I have recently finished Felicia Day’s memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). I loved it, mostly because I, too, was homeschooled; I, too, have been addicted to the internet; I, too, suffer from anxiety. I could connect to this book on multiple levels, almost as if I were reading about my own thoughts and fears and perfectionism.
However, I stopped by the review section of this book on Goodreads, and I noticed a theme mentioned by many a reviewer – that Felicia Day, in her thirties, is too young to have written a memoir, therefore the memoir cannot hold much value.
I vehemently disagree.
First, regarding Felicia Day herself, she has experienced so much in her life thus far – and all of it interesting! From a homeschooled internet geek to a college student double-majoring in music and math to internet success! That is an interesting, engaging story about the journey to where she is today. She will continue to do things in her life, but her memoir focuses on that particular journey.
Second, young people can and should write memoirs if they have a unique story to offer to the world. Malala Yousafzai, activist for female education, wrote her memoir at 16 years old – because she had a story to tell about her life! Was she too young to write about the event that sparked her powerful activism? I say nay! Day and Yousafzai, two different people writing for two different reasons, have both written memoirs at a young age. And the quality of their work did not suffer from the amount of years that they have existed.
Third, ageism is at work when someone says that said-person-under-set-age is too young to write a memoir. This is blatant ageism and elitism. Age is not the catalyst of wisdom. Yes, the young are generally inexperienced while the old have gathered wisdom throughout their lives, but to negate what the young have to say simply because of their age is ignoring what the young have experienced, and what they have learned from their experiences. Felicia Day has experienced something not many have – rising to internet stardom alongside the growth of the internet – and that is what makes her experience so unique and worth writing about.
Memoirs and creative nonfiction do not exist for a core age group. Yes, age and experience can combine in a memoir, but for people who experience a lot in their first few decades of life, they have a right to share their story with the world. Day’s memoir was written for fans of Felicia Day to know more about her.
Writers don’t let constructs get in the way of their craft – if they do not know something, they research it. If they need inspiration, they find it. Something like age is not going to get in the way of the story they have to tell. In the end, it is their story and the lessons found within it that they offer to the world.