the book.

I think most of the criticism came from the fact that her book was all ‘me me me me’. Obviously, when one writes an autobiographical piece of work, there is going to be some element of me, but it seems that hers was amplified. A more mature-aged reader gave the book a chance because she enjoyed autobiographies, but mentioned that the excessive use of UPPERCASE got in the way of her enjoying the book. Someone else said that she tried too hard to be funny, and she wrote in the same way she would speak – which was exhausting.

The nature of autobiographies and/or memoirs has changed, I think – I read autobiographical works such as that of Jane Fonda, and the beautiful Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin. It seems that, being someone in her twenties (I think – though she could be nearing thirty, I don’t know), Felicia Day is ‘too young’ to be writing a memoir. That was another piece of criticism from the reviews I read. Most people who write these bodies of work have had many life experiences, things that they can pass down and teach the youth of future generations.

It seems like a lot of famous people (particularly the young) are turning to writing, the same way a lot of actors and actresses tried to make a career out of singing – or something else, or vice versa, for that matter. Age is totally just a number, and I’ve believed that for a while. I did try to read Felicia Day’s book without thinking too much about the criticism I read, though it was – as some people said – hard to get through. I read a couple of chapters of a sample and I didn’t feel like spending money to read the whole thing. Felicia Day isn’t a teenager, but in her book, she writes like one. I think that that one reviewer was right in saying that she writes in the way she speaks. This isn’t the first book of this nature that I have read, though the more young people write autobiographies, the more I see it as an attempt to garner more attention and get others to think ‘ooh, s/he is special and awesome’.

I wonder if I could write a piece of work about my life. I’m even younger than Felicia Day. Sure, there are things I have learned, but my advice is not useful to anyone except a high schooler or a university student trying super freaking hard to get a job at Facebook or Google. I could write something, but it would not be about my life, it would be something like Stories From My Childhood. Or What Teachers In High School Don’t Tell You. But it stops being an autobiography or a memoir right from the title. That’s a friggin self-help book targeted at people of a certain age.

I also feel that they have changed in tone, with deliberate, sometimes self-deprecating humour, and less of a serious and wise retelling of life lessons. I am not referring directly to You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), but we should either stop labelling these purportedly eye-opening pieces of work ‘autobiographies’ or ‘memoirs’, otherwise everyone is going to be writing supposedly amazing pieces of work about unripe or tacky phases of their lives.

Comments on this post

I haven’t read the book, and I am not even familiar with who Felicia Day is. However, I do like books and things have changed a lot, I guess like they do with every generation. With more people online, and more defined choice, I think some publishers have a target market and they can reach them. I mean, compared to the publication of older books, where the markets where not as expanded through the internet. It sounds like maybe they are trying to reach a younger audience with the book. I do find it confusing when younger people write autobiographies, unless they have had an extremely different.

I think you would write an awesome book and I want to read it. Noooow. Plz. Maybe one day even an autobiography as well. How you dominated the blogging, web industry (now you have a billion dollar company) with a killer photography portfolio and the novels you wrote in the spare time.

Haha, you wanna read ALL the books. XD

I think it’s great that anyone can write a book these days but it is a shame that Felicia Day’s book was not well-received among many people (including people who are her fans). Maybe she just didn’t write very well or she didn’t think about her target audience… I saw some comments from people who really wanted to know more about her from the book, but they found it confusing because she didn’t really talk about her journey to fame. If I write a book I will make sure I tell people juicy tidbits of my life story… hahaha.

I tried to listen to Felicia Day’s autobiography on Audible. She narrates it herself. I couldn’t get through it because the narration drove me crazy and I’m sure reading it would be the same way because the language is very conversational. Clearly I don’t like her style of conversation. :P

I absolutely LOVED Felicia Day’s memoir, but that may be because I despise autobiographies that seem to be preaching to me. I’ve tried to read a few memoirs in the past and oftentimes it sounds like the writer is trying too hard to create stories with significant meaning, as if to make their experience more important than it is. I listened to Felicia Day’s book with Audible and loved the conversational tone with which it was delivered. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a fan of Felicia and find her comical (making me biased), but I loved her narration. It read like we were having a conversation and she was telling me about her life, and I think that’s what I want out of a memoir. I don’t want all of this insightful information that will make me change my life; it’s why I don’t read self-help books.

My favorite part about Felicia Day’s book was the way she talked about her time in school and her perfectionism, which I related a lot too and think was a good message for others to hear. She also talks quite a bit about anxieties, a drive to be successful but not TOO successful, and what gamer/geek culture is like. Maybe it’s because Felicia Day is a loud voice for women in geek media (particularly when it comes to comics, gaming, etc.) and I consider myself decently a part of that community, but I really did love this memoir.

:P You could always try to write an autobiography. I have few stories that would interest anyone and rather little I want to share anyway. But hey, it would be quite fun! I’m not sure I’d even remember a lot of important information I should…

I’ve been studying the differences between memoirs and autobiographies for a while, and I’ve come to the realisation that I would rather just create a collection of essays/stories and have it as that instead, because there are so many ways to label a book a memoir and tick someone off because they think it’s really an autobiography, and vice versa.

I haven’t followed Felicia Day lately, but I first got into her because of The Guild, and then later watched one movie including her, though it was an awfully written one. Thus, I’m not really a huge fan of her anymore, because once her web series ended, I found I mostly liked her character. The weirdness was nice, but I had a lot going on in my life (as I still do).

Personal story/essay collections can teeter along the edges of self-help books, yet not fully qualify as such… maybe they’ll tickle your fancy more? I’ve found I like them, because they’re more relaxed. However, I really wish some would have better editing, because then they’d be a lot easier to read.

I would write a collection of essays, personally (which seems to be the norm for people who write regularly, like bloggers) – they would probably be refined blog posts of mine.

I have tried to read some personal story collections but a lot of them are written in a more conversational style. I found Felicia’s book to be a bit more like that in both writing style and format of the book. I don’t think I like the ones I have come across because they sound too over-the-top, language-wise. Some of them make me feel like I am reading a selection of posts from someone’s blog. And as with all blogs, you may or may not like the way the person writes.