My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having loved Simon Pegg’s work right back to the days of Big Train and Spaced, when I saw Nerd Do Well on Book Depository, it was one of those can’t-afford-it-spur-of-the-moment buys. It’s also the first book that I have actually finished in quite a while.
Pegg is a self-deprecating sort of fellow, and clearly hesitant to write about himself. He’s rather up-front about this; starts talking about personal things and distracts himself so he doesn’t have to discuss them. Or simply refers to his dog, about which he has no problems. If you follow him on Twitter, this will be no surprise to you.
Unlike a lot of regular-boy-comes-good kind of stories, Pegg has always had the drive and direction to kind of end up where he is. To some extent, it’s in his blood, and he’s had some damn lucky strikes along the way. Having said that, let me be clear that if he hadn’t had a vision (however faint that vision), those opportunities could easily have been passed up for something else.
Throughout the latter part of the book particularly, Pegg talks about the notion of “circularities” and demonstrates that, despite his acknowledged drive and motivation, the 20/20 hindsight we all have has allowed him to see the influences that have pretty well pushed him to where he is. To a large extent, he is closing circles that began when he was too young to even consider that those influences may have any bearing on his life.
One of the great surprises, for me as a writer anyway, was to learn of Pegg’s infatuation with postmodern deconstructionism, and the great underpinning philosophers that feed into postmodernism. Now that I’ve finished the work, and have had a day or so to reflect on things, this surprise is completely retarded. It’s obvious in the way that Pegg writes and creates, and in the references throughout his works. His refined sense of textual interventionism really talked to me, and went a long way towards explaining some of his methodologies.
If you yourself were not schooled in any of this, much of it will fly over your head. For the intellectuals among you with a fine appreciation for work that draws on such theoretical perspectives, this sort of discussion will speak to your soul. I can imagine that many people I know will just look through that part of the book without even understanding a word.
I was rather the opposite. Thank you, Pegg, for leaving such a discussion in your work. It was most appreciated.
The other curiosity about this work is the fictionalised side of the book. Without the flippant, it wouldn’t be anything from the hand of Simon Pegg. The great-at-sex, handsome-as-hell, witty but not particularly sharp version of the author in these sections was beautifully drawn. And classic Pegg.
And, finally, finishing the work with the script… what can I say? You simply have to read it. Everybody has wanted to put those words into Obi-Wan Kanobi’s mouth.
Highly readable, entertaining and analytical autobiographical work, Nerd Do Well is perhaps one of the few works that is not warts and all in its content, but in its style. If you’re a fan of Simon Pegg, it’s an absolute must-read book.