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You're Never Weird on the Internet - Almost (Review)

28/08/2015 15:15 BST | Updated 28/08/2016 10:59 BST

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Felicia Day is a geek. And she'd be the first to admit that. After all, it is embracing all things geek that has led the actress, writer and producer to a very successful career across different platforms.

As an actress, she appeared in shows such as Eureka, Supernatural and Joss Whedon's awardwinning internet musical Dr Horrible's Sing-along Blog before writing, producing and starring in her own hit web series, The Guild, based on her experience of being a dedicated gamer. If this wasn't enough, she also launched a YouTube channel called Geek & Sundry, which she later sold to Legendary Entertainment. Oh, and she was also a maths and musical prodigy. Phew.

Day's You're Never Weird is part-memoir, part-motivational tome in which she recounts her kooky childhood being homeschooled by her eccentric mother with only her family for company for most of the time. This is where the book is at its funniest. "My mom did make an actual effort to start our day at 9.00am sharp and do schoolwork until about 1.00pm, before 'do whatever you want, kids' time. This lasted for maybe a week," she writes with candour. It isn't long before Day is gorging on Perry Mason novels and TV crime shows.

To fill the void where friends and a social life should have been, Day turned to technology. An early adopter of online games, Day recounts her mother driving her and her brother from Alabama to New Jersey, so that she can meet up with other gamers, including a guy she has a crush on - and experience her first kiss. She is fifteen and has never had a boyfriend.

Something of a real-life Little Miss Sunshine, Day's earnest disposition and desire to please others leads her down some pretty strange paths. She leaves college with two degrees in maths and music, subjects she studied largely it seems to please her parents. She then leaves for Hollywood and an acting career. Didn't see that coming, did you?

"I was raised on the great American girl dream," writes Day. "Talent and experience don't matter. If you're pretty enough, you'll be discovered while sitting at an outdoor table in Los Angeles, plucked out of obscurity and placed onto magazine covers by a producer randomly driving down Sunset Boulevard in his Land Rover who pulls over, yanks a cigar out of his mouth, and yells, 'You! Get in the car! I'm making you a star!'"

She has an eye for the absurd but also has a heart. As a successful web star (Day has more than 2m Twitter followers), she gives a shout out to a young cancer sufferer who is launching a crowdfunding campaign to pay her medical bills. When the young woman visits her a year later at a convention to tell her she is cancer-free, Day dissolves into tears.

This book will have you laughing out loud one minute, then firmly raising your eyebrows the next. She surely has another book in her (not to mention a screenplay) - I'd like to see her focus on her family, especially her relationship with her well-meaning but misguided mother.

For anyone who has ever felt that they don't belong or who is looking to forge a career in online entertainment, this book is a must-read.

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is available from Amazon.co.uk and all good bookshops