Review: ‘Nerd Do Well’ by Simon Pegg

bill bodkin gives you some beach reading from one of today’s great comedians …

Four years ago, I nearly broke Simon Pegg’s nose. True story.

Waiting online at the Village Cinemas in New York with my then-girlfriend (now wife) and my then-roommate (and still best friend), I eagerly anticipated meeting my comedic idol. As the Peggster walked past the throngs waiting for a screening and Q&A with Pegg, actress Jessica Stevenson and director Edgar Wright for the American DVD release of their British sitcom Spaced, he high-fived everyone in line. Then he got to me. My palms sweaty from nervous energy and the grueling humidity of late July in New York, I high-fived my hero and my hand slipped. It slipped past his hand, nearly thrusting my open palm into his nose, possibly sending it into his brain, killing him.

True story. Worst Story. But it’s a story not unlike something you’d read in Pegg’s autobiography, Nerd Do Well. The book is an unabashed look at Pegg’s rise to fame within the realm of nerd.

[I was lucky that Pegg, after screaming, “Are you trying to kill me?!” was nice enough to shake my hand and say, “We’re all friends here.” Then later when he passed by me, he played the whole thing off as a joke, to the laughter of the entire audience.]

As a book, Nerd Do Well is a unique autobiography — mainly because Pegg focuses more on the road to becoming who he is, not just as an actor and writer, but as a man. He eschews talking about rubbing elbows with famous people and he freely admits it within the book. He feels that recounting running into celebrity or hanging with famous people advances nothing, it’s mere name dropping. So if you’re looking for a book about Simon the Celebrity, you shouldn’t bother picking the book up. However, if you’re interested in Pegg’s nerdtastic theories, how he fell in love with Star Wars or his days working in local theater, this is a must-own book.

Oh yeah and this book is part graphic novel. Yes, Pegg mixes things up by incorporating the graphic novel, The Adventures Of Simon Pegg (the book he actually wanted to write instead of an autobiography), throughout the book. If you’re a fan of Spaced and remember Pegg’s character Tim Bisley’s obsession with comics full of “muscles and guns,” you’ll get a kick out of the graphic novel.

I could ramble on and on about different hilarious situations in the book, but like Simon’s recounting of his celebrity run-ins, it’d be pointless. What makes Nerd Do Well so brilliant is that Pegg is such a fantastic writer. His style is a combination of a hilarious night out with a friend at the pub with a healthy dose of heartfelt honesty. He holds nothing back and if you’re a fan of his dialogue on the big screen, you’ll find yourself engrossed in what he’s put on the page.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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