Leslie Simon is a tourist. All her books are written in the breathless tone of a 13 year-old’s diary, combined with the breezy weightlessness of a Cosmo article. Geek Girls Unite is no different. Even the reading lists provided – which are excellent resources for anyone looking for a good book – and her lists of influential women in each category – all very notable and quite worth knowing – are fraught with errors. It’s Our Band Could Be Your Life, not This Band. Courtney Love is a star-fucker, not a geek heroine of any sort. Et cetera.
Simon’s books all have the same “hey, check this out!” approach that’s all veneer, with little beneath the shiny surface to recommend them. All I get from Geek Girls Unite is the sense that this is a series of profiles on what are the best ways to emulate a music/film/literary/etc. geek and land some hottie. It’s sad. I fail to see how an extended magazine article of a flippant nature manages to demonstrate how fangirls, hookworms, indie chicks, and other misfits are taking over the world. It’s an entertaining read, but there’s little within the pages of Geek Girls Unite that has a deeper meaning than “OMG U GUYS!!!111”
There’s next to nothing that actually helps girls figure out what to do in order to become one of those ladies who are taking over the world. How-to’s on making zines, short films, or comics would give Simon’s book a purpose past cute and disposable. Essentially, if this book were about emulation, and not imitation, I’d be more inclined to pass it on to my cousin, as opposed to throwing it on the stack headed to Half Price Books.
And, hey – could we get some female geeks that aren’t fucking pin-ups? As my wife so eloquently put it: “Hot is hot, geeky or not. That’s what it boils down to. If Olivia Munn and Felicia Day looked like Susan Boyle, this book wouldn’t exist.”