Simon Says – “Nerd Do Well” by Simon Pegg
Here’s a confession: I love Simon Pegg so much I ordered this book from Amazon.co.uk because it was out of stock on Amazon.com. That’s right, I paid in pounds for this memoir, and I regret nothing. Nothing, I tell you.
“Nerd Do Well” is a wonderful book, a snappily delightful read. It zips around through the life of Mr. Pegg with a serious lack of seriousness, narrated by a celebrity fully aware of the snobbery that comes with writing about yourself, and the assumption that people would actually care to read what you have to say.
Celebrity memoirs are hard. If the person has enough honesty and humor (see Carrie Fisher’s “Wishful Drinking” and Alison Arngrim’s “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch” for two other stellar examples) the book can be enthralling and even inspiring. When done for the wrong reasons, celebrity autobiography can be lame, overwrought, fake, and just plain terrible.
Topics covered here include his work, his family, his dog, his first sexual experience, his issue with swimming pools, and his early career in local theater which includes productions of Carousel, The Music Man, and Chicago. Being a major film fanatic, a lot of these memories are intertwined with the movies he was discovering as he grew – Star Wars, most notably. His work on the TV show Spaced, and the films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz is talked about, but not dwelled on. His friendship with co-star Nick Frost is addressed, but not the prime focus. Wisely, Pegg mentioned all the things he’s expected to mention, then moved on to stuff that’s actually more interesting.
(In a genius twist, Pegg interrupts his practically stream-of-consciousness autobiography with an alternate story of a superhero version of himself – with a robot butler named Canterbury – on the quest to uncover the villain who stole the Star of Nefertiti. The villains reveal is the perfect punchline. The whole thing is something I’ve never seen in a memoir before, and it’s pretty spectacular.)
Charming, self-effacing, and always funny, “Nerd Do Well” is a celebrity memoir that’s worth a read.
It’s absolutely junk food for the brain.
And that’s totally fine.
And now I have an urge to watch “Hot Fuzz.”
For fun, here’s the trailer to “Shaun of the Dead” – a movie I love and hold dear.)