I happened to mention Wil Wheaton to a friend the other day, and she asked me, “Who’s Wil Wheaton? I mean, I’ve seen you talk about him on your blog, but who is he?”
Who’s Wil Wheaton? Who is Wil Wheaton?! As a Gen Xer (and a Trekkie) I am shocked to hear anyone ask that question. He’s Wil Wheaton. I grew up with Wil. Stand By Me’s Gordie LaChance. Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Wesley Crusher. You know who I’m talking about, right? He seemed to be in every issue of Teen Beat, Bop, and whatever other teen magazines I was reading back then.
Side note: I’ve realized that usually when I type up a review, I refer to the author using their last name, but not Wil. He feels like an old friend. (No disrespect to Mr. Wheaton. But, yeah… that just doesn’t sound right. Sticking with Wil today.)
Wil left the Hollywood scene for a while, but came back in the early 2000s with a new role in our lives: writer, actor, and super geek. You youngsters may know him for playing, well, himself on The Big Bang Theory.
Wil runs the popular website WIL WHEATON dot NET, which is where the adult version of me found him again way back in early 2002. Wil was just starting to find his writing voice. When he wrote The Trade, I knew I couldn’t wait for him to publish a story collection. Wil makes me laugh. He makes me cry.
I’ve read his first three books, and this third one is by far my favorite. May I present to you…
The Happiest Days of Our Lives (The Subterranean Press Edition)
By Wil Wheaton
Rating: 5/5 Stairs
This is Wil’s third book, and my favorite. Now I should note here, this book was originally published by Monolith Books, and the version I have (published by Subterranean Press) is actually different from this original publication. As Wil explains in a forward, he ended up moved things around and cut some stories on the original Monolith edition. The Subterranean Press edition restores the book to it’s proper order, as Wil realized he shouldn’t have been messing with a good thing in the first place.
“My first book, Dancing Barefoot, was a collection of five short but true essays about my life as a husband, step-father, and former Star Trek actor. My second book, Just A Geek, was considerably longer, and recounted my journey from actor to writer and back again. My third book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, was a collection of stories about how I became a geek, as well as a celebration of the geek culture that’s meant so much to me for most of my life.”
introduction to the subterranean press edition
Wil’s writing style is honest and open. Wil says this book is about being a geek. I suppose it is. But to me, this book truly is about family. Stories encompass:
- Wil’s memories from childhood. (Originally a blog post, “Blue Light Special” is included in this book, another favorite of mine.)
- Time he spends with his sons, just doing small things; knowing that later in life they both will appreciate the memory. (Looking back, these short pieces are even more meaningful now, as since the publication of this book, both of the boys have grown up and moved out, leaving Wil and his wife Anne empty-nesters.)
- Saying goodbye to a beloved family pet.
Yes, there is one Star Trek story here, giving Wil some closure to that chapter in his life. But if you want more of his Star Trek saga, see Just a Geek.
This book is a collection of personal stories from Wil. Some are about family, others acting. Some made me laugh, some made me cry. All are wonderful.