Reviewed by Shannon Hopkins
The best kind of memoir is one where the reader feels as if the memoirist is sitting across from them on a couch, sipping a beverage and chatting comfortably – a flowing and dynamic conversation rather than a dry biographical analysis of how s/he got where s/he is today. Simon Pegg, with his characteristic good humor, sets that perfect tone in Nerd Do Well.
Simon Pegg has near universal recognition after roles in the popular Star Trek reboot (2009) and such offbeat comedies as Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2006), both of which he co-wrote with director Edgar Wright. As his star rises, fans and followers will enjoy tracing his path from the British suburbs to the big screen.
This, however, is no ordinary memoir. While Pegg delves into his past to share with the reader the roots of his love for acting and comedy, he is careful not to overindulge in emotional recollections – he openly expresses a reluctance to address emotion, yet does so just enough to make his story come alive. Pegg also tempers personal anecdotes with an almost academic discussion of cinema and science fiction through the last several decades (with special attention paid to the Star Wars franchise), brilliantly illustrating how the development of the latter contributed to his own personal and professional development.
Every couple of chapters, the reader also encounters a pleasant and highly entertaining surprise: a science-fiction story starring a swarthy and heroic Simon Pegg and his robotic sidekick, Canterbury. The story itself is so over-the-top that one cannot help but laugh, recognizing at the same time that the effort is more to blow off steam than to achieve a literary triumph. The effect, regardless, is an exercise in hilarity.
Nerd Do Well is a tantalizing glimpse into the mind of one of Hollywood’s celebrity outliers – a man of extreme talent and humor who nonetheless is still the little boy from Brockworth, or any other little town, who dreams of something bigger.
Shannon lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her fianc é and a room full of books that she peruses when she isn’t trolling Apartment Therapy for new decorating ideas. In her free time she enjoys maintaining her blog, The Writer’s Closet, planning her wedding, and baking tasty gluten-free treats.
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