Book Review: Suck it, Wonder Woman!: the Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, by Olivia Munn with Mac Montandon, published by St. Martin’s Press
Let me start out by saying this: I really, really wanted to like this book. I love seeing geeky media figures (Justin Timblerlake’s love of Spider-man coming out in an interview; Aisha Tyler’s reference to Street Fighter in her article in Entertainment Weekly). It makes me giggle when I see a comment that not everyone will get. I was hoping that Olivia Munn’s Suck it, Wonder Woman!: the Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek would talk about how she got into the industry, what it’s like to work for G4 (or G4TV, or TechTV as it used to be known) and the Daily Show, and what it’s like to be nerd and a girl at the same time. I was hoping. Instead, I got a poorly edited book of mostly drivel-ly vignettes and stories that are just downright “fapfodder.”
Olivia Munn, an actress, comedienne, and model, is best known as being one of the hosts of G4’s Attack of the Show!, as well as a correspondent for the Daily Show, and one of the stars of NBC’s new comedy Perfect Couples. Prior to (as well as after) her book Suck it, Wonder Woman! came out, Munn admitted pretty openly and frequently that she is not so much a geek as a model. In fact, the only people who seem to dub her a “geek” are her fanboys and the media. So, when you put all of this together, the title of her book is extremely misleading. Aside from it mentioning Wonder Woman a grand totally of (maybe) two times, the biggest reference to her is the fact that she is a great woman because “some [women] simply rock their great asses in electric blue shorts adorned with glittering stars (103).” Woah, woah, woah! Hold the phone. I’m pretty sure Wonder Woman’s mission statement is not to run around showing off her ass in spandex. Last I checked (and she does keep getting revamped, so I could be wrong), Wonder Woman was all about truth, justice, and love. Not star spangled panties.
But my issues with the book don’t just lay there. Most of her stories contain references to well known, nerd pop culture (Star Wars, Tetris, Pong), but the references are shoddy at best, and only contain the most obvious, most consistently quoted and mentioned passages and moments. Then she has the gall to say that Yoda is not a “badass” because he’s “too much of a pussy to restrict breathing (36).” Wow.
Aside from those mentions, most of the chapters are about Munn’s “crazy Hollywood misadventures” including: the time a famous director gave her an antique dildo, her first lesbian experience, her Playboy photoshoot, and the director she knew who was dating a “Harvard slut.” These chapters are not only degrading to women, but also just blatantly written to please her masses of fanboys. Same with her chapter that is just a series of pictures of her dressed as strong, female characters (unfortunately, all these characters are automatically made sexy but shortening the skirts and cutting the tops to show the optimal amount of cleavage. No, no, I am so sure that Annie Oakly road around in a cowboy hat, tight vest, and short skirt. So sure). Everything in this book seems to be geared towards her male, G4-watching audience, with very little that affirms female geeks and their existence; she seems to paint the picture as though she is the only female geek. Finally, when she made a Call of Duty 4 reference, I put the book down for a moment and just shook my head. How stereotypically G4.
There is one chapter that is redeeming. Although it does not make up for the rest of the book, it finally offers a look into Munn’s life without the geek goggles taped on. “My Worst Day Ever” is a very personal piece that is clearly a story dear to Munn. She writes about the day her grandmother died. It’s very sad, heart wrenching, and well written. It offers insight into her real life, not just her Hollywood life, and paints a beautiful picture of a relate-able, painful moment. However, this chapter is abruptly cut in half to show color pictures of Munn in sexy Spock costumes and maid outfits. “My Worst Day Ever” may be located in the middle of the book, but those pictures are so off-putting compared to the tone and weight of the story; the chapter placement seems like a poor choice. Which leads me to my next point.
It’s not just the writing I have an issue with. This book looks and reads like it’s never been touched by an editor. The format of the book looks more like a magazine layout, including bold-ed quotes dropped in the middle of the text. There is a mention of the mc chris song “Fette’s Vett”, but she refers to mc chris as “DJ Chris.” A simple fact check (google, wikipedia, or even youtube) could have told you that he has never been referred to or called “DJ Chris;” he has been mc chris since at least 2001; before that, he presumably went by his real name. Beyond that, there are glaring typos, run on words and sentences, and moments where Munn herself seems to question her word choice–and none of these things were fixed at all (at least, not in the first edition). Had there been an editor, these issues could have been easily resolved.
Finally, Munn has a habit of writing portions of her book in chat speak. “Kthxbye (160)” is not, and never will be an appropriate way to end a chapter, internet be damned!
I tried really hard to like this book, but I just couldn’t. It had too much going on, and tried too hard to be funny and geeky. I would have liked to read more chapters similar to “My Worst Day Ever;” I would have liked to see more personal insight and less stories about sex. It’s a quick, easy read, but I cannot bring myself to suggest this book. Honestly, there are hundreds of better written, and funnier, autobiographies written by geeks that have come out recently. I suppose if you are a staunch supporter of bad grammar or you just really love Olivia Munn, this is the book for you. Otherwise, steer clear.