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The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Wil Wheaton
Subterranean Press, 157 pages

The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton's acting career began in 1986 with roles in Stand By Me and Toy Soldiers. He continued to build his resume through his teen years as series regular Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation and opposite Robin Williams in Flubber. He's also an author, blogger, voice actor, Columnist for the LA Weekly and Suicide Girls, widely-followed Twitter user, and a champion of geek culture. He currently splits his time between acting and writing.

Wil Wheaton Website
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A review by Sandra Scholes

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Actor turned writer Wil Wheaton has carved a niche for himself with his latest book which contains a series of short stories concerning his life growing up through the eighties and beyond. This is his third book, following Dancing Barefoot and Just a Geek, and has been made possible due to the previous two being so successful in gaining acclaim from the public.

In The Happiest Days of Our Lives, the pieces tell of various parts of his life, his unusual hobbies that he labels as geeky, allowing the reader to take a peek at parts of his past as well as the present day. His first book was primarily about his life as a husband, stepfather and actor from Star Trek TNG and his second contained details of his journey from actor to writer while this third one is more on his life as a person who grew up loving the geek culture and admiring it still.

It is a series of eighteen stories, the first of which is "What a Long Strange Trip It's Been," where he talks about his stepson Ryan, and a rather comical moment that happened one afternoon, a fleeting moment in time where he had fun with math and realized something he never thought possible in his life on Earth. Wheaton writes with a warmth and honesty rare in many writers who base their stories on fiction rather than fact.

In "Beyond the Rim of the Starlight," Wheaton reminisces about his time at Star Trek TNG conventions as a guest, taking in the atmosphere and loving every minute when most actors would shrink back in horror at the mere thought of attending what is called a con nowadays, his being surrounded by fans and dare anyone say geeks. He, as a TV personality, valued the attention he got from fans as he is also a fan of the TV series himself. He jumped at the chance to regularly attend these conventions. He says he had the same enthusiasm as the fans for all things Star Trek and fandom in general. He goes on about his admiration of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series of graphic novels, as is his own fan moment on meeting popular Sci-Fi author Larry Niven. The reader will expect he had more than one fond run-in with someone famous in his time at these cons as he has had plenty of opportunity.

Wheaton's anecdotes of his young life as a child actor of fourteen on the set of Star Trek TNG and how he got on with the other actors read like memoirs, the fun he had playing the role of Wesley Crusher, and the life he had as a young man as one of the youngest actors on the series. These stories are more than that though, they span several years of him learning his lines from the out of this world scripts he had to memorise.

In "To See a Little Light," Wheaton spends time with his stepson Ryan introducing him finally to his treasured graphic novel collection. As many will know, this is the one thing a fan is cautious of at first every time, showing the collection to a young adult and hoping he takes really good care of them, especially as some items in his collection are very hard to get hold of nowadays.

Each story in The Happiest Days of Our Lives is interesting in its own way. They are based on different topics and aspects of his life and contain excerpts from his acting days. There is a certain openness to the way he writes where the reader gets brought into his true life as he reveals with delight the events he remembers so well.

Copyright © 2010 Sandra Scholes

Sandra writes for Active Anime, The Chronicle magazine, and FantasyBookReview and might at some point finish writing that fairy story she started a year ago.


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