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Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise [Hardcover]

Wil Wheaton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2 2004

Wil Wheaton has never been one to take the conventional path to success. Despite early stardom through his childhood role in the motion picture "Stand By Me", and growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil left Hollywood in pursuit of happiness, purpose, and a viable means of paying the bills. In the oddest of places, Topeka, Kansas, Wil discovered that despite his claims to fame, he was at heart Just a Geek.

In this bestselling book, Wil shares his deeply personal and difficult journey to find himself. You'll understand the rigors, and joys, of Wil's rediscovering of himself, as he comes to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for once having been famous. Writing with honesty and disarming humanity, Wil touches on the frustrations associated with his acting career, his inability to distance himself from Ensign Crusher in the public's eyes, the launch of his incredibly successful web site, wilwheaton.net, and the joy he's found in writing. Through all of this, Wil shares the ups and downs he encountered along the journey, along with the support and love he discovered from his friends and family.

The stories in Just a Geek include:

  • Wil's plunge from teen star to struggling actor
  • Discovering the joys of HTML, blogging, Linux, and web design
  • The struggle between Wesley Crusher, Starfleet ensign, and Wil Wheaton, author and blogger
  • Gut-wrenching reactions to the 9-11 disaster
  • Moving tales of Wil's relationships with his wife, step-children, and extended family
  • The transition from a B-list actor to an A-list author

Wil Wheaton--celebrity, blogger, and geek--writes for the geek in all of us. Engaging, witty, and pleasantly self-deprecating, Just a Geek will surprise you and make you laugh.


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Review

"A cleverly constructed and vivid collection of memoirs with flashes of brilliant wit, this title betters even Dancing Barefoot." - Paul Hudson, Linux Format, Nov (top stuff award)

About the Author

Wil Wheaton may be one of the most unusual celebrities of our time. Born into stardom with the movie "Stand By Me", and then growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil was in the spotlight nearly his entire childhood. Instead of burning out as a child star, he left fame behind and became a computer specialist in what Hollywood might consider the middle of nowhere: Topeka, Kansas. Now, Wil considers himself "just a geek", and both Dancing Barefoot and the forthcoming biography Just a Geek are about his journey in rediscovering himself and coming to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for being previously famous.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Work July 17 2004
Format:Hardcover
Without going into extreme detail about the contents of this book, I will say that it joined a select grouping of "books I have finished the first day I got them." Obviously, some books (War And Peace, many Stephen King novels) couldn't fall into that category by virtue of their length, but nontheless...this is an extremely engaging read of one man's journey towards finding his own identity and purpose.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It ended too soon July 18 2004
Format:Hardcover
There have been a few negative reviews and I can honestly say this book probably isn't for everyone. If you are a Trekkie/Trekker you won't find in depth stories on what it was like on the set of Star Trek. You won't find stories of an actor who started as a child and couldn't take the fame or worse turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with the fame. You won't find the incesent Hollywood/PR b.s. that is prevelant in most celebrity autobiographies written today.
What you will find is a book full of stories about a man coming to grips with his past and looking to his future. True, a lot of the content was taken directly from his blog, but there is so much more depth presented here.
When I watched TNG I really hated the Wesley character, I don't care if he did say nice things about me:) Reading this book over the past week, especially when I'm hitting about the same point in my life, has helped me to come to grips with the consequences of my own life decisions. <--Your mileage may vary here.
The problem is that it ended too soon and while I'll check the blog regularly for more great writing, I truly hope he writes another book in this vein.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wheaton writes for Everyman July 17 2004
Format:Hardcover
Wil Wheaton is best known for his teenage role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek - The Next Generation. But after several seaons, he left. In part, as he explains here, because he wanted to branch out into other acting roles.
Probably unlike most of you, I'd only seen a few episodes of TNG. I was familiar with his role and had assumed that he'd made a packet and was now quite well off financially. But this book disabused me. Wheaton gives a searing autobiographical narrative that expands upon his earlier work, "Dancing Barefoot", and is far better written. In "Geek", he fleshes out a lot of the backdrop to the first book, which in many ways is a set of disjointed essays.
This book describes his travails in trying to find acting roles, especially back in TNG. Very revealing of how, even for someone with an accomplished record, rejections are so common. I've known people in Los Angeles who've dreamed of becoming professional actors, and also a few SAG members. None has even remotely equalled Wheaton. Yet even at his level, it can be heartbreaking. He chronicles a series of failed auditions. All the while struggling to help support his family. If the narrative is occasionally awkward, it is because it reflects real life, not a polished fiction.
Also poignantly, he regrets many times not staying with TNG for its full run. At the very least, it would have let him build a nest egg and so enabled less hardship later. In retrospect, his decision to leave was one of those fateful junctions in life. (The moving hand having written, cannot now unwrite, and all that.)
Many readers will find much to identify with here. Even if you have nil interest in acting, his experiences speak to broader issues in life that so many have encountered and endured. Wheaton writes for Everyman.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Too Cool To Be Just A Geek July 11 2004
Format:Hardcover
I stumbled upon Wil Wheaton's website shortly after it launched, and have stuck around to watch it evolve, and to witness his steady growth as a writer. I wondered often why he *wasn't* writing professionally; he had the raw talent and the ability to tell a good story, and readers eager to see more. As a writer, I almost envied his way with words; as a reader, he sucked me in.
"Just A Geek" is proof in print that Wil Wheaton is more than "the guy who used to be the kid on TV." With his life as the backdrop, he uses a natural story telling ability-with the feel that you're not reading some celebrity's memoir, but listening to a friend relate his tale in person-and leaves the reader not only wanting more, but leaves him hoping for astounding success for Wil and his family in the future.
This is a book for the masses-fans, people who want to be actors and want to know what they might be up against, readers who enjoy a peek into the life of someone who has tasted fame, and anyone who enjoys a good memoir.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An American life with a second act July 9 2004
Format:Hardcover
It's funny that, even though Star Trek: The Next Generation was even more popular than the original series--running seven seasons and spawning three spin-off series--no one from that show has, until now, written a memoir, even though practically every cast member (save the late DeForest Kelley, unfortunately)from the first Star Trek has written or contributed to one (Shatner and Nimoy have done a couple each, at least). Maybe it's because none of the other TNG actors have had quite the dramatic hero's journey of Wil Wheaton, who had up until recent years been known mostly as the actor behind the least popular regular character in the Star Trek universe, Wesley Crusher. Even the most diehard science fiction fan couldn't have guessed, back in the early nineties, that Wheaton would have returned to the public eye and popular acclaim as the author of something called a "blog".
Wheaton's real talent, though, doesn't lie in his embrace of real-life twenty-first century technology, but his unflinching honesty and sometimes brutal self-examination, something largely missing from most Trek autobiographies. Check out the chapter posted on O'Reilly's website to see what I mean: he's willing to reveal that his weblog posts may have concealed how he truly felt, and that he is guilty of many of the same faults as the people that he's spent most of the chapter criticizing. How common is that?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Trek fans!
This was such an awesome read, and it was one book that I couldn't tear myself away from. I haven't read a book like that in a while. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dominic
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful little short Stories
Wil Wheaton provides these short stories taken from different aspects of his life. Some are sweet or funny while others make you want to root for the underdog or remember a time... Read more
Published 7 months ago by canadianmoose
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is WELL WORTH reading for all the Geeks in your life
You don't have to be a Star Trek or even a Wil Wheaton fan to enjoy this great book with wisdom from one of the biggest geeks today. Read more
Published 13 months ago by AliKira
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity explained
While some think of celebrity as the end all and be all, Wil brings us back to the reality that actors are humans too. Read more
Published on May 11 2012 by JohnD
4.0 out of 5 stars From Geek to Writer
Just A Geek, written by Wil Wheaton is a wonderful read. Whether or not you are a Star Trek fan, I feel Mr. Wheaton has something to offer every audience. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Mariann West
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
After reading WWdN I knew I needed to read Dancing Barefoot. After reading Dancing Barefoot I knew I needed to read Just A Geek. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Andrew Crocker
1.0 out of 5 stars It's only a diary with comments added
I'm a big fan of Star Trek, have most of the autobiographies of the actors, and thought this would be a good addition to the collection. It wasn't. Read more
Published on July 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A relatable story
Yeah, so, I wasn't on Star Trek or in Stand by Me and I didn't have a period of misery because of those previous achievements. Read more
Published on July 14 2004 by Rebecca Richkus
3.0 out of 5 stars You've gotta be kidding me!
One question I'd like to pose to Mr. Wheaton is this:
What is the purpose of this book and why?
The book tries to read like a self journey but it falls short. Read more
Published on July 14 2004 by Blake
1.0 out of 5 stars It's only a diary with comments added
I'm a big fan of Star Trek, have most of the autobiographies of the actors, and thought this would be a good addition to the collection. It wasn't. Read more
Published on July 14 2004
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