The Happiest Days of Our Lives

Last Friday I walked in from work to find the Missus holding up a white padded package from that day's mail.

"What did Wil Wheaton send you?"

I had to laugh - it sounded so personal, so familiar, despite the fact that besides an autographed copy of his book Just a Geek, I have absolutely no personal connection with Mr. Wheaton.

Or do I? That's the question millions of readers ask themselves after having spending some time perusing Wil Wheaton's now-famous blog Wil Wheaton Dot Net (currently and happily still in exile here). For a number of years Mr. Wheaton has been transforming himself into one hell of a writer on the Internet, and just a few days reading his blog presents a life at once both unflinchingly honest and open - examining his loves, his fears, his hopes - in other words the the staples that make up anyone's life.
And that life is once again opened up in print. I jumped in early Sunday morning and in short order devoured his new book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, a collection of, as he puts it, "rewritten, updated, expanded upon, and "de-bloggified"" posts and articles that have appeared elsewhere in wacky Internet-Land, and what makes it so special is the disarming, genuine emotion and sentiment that's on display. Whether it's standing in awe in front of the massive pegboard of STAR WARS action figures, frantically deciding on which one to buy before your mother comes, or sharing those special musical moments between a parent and their teenage child (my 5-month old son just giggles when I sing "Mr. Roboto"), each story is filled with a warmth and sincerity that causes you to go along for every ride, reveling in the joys of being a Geek, being a Father, and being aware of the fact that we're not alone.
The book is admittedly a little short (about 132 pages), but the sequencing of the stories all work to take the reader back and forth through Wil's life so as to never overstay its welcome too long. Any more and we might have got tired; any less and we may have felt cheated. In the immortal words of Goldilocks, "Just right."

But about the best compliment I can pay to The Happiest Days of Our Lives is to once again quote the Missus, who stopped for a moment as I was lying on the couch reading it, my son playing on the rug next to me:
"Why are you smiling?"
I stopped reading, smiled back at her, picked up my son and decided the book could hold off a few more minutes. I think Wil would have done the same.