I’m not sure who this book is for. As a die-hard Whedonite, I already knew most of it. For someone who wasn’t already a fan, why would they care? Plus, the author goes into a weird amount of detail about eeeeeeverything. I can understand a quick recap of what Buffy is about, maybe for those who only discovered Joss through Avengers. And I can understand slightly a recap of the Alien universe (Joss did most of the screenplay for Alien: Resurrection) for people who aren’t fans of scary sci-fi. But who hasn’t seen Toy Story? Is there anyone left on the planet who doesn’t know who the Avengers are?
Joss Whedon is a genius, no doubt, but he’s a genius who knows he’s a genius, which seems to make him kind of a pain in the neck. He’s very protective of everything he writes, which I get, but he’s also loudly whiny if a director messes with his vision. He pours his heart and soul into every single project, which is why all of us fans adore him so. His actors adore him too, but it was kind of funny to read between the lines. Soooo many quotes from actors he’s worked with are some form of “Luckily, Joss was there to tell me just how I should do the scene,” and Samuel L. Jackson called him a “line policeman.” So he comes off as a micromanaging perfectionist, but the care he takes with his work obviously is worth it, because hello, Buffy and Angel and Firefly and Avengers and Dr. Horrible and Cabin in the Woods and excuse me while I spin off into fangirl squeeing.
The book is an overview of his history, starting with his wicked-smart parents and grandparents, his schooling, and his start on TV writing (Roseanne). From there, it goes into the aforementioned excruciating detail about everything he’s ever worked on. Most of the interesting bits you can hear on various DVD commentaries. The writing is super-simple, which seems weird for a book about Joss Whedon. Are biographies always like that? I don’t read much nonfiction.
I’d still give my right arm to have coffee with the man, but this book makes him sound a little exhausting. I would have liked to hear more about his wife – she must be so interesting! My favorite parts were all the quotes (and the foreword) by Nathan Fillion, who sounds every bit as fun as you’d expect, and this quote from Anthony Stewart Head, when he got the demo tape for the Buffy musical episode: “Bloody hell, this is viable!”