Nerd Do Well is Simon Pegg’s life story interspersed with the tale of a fictional alter ego, Pegg, a James Bond figure with a robotic sidekick. His coming of age stories and fictional bits are hilarious but once Pegg gets into his movie making period, the book loses it’s momentum.
I preferred the nostalgia of the first time he saw Star Wars to the actuality of meeting his hero, George Lucas and finding him stand-offish. There’s something heart breaking about seeing childhood hero worship crumble in the face of cold hard reality.
Pegg’s education in film appreciation and critique make for truly fascinating observations about pop culture films. I took his thoughts about how the Anakin/Frankenstein scene in the third Star Wars movie could have been made into a memorable and fitting theatrical moment instead of the joke that it was (pg 328-329) to my husband, who is the most ardent Star Wars fan that I know. Husband said in response, “His way would have made it much better.” You’ll have to trust me when I say that that’s very high praise.
Another of my favorite parts in Nerd Do Well was Pegg’s explanation for American readers about why the pub occupies a prominent place at the center of British social life. I’d never really understood what the attraction was until he painted the scene.
I mean, in my hometown, we have all sorts of dive-bars lining main street where, any night of the week, I could roll in there and meet up with the prematurely aged classmates of mine who will never get out of that place. But, who wants to do that. The bar is the epitome of failure rather than community.
With his homemade quizzes, neighborhood regulars, and music, Pegg’s pub seems to be somewhere warm and inviting where I would actually enjoy hanging out. It makes much more sense to me now why Shaun of the Dead was based around a pub and also why most DnD campaigns begin in taverns.
If you enjoyed Nerd Do Well, you may want to read My Booky Wook (less Star Wars, more drugs, fairly funny) or Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise (more Star Trek, more angst-filled than funny).
Thanks for reading!