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Living and Dying on the Internet

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'Sorry, ' she said, 'it's just I've never met anyone famous before.' 'Sorry, ' I replied, 'you still haven't.' In 2008, the media reported that Alex Day was the first person in the UK to make money from YouTube videos. He was described as 'a YouTube star'. But he didn't feel like one. Alex watched as his channel grew, leading him to a YouTube party in Sydney, a video convent 'Sorry, ' she said, 'it's just I've never met anyone famous before.' 'Sorry, ' I replied, 'you still haven't.' In 2008, the media reported that Alex Day was the first person in the UK to make money from YouTube videos. He was described as 'a YouTube star'. But he didn't feel like one. Alex watched as his channel grew, leading him to a YouTube party in Sydney, a video convention in Los Angeles and a world record attempt in London. He signed up to new sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. But as his professional life flourished, his personal life unravelled when a series of damning blog posts exposed his past and left him with no friends and no home -- and no audience. How would you cope if your worst mistakes were written up and torn apart by thousands of strangers, right before your eyes? A book about ambition, failure and responsibility, Living and Dying on the Internet is a timely and unparalleled look into the evolution of YouTube, the culture of public shaming and an insightful account of how the internet has changed -- and changed us -- over the last ten years.


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'Sorry, ' she said, 'it's just I've never met anyone famous before.' 'Sorry, ' I replied, 'you still haven't.' In 2008, the media reported that Alex Day was the first person in the UK to make money from YouTube videos. He was described as 'a YouTube star'. But he didn't feel like one. Alex watched as his channel grew, leading him to a YouTube party in Sydney, a video convent 'Sorry, ' she said, 'it's just I've never met anyone famous before.' 'Sorry, ' I replied, 'you still haven't.' In 2008, the media reported that Alex Day was the first person in the UK to make money from YouTube videos. He was described as 'a YouTube star'. But he didn't feel like one. Alex watched as his channel grew, leading him to a YouTube party in Sydney, a video convention in Los Angeles and a world record attempt in London. He signed up to new sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. But as his professional life flourished, his personal life unravelled when a series of damning blog posts exposed his past and left him with no friends and no home -- and no audience. How would you cope if your worst mistakes were written up and torn apart by thousands of strangers, right before your eyes? A book about ambition, failure and responsibility, Living and Dying on the Internet is a timely and unparalleled look into the evolution of YouTube, the culture of public shaming and an insightful account of how the internet has changed -- and changed us -- over the last ten years.

30 review for Living and Dying on the Internet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kristina Horner

    I'm going to preface this by saying I have indeed read the book. Many people are assuming I am writing a negative review having not read it. I slogged through it. I'm deleting most of my review because it's causing more harm than good, which is exactly what I feared in this coming out at all. I don't want to talk about Alex. I don't need more people tearing me down because they are Alex fans and don't truly understand what happened. I'm irritated he put me in his book without giving me a heads u I'm going to preface this by saying I have indeed read the book. Many people are assuming I am writing a negative review having not read it. I slogged through it. I'm deleting most of my review because it's causing more harm than good, which is exactly what I feared in this coming out at all. I don't want to talk about Alex. I don't need more people tearing me down because they are Alex fans and don't truly understand what happened. I'm irritated he put me in his book without giving me a heads up. And sure, he can tell his story I guess, he has the right - but this book has an incredible amount of intimate details of a time so, so many of us have spent the last 5 years trying to forget. It doesn't feel good to see a person who betrayed my trust and friendship waxing poetic about how much fun we used to have. What that tells me, honestly, it that he hasn't truly learned much. I don't want to be a part of this anymore, but I wasn't given the choice. The thinly veiled attempt at hiding our identities, while not bothering to change the names of our bands and our YouTube channels or our cities, is lazy and frustrating. So sure, read it. Think he's changed. I just... don't agree.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Iulia

    I've been thinking about how to rate this book and ultimately decided not to. If I were to judge the writing and style overall it would probably be somewhere around 3, 3 and a half stars. A long time ago, the author was known as Nerimon on YouTube. He was a fairly popular creator, and one of the few stars on the site at the time. I followed him for a while, back when he was doing his Alex Reads Twilight series, which I loved. Then I pretty much forgot about him until last year, when a pang of nos I've been thinking about how to rate this book and ultimately decided not to. If I were to judge the writing and style overall it would probably be somewhere around 3, 3 and a half stars. A long time ago, the author was known as Nerimon on YouTube. He was a fairly popular creator, and one of the few stars on the site at the time. I followed him for a while, back when he was doing his Alex Reads Twilight series, which I loved. Then I pretty much forgot about him until last year, when a pang of nostalgia made me look him up again. I then found out that he had been accused of cheating on his girlfriend and manipulating his fans into sleeping with him, and had been essentially ostracized from the community as a result. This book is a memoir which describes Alex's rise to fame and subsequent downfall due to the allegations brought against him. I found the situation very unique and was interested in reading more in depth about it, which is why I was eager to get my hands on this book as soon as it came out. Alex's story paints a picture of an arrogant and immature boy who did not treat his lovers with respect and consideration on one side, and one of a struggling artist never managing to really break out into the mainstream on the other. The second half of the book is focused on the scandal that plagued Alex's career and its aftermath; he was crucified by the online community with a ferocity which I cannot fully comprehend and was renounced by all his friends and business contacts. All of this amounts to a very engaging "rise and fall" story which made me question a number of things: In the context of believing the victim, how do we handle anonymous accusations? If due process is not being followed, how do we exactly determine guilt? Are people who call Alex a sexual offender committing libel since he has not been found guilty of this crime in a court of law? I cannot pretend to have the answer to all these questions, but it is certainly interesting to think about. I noticed that there is a trend of shaming people who read or purchase this book. I am not in the business of being ashamed or scared to read what I want to read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    BooksAndRae

    I have never and will never read this book because Alex Day is a manipulative pile of trash that feeds off others suffering and plays the victim in the crimes and actions he has committed. I’d advise you to not buy this book and give him any attention or money that he doesn’t deserve. He’s called his actions ‘mistakes’, and instead of owning up to his crimes, instead of simply apologising, he uses this to make a book blaming the internet for shining him in a bad light. I would rate this a 0 if I I have never and will never read this book because Alex Day is a manipulative pile of trash that feeds off others suffering and plays the victim in the crimes and actions he has committed. I’d advise you to not buy this book and give him any attention or money that he doesn’t deserve. He’s called his actions ‘mistakes’, and instead of owning up to his crimes, instead of simply apologising, he uses this to make a book blaming the internet for shining him in a bad light. I would rate this a 0 if I could because he doesn’t even deserve that one star.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ina Cawl

    what i can say except you are piece of shit who sees women as meat and don't deserve my understanding or compassion i feel sorry for myself to even read this and wasted three hours reading it what i can say except you are piece of shit who sees women as meat and don't deserve my understanding or compassion i feel sorry for myself to even read this and wasted three hours reading it

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

    I have never before written a review for a book I haven’t read but I felt strongly in this. This man abused a number of women, continues to disregard their wishes, even in writing this. The premise could be interesting but I strongly oppose an abuser making money. I would hope the place he would pick to tell his story is in a mental health professionals office or in a rehabilitation group for his pattern of emotionally, physically and sexually abusing women. Not in a book intended for profit. No I have never before written a review for a book I haven’t read but I felt strongly in this. This man abused a number of women, continues to disregard their wishes, even in writing this. The premise could be interesting but I strongly oppose an abuser making money. I would hope the place he would pick to tell his story is in a mental health professionals office or in a rehabilitation group for his pattern of emotionally, physically and sexually abusing women. Not in a book intended for profit. Not in an effort to respark his former glory. Not in this way on this platform. Inappropriate. And to disregard a former partners wishes not be included is an example of all he hasn’t learned. I don’t need, nor do I think anyone need read, hundreds of pages excusing what he refuses to learn; women are people deserving of respect and whose boundaries deserve to be honored, being a part of a community online or otherwise is a privilege, and he was not traumatically cast out arbitrarily. He earned every part of his removal from ‘YouTube fame’ by actively causing harm, dismissing it, and now attempting to profit from it. A one star rating in my book means I believe it to be actively harmful and discourage the reading of it. So wholeheartedly I declare, one star for Alex Day. NOTE: I went to amazon to post a similar warning in light of how Alex responds to these concerns as helping him and couldn’t because it’s not out. So I emailed amazon the following concern, and if you’re bothered by this too, I encourage you to do the same. One voice may not make the biggest difference but many of our voices might. I’m including that letter below please feel free to take any parts and use them to share your concern with Amazon: Hello I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing because a book is being sold on here by a known public abuser, Alex Day. He manipulated, assaulted, cheated on, emotionally abused many women. He’s now releasing a book. I admit I’m torn. On one hand I don’t believe in censorship and if that’s true there should be no complaint or reason to write this but on the other I’m deeply moved to pose the question, does every story need to be told, or worse, sold? Should he profit from this harm? He has his story yes but does it need to be so easily accessible. He’s shared content from the book online and still manages to twist the story into his sob story, reopening the traumas he has inflicted. It doesn’t seem right. He discusses intent and how his intent wasn’t to harm. But if my intent was to have a pleasant indoor bonfire and burnt a house down wouldn’t I still be at fault? What if someone died in that fire? Wouldn’t my impact of life lost mean more than my intent? What if it was dozens or hundreds of people who had died? Is my intent enough to atone my impact? To me the answer is no. In the same way Alex Days living and dying on the Internet book is his open discussion of how he meant for a nice indoor bon fire retelling of his glory days disregarding the lives he burned, the community he hurt, and the damage created by reopening this. I urge you to consider these questions and think carefully about allowing this abusive man to profit from the horrific things he has done. Offer a flag option, or, ideally, remove it. Sincerely, Chrissy Hollermann

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ellen May

    I have been nervous to write a review for this book because the Internet is a pretty scary place (as the book itself discusses). I felt nervous that writing a review would immediately give the impression that I condone abuse of any kind, or am disbelieving/discrediting or even blaming victims of abuse. This, of course, isn’t true and I hope that my review gives a fair impression of my thoughts. As an avid YouTube viewer (in general, not necessarily of Alex Day) and someone who watches many of the I have been nervous to write a review for this book because the Internet is a pretty scary place (as the book itself discusses). I felt nervous that writing a review would immediately give the impression that I condone abuse of any kind, or am disbelieving/discrediting or even blaming victims of abuse. This, of course, isn’t true and I hope that my review gives a fair impression of my thoughts. As an avid YouTube viewer (in general, not necessarily of Alex Day) and someone who watches many of the people identified within this book, I enjoyed seeing the other side of YouTube. The veiled curtain was lifted and I was given a real insight into the beginnings of this now massive platform. I was gifted a glimpse into how the ‘other side’ live, and the absolutely bonkers amount of freedom, money and support that Youtubers’ were given when this platform first took off. I can only imagine the scale of this now, and I’m sure a more current book would shock me even more, in regards to money, behaviour and YouTube drama. Regardless of the trickier subject matter (I’ll get to that later), I thought that this book was interesting, well written and had good pace. I read it within one day. I didn’t want to support Alex, in fact I actively wanted it to be a bit crap but I found myself totally engaged. I should say here that I didn’t buy the book, I read it on kindle unlimited. Now let’s discuss the real issues here. For anyone who doesn’t know, in 2013, a series of anonymous allegations were made against Alex Day regarding sexual manipulation and alleged sexual/emotional abuse. I have read the forums, I have read the posts, I had my mind made up regarding this. Now having read the book, I still don’t know what really happened between the people involved. The only people who will ever really know are Alex Day and the girls involved. I think that’s important to say. Reading this book meant that I heard the other side of the story, but I would hate to jump to conclusions and support Day (and discredit the victims) or vice versa. What I do think is particularly relevant from this book, is just how scary the Internet is. From giving teenagers tens of thousands of pounds to make videos, to potentially ruining someone’s life and career because of anonymous posts - it highlights just how much power the internet has, and gives people. We have a brilliantly empowering resource at our fingertips and I can’t imagine the bravery needed when people divulge abuse (online or in person) BUT equally, this guilty until proven innocent culture can also be incredibly damaging. It is very easy to believe everything you read online and immediately discredit a person... It’s a really fine line and knowing which side to stand is really hard. Throughout the book (and from his videos), I did find myself disliking Alex. I’ll say it, I think he was (is?) arrogant, pompous and acted in some very selfish and downright horrible ways. But actually, Alex admits this throughout the book. He is quite upfront with mistakes that he made, I just hope that he actually feels remorse for the negative decisions, such as cheating etc. I hope that this book remorse isn’t just a front or a mask. It is easy to pretend to be remorseful, but again... only he will know. So, in conclusion... Have I been manipulated by a brilliant story teller? Was this all a ploy for Alex to climb another chart and make yet more money? Or, actually was this a man telling his side of the story and being honest? I really will never know, but I enjoyed reading it none the less.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ren Christina

    Alex Day sexually exploited his young fans and continues to portray himself as the victim. I will be unfriending/unfollowing anyone who spends money on this trash.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tam

    This book has been leaked in some circles - and honestly, it’s exactly what everyone feared. Manipulative and beyond narcissistic. It basically confirms the characteristics of an abuser that everyone has highlighted. Read it if you want that confirmation, but be warned, it’s frustrating as hell and actually terribly written (unsurprisingly!)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pangloss

    How you can be such a dickhead to think that it's a good idea to write about how you're the victim of all the harm YOU caused is beyond me. How you can be such a dickhead to think that it's a good idea to write about how you're the victim of all the harm YOU caused is beyond me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    nitya

    STOP GIVING ABUSERS SECOND CHANCES

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Do not let an abuser profit from the stories of his abuse. In fact, I challenge Alex to send every cent he earns from this to a charity that supports women who face domestic abuse. Here's a list: https://greatist.com/happiness/stop-d... if he's not sure which one to choose. I have personally seen the hurt Alex has done, and someone who is sorry for his actions does not try to capitalize on them. It's tempting for everyone to want to get the last word, however that does not show maturity, growth, Do not let an abuser profit from the stories of his abuse. In fact, I challenge Alex to send every cent he earns from this to a charity that supports women who face domestic abuse. Here's a list: https://greatist.com/happiness/stop-d... if he's not sure which one to choose. I have personally seen the hurt Alex has done, and someone who is sorry for his actions does not try to capitalize on them. It's tempting for everyone to want to get the last word, however that does not show maturity, growth, or any semblance of honor. This book is a continuation of manipulation and pain to the people he hurt. And it hurts my heart greatly to think of my friends enduring any more hurt at his hands. I urge everyone not to read it, and Alex if you see this I urge you to show some real growth and either pull this book from sales, or if you so selfishly insist on selling it- donate every cent of proceeds.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sal

    Everything about this book is horrific and there are many reasons why no publisher would touch it. The abuser who wrote the book paints himself as a victim because his career went down the drain when his fans found out that he had been abusing multiple women, several of whom were young (in some cases underage) fans he used his position of influence to take advantage of. The author is scum and is now trying to profit off the stories of the young women whose lives he damaged irreperably. No one sh Everything about this book is horrific and there are many reasons why no publisher would touch it. The abuser who wrote the book paints himself as a victim because his career went down the drain when his fans found out that he had been abusing multiple women, several of whom were young (in some cases underage) fans he used his position of influence to take advantage of. The author is scum and is now trying to profit off the stories of the young women whose lives he damaged irreperably. No one should buy this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paige Chalmers

    You don't deserve a side or to write about all of the pain you have caused and then to profit of it. You don't deserve a side or to write about all of the pain you have caused and then to profit of it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Hogg

    Alex Day's mission statement for this book was that it was going to be the story of his own experiences but more generally a sort of memoir of the internet as a whole and the corner of it that he inhabited for his many years on Youtube. These kind of quasi-memoirs have worked well in the past, I particularly enjoyed recently reading journalist Scott Stossel's work My Age of Anxiety where he blended his own experiences of crippling anxiety through his life with scientific theories about the cause Alex Day's mission statement for this book was that it was going to be the story of his own experiences but more generally a sort of memoir of the internet as a whole and the corner of it that he inhabited for his many years on Youtube. These kind of quasi-memoirs have worked well in the past, I particularly enjoyed recently reading journalist Scott Stossel's work My Age of Anxiety where he blended his own experiences of crippling anxiety through his life with scientific theories about the causes and treatments of mental illness. However, Day's book really never follows through on this same promise. In the initial chapters Day charts the rise of Youtube from a small video sharing website with small, odd and charming communities to a growing and out of control behemoth. Later in the book he weighs in on the impact of Twitter hashtags such as the MeToo movement and the growth of the court of public opinion through sites such as Tumblr which vilified him for accusations of sexual/emotional manipulation and faced slanderous accusations of him being a 'rapist' or 'targeting young girls'. But Day fails to really generate anything interesting or thought provoking ideas from these things beyond the purely pedestrian - In early chapters he writes about the realisation that his hurtful comments online could hurt real people in a somewhat hackneyed conclusion to a chapter. His comments on the loss of his audience and having his statements online constantly met social media backlash really amount to nothing more than saying that people should be more forgiving and that it is unfair people should be permanently defined by their mistakes - Which may be true but Day sees no need to drill into this issue any further or consider climate that gave rise to this or even the perspective of his naysayers. They are only ever characterised as an angry mob led by familiar faces of former friends baying for his blood. The whole middle section of the book is really lacking in analysis of how the internet was changing or evolving and really just tells the story of his various different ventures: Sons of Admirals, Chartjackers, his various attempts to get to number one. In places this provides some interesting glances behind the curtain of what was going on in Youtube or what YT personalities are like when the cameras are turned off - but these are surprisingly limited. Instead you have Day describing in text things that you have already heard him vlog about the first time around and it all seems oddly pointless. Day also veers between a determination to seem like a guy messing about on a laptop who didn't care about fame as showcased by the quote on the book's publicity but a consistent desire to appear as a trailblazer repeatedly emphasising his role in making Youtube what it became. The other main motivation for reading this book is to see Day address the scandal that brought down his Youtube career surrounding the allegations of emotional manipulation and hear 'his side of the story'. The first thing to say is that Day does acknowledge some of his mistakes in this book for example his serial cheating and the mindset that gave rise to this. But this is done in a very cursory way - The book is peppered with his acknowledgement that he had 'hurt people' and that 'it was wrong' but much of it reads like a child explaining why they shouldn't have done something - the words are there but they lack very much insight. He attributes his cheating to a mindset laid down to him by his mother that if he kept his cheating secret and therefore didn't let his partners know that he was not hurting them and acknowledges the lies he told others and himself to maintain this mindset. But although he admits hurting the women in his life he dwells on their perspective very little. Each girl (given highly transparent pseudonyms) has very little written about their actual personality except in their role as the object of his affections and what attracted him to them. In analysing the hurt he causes them he very rarely really considers how they may have felt in these scenarios or why they respond to him in the way that they do. They never feel like full rounded people but rather stepping stones in HIS journey to reaching realisations about his approach to relationships. A charitable view of this would be that he didn't want to fill the pages of his book with personal details of the lives of people who didn't want to be written about - But no matter how many times he argues that he is a 'love addict' who is addicted to the feeling of connection to others there is no sense that he really connects to the feelings of these women. This is exacerbated by the way in which he paints these women's responses to his treatment of them for example Denise who despite him cheating on her twice is somehow painted as the bad guy for reading his private emails and making public statements about how his cheating and breaking up with him had made her time in London miserable, or the way in which many of his former girlfriends are painted as harpies determined to bury him when the allegations come out against him such as Crystal's hypocrisy for telling him a girl he cheated on Marilyn with was 'hot' but also condemning him for being manipulative. I do not believe ignoring people's flaws in telling a story - But as Day angrily declares in his final chapter we have a responsibility to view other people complexly, this is a luxury he never extends to the women of this story and in the final act they are painted as little more than Romans determined to stick another knife into the Neri-Caesar. Little time in the narrative is spent on the idea of 'emotional manipulation' either. Day spends a whole chapter addressing numerous of the claims against him pointing out apparent falsehoods and railing against unfair accusations that he 'raped underage girls'. He even distances himself from his own press release in which he admitted to not having a good model of consent painting it as a sort of conspiratorial backroom press release writing session which was mostly constructed by vlogbrothers Hank and John. Despite his mission statement of writing an analysis of life online he never gets into the deeper questions within his story of the dynamic between big youtube creators and their fans and the power dynamic here - always claiming that his being a prominent personality with 1 million subscribers played no role in his pursuing and dating women he met at events. Despite passing reference to behaviour on his own part which would be classified as gas lighting he never really considers what it is to be 'emotionally manipulative' beyond a reference to taking an online sociopath test and his constant rebuttals that he ever consciously pushed women to have sex with him. Much has been made about whether or not this book is Alex Day painting himself as a victim. There are definitely places in this book where Day admits his own faults and how badly he treated people, there are also places where he says "I brought this on myself, I must be a bad person" but these are generally followed by an email from a accuser begging him for forgiveness because they lied about him, a former girlfriend saying something unfair and libellous about him or even a Buddhist monk telling him he is a good person - Which essentially reinforce that he hasn't really done anything wrong. There is also a number of lines which boarder on Alan Partridge 'We need to talk about Alan' levels of self indulgence such as 'The internet had taken away my friends, my money and now my house' begging the question why he could not have just got a job to pay the bills that does not involve an audience of 1 million, like the rest of us - But I digress. Alex Day's narrative is ultimately one of victimhood, it is one peppered with acknowledgements of his own faults, but it is ultimately the story of someone who firmly believes they have been unfairly accused of something and have lost everything because of it. What it lacks is the kind of astute insight and writing quality which would elevate it to something meaningful beyond a man listing his achievements, rebutting his naysayers, and bemoaning the unfairness of his fall from grace.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mollie

    Wishing I could give zero stars. How are you going to write a book about how you’re the victim after you manipulated women for years and were called out for it? Shame on the companies helping Alex tell “his story” and help him profit off the pain and suffering he causes other people.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Regardless of what you think of Alex it seems unfair to rate his book a 1 star. The book isn't out yet and from what i've seen on his Youtube channel the book seems interesting. There are a lot of people who say he doesn't deserve this and that he is manipulative etc, but it seems to me that those individuals are being quite closed minded and not willing to give someone a second chance. Be the better person. If you've got nothing nice or constructive to say there really is no need to say it. Why Regardless of what you think of Alex it seems unfair to rate his book a 1 star. The book isn't out yet and from what i've seen on his Youtube channel the book seems interesting. There are a lot of people who say he doesn't deserve this and that he is manipulative etc, but it seems to me that those individuals are being quite closed minded and not willing to give someone a second chance. Be the better person. If you've got nothing nice or constructive to say there really is no need to say it. Why people feel the need to try and demean everything that someone who has clearly turned over a new leaf I will never understand. I will be buying this book and I'm sure I'll enjoy it along with a lot of other people.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Erin Schloeffel

    I obviously haven't read this yet, but I think it's pretty pathetic how people are reviewing this one star considering none of them know Alex Day in person and therefore don't have first hand experiences of any of the accusations. I've followed Alex since pretty much the beginning and believe his work deserves to be read objectively. I'll re-rate it when I've actually read it. I obviously haven't read this yet, but I think it's pretty pathetic how people are reviewing this one star considering none of them know Alex Day in person and therefore don't have first hand experiences of any of the accusations. I've followed Alex since pretty much the beginning and believe his work deserves to be read objectively. I'll re-rate it when I've actually read it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Grace Blaise

    I'm not a fan of Alex, in part because of the allegations against him, but I still was intrigued by this book and gave it an objective read. There's no doubt that Alex can actually write - this, especially in comparison to most other YouTubers' books, is well written and engaging. It seems thoughtful at first as well - the parts about his childhood, growing up, how he got into YouTube and the rise of YouTube and the internet are genuinely very interesting, as are the backstories to a lot of his s I'm not a fan of Alex, in part because of the allegations against him, but I still was intrigued by this book and gave it an objective read. There's no doubt that Alex can actually write - this, especially in comparison to most other YouTubers' books, is well written and engaging. It seems thoughtful at first as well - the parts about his childhood, growing up, how he got into YouTube and the rise of YouTube and the internet are genuinely very interesting, as are the backstories to a lot of his singles and the campaigns around them. The problems start when he starts talking about the scandal surrounding him. While it's interesting to hear his side of the story, he clearly still views himself as a victim and in my opinion, his manipulative behaviour is still on show in a few ways. First of all, he does frequently invalidate the opposing stories. Even as he says that allegations should be taken seriously and that he's against victim blaming, he still manages to have an explanation for every single thing that he did wrong. He DID coerce "Penny" and made her feel uncomfortable and yet he still emphasises that she "led him on" in an email and that he was "trying to make her feel better" and reiterates this in the book even as she points out that she's allowed to change her mind and that she wasn't interested. While some of the allegations are, according to the evidence he presents in his book, exaggerated or made up, that doesn't invalidate everyone as a whole. Even the people that he admits are right - such as "Marilyn" being upset about him cheating - he still goes out of his way to paint her as insecure, overemotional and implies that she only left him because of public perception. Whether or not this is the case, that's not a character flaw on her behalf and does nothing to change the fact that he was, inherently, in the wrong. I also felt that some of his later points had value but he immediately ruined them. For example, he goes on a rant about how easily "triggered" people are and that they can't expect the internet to cater to them while a few sentences later saying that he contacted Google and asked them to remove all the allegations against him. He also makes good points about online public humiliation and retaliation, which I do agree with, but then he goes on to say that #MeToo is overblown and uses Bill Cosby as an example of his trial. Alex's point is that due to media coverage, Bill Cosby cannot get a fair trial because there won't be any unbiased witnesses. However, if it wasn't for that coverage than Cosby wouldn't have had a trial at all - it was known that he did this to women but never taken seriously until it was so far in public view that there was no choice. Whenever he has the seed of a good point, he goes too far in the other direction and I got the sense that he was only making this points in order to justify his own behaviour. He also talks later about how his friends "ghosted" him after the allegations came out, and once again portrays himself as a victim. It's interesting, because at the end he says that his first and second drafts weren't great because he didn't show any growth and people didn't feel any sympathy for him, but I had the same response to this one - he didn't grow, and it all felt like an elaborate justification on why he should be forgiven and allowed to live his life without people making judgements on his past behaviour. He uses the analogy of a banana being green so you don't eat it, but if you return to it, the banana will have softened and changed. But Alex isn't a banana, and people are entirely within their rights to not want to talk to him or spend time with him because of his past behaviour. I get the impression that because his past wasn't as bad as some others - there was no outright assault, for example - he believes that he's entitled to forgiveness. He seems to always think that he's right, and doesn't take into consideration that people can make their own decisions and he's not owed anything from them. All in all, I'm rating it two stars - I feel that there's a star because it is well written and it's an engaging book, but I didn't enjoy it and I disagree with the content and his perspective.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lacie P.

    This book paints a poignant and well rounded picture of the growth of YouTube as well as the growth and fall of Alex. I started and finished this book in one day it was so entrancing. This book is well written, interesting, humourous with a great voice. As I read I felt as though I was Alex's friend and he was telling me his life story just because I asked. This book made me tear up, laugh, and reminisce about the simpler times of Youtube. Alex has a gifted way with writing, he fleshes the world This book paints a poignant and well rounded picture of the growth of YouTube as well as the growth and fall of Alex. I started and finished this book in one day it was so entrancing. This book is well written, interesting, humourous with a great voice. As I read I felt as though I was Alex's friend and he was telling me his life story just because I asked. This book made me tear up, laugh, and reminisce about the simpler times of Youtube. Alex has a gifted way with writing, he fleshes the world out so you can see it and remember how it was. Being a huge fan of british vloggers back in my teens I was familar with almost every person Alex wrote about within this book. Being able to read Alex's perspective on way things were behind the camera was fascinating and eye opening. I truly loved this book, and I think Alex is a great writer. This book also illustrates the dangers of the innocent until proven guilty culture that surrounds the internet. Truly knowing both sides of a story is the only way you can come to your own conclusions, I would encourage former fans, fangirls of Alex's supposed victims and Alex's former friends to read this book and truly consider the other side of the story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Helena Golding

    The internet + nostalgia + insights Having watched Alex’s online life, almost from the beginning, it was incredibly interesting to hear his thoughts and experiences from this time. His writing style is much like his video style - down to earth, funny and insightful. I really appreciate Alex opening up this sometimes painful time in his life to unpack his actions and encourage others to avoid his mistakes. I read this in a day as I found the nostalgia and intimacy of the story addictive. So thank y The internet + nostalgia + insights Having watched Alex’s online life, almost from the beginning, it was incredibly interesting to hear his thoughts and experiences from this time. His writing style is much like his video style - down to earth, funny and insightful. I really appreciate Alex opening up this sometimes painful time in his life to unpack his actions and encourage others to avoid his mistakes. I read this in a day as I found the nostalgia and intimacy of the story addictive. So thank you Alex, for today. I hope your tomorrows are calm and happy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Media Squirrel

    Alex Day is human. Like all of us (I'm assuming). His crime is having been a completely insensitive, manipulative piece of crap whilst wielding power gained through his online presence. In the book, Alex claims ignorance, his mother's unintentional influence, self-centeredness, and a complete lack of regard for consequences as would be reasons for his hurtful past behavior. He explores his online past- showing the reader a unique look at what early YouTube was like for the early YouTuber, as well a Alex Day is human. Like all of us (I'm assuming). His crime is having been a completely insensitive, manipulative piece of crap whilst wielding power gained through his online presence. In the book, Alex claims ignorance, his mother's unintentional influence, self-centeredness, and a complete lack of regard for consequences as would be reasons for his hurtful past behavior. He explores his online past- showing the reader a unique look at what early YouTube was like for the early YouTuber, as well as a look into his life at the time. We read of his ambition and inspirations and that of his then friends. Nearing the end, when the accusations begin to circulate the internet, the reader has more context to then understand the claims and the actions taken by Day and those affected. It is clear that Day regrets hurting the people he hurt and that (at least in his mind at the time) he thought that any sexual interaction he'd had was appropriate and wanted. I also want to stress that Alex did not just conveniently regret the hurt he'd caused once it became public... it is important to note that he was striving to improve as a person before his life was set aflame by the reality of the people he manipulated and hurt (intentionally or not). Alex does something else in this book that I'm still turning in my head... He doesn't just aim to defend himself against the specific claims he believes are either false or otherwise exaggerated, he aims to call out the very people of the internet itself for their hypocritical behavior, easily triggered mob mentality, and destruction of due process. I know some people will read or hear about this book and belief Alex was playing the victim here... but I don't think that's the case. I think he was making an honest attempt at explaining his side of things. He was trying to make us remember he is human, one that makes mistakes like we all do. Not a monster, but a human being that is moody and horny and sad and lost and ambitious and lonely and just... complex. Just trying to do better. The book is an easy addictive read. I wish him the best in his future endeavors.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lucas Puskaric

    Full disclosure: I wrote this review when I was 40% done with the book, but have since finished. I don't have much more to add past what I said, so I figured I'd leave this disclaimer up. I'm writing this to offset the people who have clearly not read any percentage of the book. I will edit the review later once I am completely done reading. EDIT: I finished now, as mentioned above. Alex Day manages to weave a tale of intrigue that somehow is even more interesting than his online persona. As he Full disclosure: I wrote this review when I was 40% done with the book, but have since finished. I don't have much more to add past what I said, so I figured I'd leave this disclaimer up. I'm writing this to offset the people who have clearly not read any percentage of the book. I will edit the review later once I am completely done reading. EDIT: I finished now, as mentioned above. Alex Day manages to weave a tale of intrigue that somehow is even more interesting than his online persona. As he mentions, we all put forth this select part of our individual online. As Charlie was much more outgoing than in real life, and he presumably tailored his classic sarcasm to mold how he wanted to be perceived (or naturally was inclined to act in that realm). In essence, the internet amplifies. Splendid writing combines with magnificent storytelling which is made even better by the fact it is incredible any of this ever really happened. Truly getting in on the ground floor of the internet, Living and Dying on the Internet does not only trace Alex's journey but chronicles the history of the internet in the only real way possible- by being one of those people who took up the challenge to "Broadcast Yourself". Similar to how YouTube changed the medium and artistry of millions and launched many careers, history itself and how it is told had to be changed. Though many may consider it primarily autobiographical, the history of something created by each individual creator could not be told in the same way one may talk about the The Boston Tea Party. The individuals make up the collective. In terms of content, this book would be enjoyable whether you like Alex Day or not. The content should be judged, and I daresay even the person. But judging a person does not mean you cannot learn from their mistakes or that you can't hear the honest truth. The desire to be good is precursory to becoming a better person- and so far in the novel, you see Alex Day being a real relatable human being. The book starts out with YouTube comments, and I can describe my last sentence much the same way. Look at any music video page and you will find haters. But you'll typically find five more people defending the artist (even if the artist did have a rather bad performance). They will say things like "you do better" or "I bet you can't even sing" or blahblahblah. This stirs up an important question: "What would you do if you were in Alex Day's situations?" If you currently think he is a monster, then I challenge you to take a deep look at yourself. Presumably, you are someone whose every action was not put on stage in the world. Admit it to yourself. How often has someone hidden outside your bushes to film you? Probably less than three I would imagine. (Some of us are very attractive after all, and can't help but get a few stalkers regardless of our celebrity status) It's easy to judge someone else. But in short, I would recommend getting your own house in order before placing yourself rather unempathetically into the shoes of someone who is living a life that truly never existed before. Introspectively, have you ever faced any real repercussions for your actions? As far as I can tell, Alex Day understands the reality of these repercussions and takes an honest front. He never presents himself as the good guy in situations where he has wronged someone (at least in retrospect). Think back to highschool. Certainly there was a crush or perhaps lack of attention that wronged you. To this day, it may even have defined your existence. Stick a couple hundred kids (or less) with raging hormones, and it is likely to end poorly. A bunch of young people who know nothing about love, most never having even kissed one another. Do you expect them to magically know how to handle everything in the best possible way? Being human immediately implies that you won't handle every situation in the best possible way. But you have to handle it somehow. Knowing what I know now, I would not have treated high school the same way. I am sure most people agree with that sentiment at some level. It has become a common trope in TV shows and literature after all. We wouldn't expect a young teenager to magically know how to handle depression and ghosting and approaching women. So why do we expect a young YouTube star to magically be the perfect human being? But alas, this is not the only part the book is about. I am currently in the "living" more than the dying section. There is setbacks but primarily growth. I am excited to see where it goes. The best part for me reading was not all the stories (which made me giggle profusely), the tidbits of life advice through regrets (albeit helpful), but the fact that his life up to this point truly could not have existed before the Internet. If you are like me, I often wonder what type of person I would be without computers. I recently graduated with a Computer Engineering degree from an American "university" and my whole life has revolved around this. Inspiration, regret, and impossibility follow Alex Day wherever he goes, but in many ways, the Internet has opened these paths for everyone. At some level, you have to take responsibility for your actions. But people will tear you down at any point in your life, regardless of if you were the one who committed wrongs. There is no reason you could not do what he has (which he states multiple times). But most people won't anyway. I could probably keep writing, but at that point, I might as well write a novel myself. So, for now, the main takeaway from Living and Dying on the Internet for me is that it is filled with valuable content that moreover explains, rather than sitting on your ass, you too can "Broadcast Yourself".

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    An Alex Day Review I wasn’t entire sure I was definitely going to read Alex Days new book when I heard about it. I am a big fan of anything wordy, I litter my life with books and I will read just about anything. But I, like many others, have history with Alex Day. I was once a Nerimon fan, back in the day when his Walmart video went viral for some unknown reason. The main reason I didn’t want to read this book is because I wasn’t sure it was right. He was after all, writing about people who would An Alex Day Review I wasn’t entire sure I was definitely going to read Alex Days new book when I heard about it. I am a big fan of anything wordy, I litter my life with books and I will read just about anything. But I, like many others, have history with Alex Day. I was once a Nerimon fan, back in the day when his Walmart video went viral for some unknown reason. The main reason I didn’t want to read this book is because I wasn’t sure it was right. He was after all, writing about people who would rather leave all this stuff in the past, he was not only making money from the things he (as he confesses himself) put them through. While I believe he had the right to tell his side, I find my biggest issue with it being that he not only makes money from it, but he’s also tried to climb the book charts too. However I did get it, for old times sake and to finally put my own questions on everything to bed. So, a book seemingly about a scandal which has caused a scandal in itself. It caused quite the fuss on social media just at its announcement of being released. But Alex Day is no stranger to scandal and he’s now a well known controversial YouTuber. Most of the community try their best to ignore his existence, a great bulk of his fans left, and now there a few scattered loyal people left. The book opens up with Alex talking about the birth of his career on the internet, back when such a thing seldom happened to a person. He discusses how it all happened, how he went from a shy boy at school to meeting people through their videos. The main focus in the whole book appears to be Alex listing his achievements in a rather round about way. He was the first person to make money in the UK on YouTube. He was the first unsigned artist to climb so high in the charts. He was the first UK Youtuber to get a book deal. It goes on. And On. Alex has never been humble as far as public opinion was concerned. I remember being in my early 20s when I watched him, waiting for the washer to finish while I scrolled through his comment section on his latest video, and while many comments were positive, there were a good chunk of people who stumbled upon his videos because Youtube wasn’t as popular back then, the youtubers were less diluted than they are now, he would always attract new watchers. “This guy is way too cocky” “Could he be more arrogant?” “Why does he brag in every video but pretend he’s not? Does he think his audience are that stupid?” No. We weren’t stupid. It could be challenging being a Nerimon fan because we did known he was constantly trying to brag about his lifestyle while making out it was all so boring and mundane to him. We’d roll our eyes and watch on. His book reflected the old Nerimon I remember well. The YouTuber I was a fan of but didn’t really tell people to watch him because he was a bit like Marmite. You either watched him and felt instantly drawn to him, or you watched wondering what the hell made anyone else like him. I found myself reading his unfiltered bragging about his lifestyle and popularity while rolling my eyes, sighing thinking “For bloody hells sake, Alex” once again. He talks about the rise to his success as if he was something new, the nonchalant, down-to-earth youtuber who didn’t care about money or fame even though at the time we could all tell he did. We didn’t care that he wanted those things, it was that he tried to say he didn’t while we could all see through him, it was insulting for him to think we couldn’t see that. It still feels like an insult when he writes it in a book expecting anyone will believe any different. (I will use the names from his book) I was indeed a fan of Marylin back in the day also. She was also a difficult YouTuber to be a fan to. The constant videos of bragging always followed with rants about how she got their on her own merit and who she was related to did her no favors and her YouTube popularity certainly didn’t get her any jobs, but most of us sat back and sighed, we didn’t judge her on how she got her jobs, the fact is she was good at them. But most of her audience could only dream of the opportunities she had, and we knew it wasn’t her talent alone that got her there. In the book I was reminded of how she used to be, before her big break in her career, when she made nerdy videos about books and we couldn’t see the brand for herself she was setting up once she reached her goal. The book is a bitter reminder that while she might have had that slightly annoying habit of glossing over her connections as if they were nothing, that she did change when Alex made her change. He thrust her into his scandal and her reputation dictated she play no part in it. I know many of her ex-fans never forgave her for being seen with him several months after it happened. It’s fairly easy to figure out who the name changes belong to in the book, it felt almost cruel of Alex to post exact tweets which could easily be found by people who have already bragged they’ve found them, screen printed them and are DMing one another as we speak to reveal who each person is. He likely changed them for legal reasons, because there’s no way he thought any of them could possibly be convincing. The main thing everyone waits for in the book of course is the scandal, and if you didn’t skip forward past the bragging and the heavy hints dropped that good people are dragged down, well done to you. However, I will review this book properly and talk about the main point. The Scandal The whole scandal comes out of course in the middle of the bits we missed as an audience. Crystal is the person he believes brought out the first anonymous post against him on tumblr. She’s seen in the book as a mean and jealous friend who doesn’t like his girlfriends and who sleeps with him without any hesitation or thought, a casual sex buddy he liked to be around. From my own view reading the book, it appeared he felt the post was created because she had felt bitter that he chose his girlfriend over his friend. A woman scorned so he seems to make her. It then follows his thought process, feelings of desperation and his quick demise when the rest of the posts followed from others. He tries to tackle each one, describing the events as very different to the ones we just read about in the book. He never directly says in the book that the women lied, I imagine he knows that wouldn’t get him anywhere. But once again, he tries to slyly feed it to us in small doses that it’s the most likely cause of everything, hoping we will see his apology and his sadness for what went on as his acceptance from what happened. It’s a very self-serving way of putting things. He wants the readers to believe he blames himself while we see it different, and he hopes we don’t click on that he planted that idea. But we’re still not stupid. The first part of the book which describes his rise to fame is interesting, it’s exciting, it takes any OG Nerimon fan back to a time we almost forgot, when Alex was this arrogant loud mouth in a stupid coat, always trying to sell us stuff while we watching him laughing, wanting to see more but not knowing why. It brings back the feel of his videos, so unscripted, unfiltered and unedited. But on the other hand, it shatters the illusion I’m sure many of us had; that it was just Alex and his camera. Behind the scenes he had a manager, advisers, he had giant amounts of money handed to him for projects we all believed were just thrown together with him and some of his mates. It delves deeper into just what terrible things he did in his private life and just how cruel he treat someone we all longed for him to date back in the day. The first half of his story seems to be that of someone much younger than Alex was when all this happened. The way he claims he fell for each girl as if he was mesmerized by them, unable to resist his feelings towards them, his so-called love turning off just as quick as it went on. It’s hard to believe it’s the same man we all saw on youtube who seemed so distant from relationships and falling in love. The second part of the book is basically an account of all that he went through after he was outed as a serial cheater, liar and manipulator. It’s messy, it fumbles a lot to tell you he wasn’t a bad person, all while claiming he knows he was. It’s similar to what you mind find on a gossip blog, complete with random tweets that feel like they’re there only to serve his version of events. Many parts of the book made me genuinely angry, such as discussing Marylins relationship with her brother (One part talks about how she was pleased Alex had reached a similar level to her brother in a specific instance) and a particular nasty swipe at her brothers choice to have his wedding photographed for a magazine, it felt far too private to be in a book that Marylin shared with him that the wedding and honeymoon was paid for by them while Alex took to his high horse to say that wouldn’t bother him in the slightest since he was too good for money. Now, it may be a shock that I still follow Alex, I have all along. When he was outed all those years ago, I held back judgement. It’s a personal opinion of mine that a person should not be tried on a court of twitter and their fate decided by the loudest people who get the most retweets. It wasn’t my place to decide whether he had done the things he was accused of or not. I particularly felt sad for Marylin at the time, who was expected to condemn him instantly and push away from him, all while being told she was just as bad as him for not instantly putting her fallings out with Crystal in the past and supporting her. Marylin received so much hate for not knowing what had gone on. She got backlash for wanting to keep her private life away from her reputation, a career that she had of course worked hard for no matter how she got there. Everyone looked to her, and nothing she could have said would have made those who disliked her like her. Of course we will never know for sure if what’s in the book is the truth. I feel Alex made it hard for these women to come forward and dispute him since he added a little bit to each person that would make the reader angry at them (Crystal who was made out to be bitter and angry and controlling against him having a girlfriend. Marylin who wanted money and fame and loathed her brothers fame. The girls who knew he was with someone but still slept with him anyway) he sets it up so if they come forward and claim their name change, they will get backlash for whichever part he made them unlikable. To this day I don’t believe Alex has changed. He’s in an open relationship, so we don’t know if he can stay faithful. He made a video not so long about how he was moving in with his girlfriend and then bought a boat, telling her she either had to follow him or tough luck. It resembled the video he made about the dream flat, how it “wasnt (his) fault” he found the house he had always wanted and thats why he removed himself from keeping a mortgage with Charlie. Alex still does what Alex wants. I think the worst part for me was the build up to this book. While reading it he talked about wanting to stick it to record labels who wouldn’t give him a recording contract, that’s why he went for the christmas number one, then another number one, then a book deal. With this, he was told his book couldn’t sell with him as the author, so he wanted to stick it to publishers by getting it into the book charts. It was another eye rolling moment where I thought “You really will never learn” Overall the book does take you back in time and gives you feelings you forgot you had on the matter. I felt as conflicted reading it as I did when I was his fan. I felt sorry for every single person who was in it who was a part of what he did who now know it will forever be in a book that most of them won’t be able to avoid hearing about. I feel sad for the way he gunned for Charlie, making him out to be cruel and selfish to never hear Alex out even though he knew it would only cause more problems for Charlie and even though he likely knew he had probably not been the best friend to him. I won’t rate this book, because it’s really not what I hoped it would be. I thought we would hear in depth how the internet had affected him, but really it was how he used it to become the person he now is. It’s not worth rating or judging because it’s a scandal, gossip, a grasp at the comeback we all know Alex Day will be making now. Do I want him off the internet? No. Do I think this book is sincere? No. But I hold out hope this isn’t it. I urge people to read it just so you have both sides versions of events. Judge for yourself. I am still subscribed and I will remain so. Being a fan of Alex Day is tricky to explain, but hopefully one day I can. Thank you.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    This book was very interesting to me, mainly because I'm 27 and saw much of the events he wrote about in this book unfold from the very beginning. I watched most of Alex day's content since the Nerimon days. I never liked Alex Day, mind you. I thought he was clever, but not remarkably talented. He always seemed kind of childish and egotistical. I wasn't particularly surprised to hear that he was a chronic cheater and manipulator. However, I believe this book is important. Alex Day is a human bei This book was very interesting to me, mainly because I'm 27 and saw much of the events he wrote about in this book unfold from the very beginning. I watched most of Alex day's content since the Nerimon days. I never liked Alex Day, mind you. I thought he was clever, but not remarkably talented. He always seemed kind of childish and egotistical. I wasn't particularly surprised to hear that he was a chronic cheater and manipulator. However, I believe this book is important. Alex Day is a human being. And it forces us to ask the question, "what do we do with human beings that victimize others?". If someone expresses remorse, and demonstrates a desire to change, how do we proceed? None of us know what really happened(aside from he and victims) nor do we know his precise transgressions. Regardless, what do we do with Alex Day? Those who have been victimized by him suggest total ostracization. His actions should be shouted from the rooftops, and he should be shunned personally and professionally. What concerns me is that this line of reasoning essentially calls for a person's death. If Alex Day can't employ himself because employers will Google him, then he can provide for his basic needs effectively. He therefore becomes a drain on society, contributing nothing and not being able to better himself in anyway. How does that benefit society? If there are no second chances for perpetrators, then what do we do with them? What do they do with themselves? I don't claim to know, but it's worth thinking about.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jack Dearnley

    This is the only book I have ever read cover to cover in a day without getting bored, distracted or falling asleep, which is a huge testament to how engaging it is as I have the attention span of a goldfish with ADHD (or more accurately, a human with ADHD). Thoughtful, funny, emotional and everything in between, what this book is not is "Alex Day: The Apology" or "Alex Day: Please Like Me Again Tumblr". Rather, it is the story of the internet as told from the perspective of some bloke with a came This is the only book I have ever read cover to cover in a day without getting bored, distracted or falling asleep, which is a huge testament to how engaging it is as I have the attention span of a goldfish with ADHD (or more accurately, a human with ADHD). Thoughtful, funny, emotional and everything in between, what this book is not is "Alex Day: The Apology" or "Alex Day: Please Like Me Again Tumblr". Rather, it is the story of the internet as told from the perspective of some bloke with a camera who just wanted to make music and tell stories and made a lot of mistakes along the way. I could probably talk forever about how much I enjoyed this but I will end the review here as I have just spent the last 10 hours staring at a book and would quite like to do some sleeping now.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Yin

    With negativity will always come a balance. Anger continues a war and doesn't solve it. This book is a biography - not a symbol of anything. Just the rise and fall of an internet "star". Not a bad read, hold some interesting points on how Youtube itself rose to popularity and what it took to become one of the platform's A-listers. With negativity will always come a balance. Anger continues a war and doesn't solve it. This book is a biography - not a symbol of anything. Just the rise and fall of an internet "star". Not a bad read, hold some interesting points on how Youtube itself rose to popularity and what it took to become one of the platform's A-listers.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Whitepointstar

    I was never planning to read this book or purchase a copy, but after seeing all these negative reviewers about Alex, rating him down without giving him the chance to speak. I'm going to buy multiple copies, I believe in a world with Free Speech and Innocent until Proven Guilty. I support this. I was never planning to read this book or purchase a copy, but after seeing all these negative reviewers about Alex, rating him down without giving him the chance to speak. I'm going to buy multiple copies, I believe in a world with Free Speech and Innocent until Proven Guilty. I support this.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anwen Hayward

    This is another book that I don't feel able to ascribe a rating to, and that's not because the book itself is too abysmal or brilliant to fit into the rating metric, but because this is a book that simply doesn't exist outside of its context, and that context can't be squished down and boxed into a rating between 1 and 5. I watched all of the accusations and the dismantling of the YouTube powers-that-were unfold in 2013-14 from a very odd perspective, having been what I'd charitably call an 'ins This is another book that I don't feel able to ascribe a rating to, and that's not because the book itself is too abysmal or brilliant to fit into the rating metric, but because this is a book that simply doesn't exist outside of its context, and that context can't be squished down and boxed into a rating between 1 and 5. I watched all of the accusations and the dismantling of the YouTube powers-that-were unfold in 2013-14 from a very odd perspective, having been what I'd charitably call an 'inside-outsider' at the peak of Alex Day's YouTube fame, at the start of YouTube, before it became the media juggernaut that it is today. I wasn't a YouTuber myself and had approximately zero interest in becoming one, but several of my friends were, and many of them were involved with the It Crowd at the time. Essentially, absolutely no-one knew who the fuck I was, which I was very, very happy about, but I knew a fair amount of what was going on behind the scenes. Even with all that knowledge, the accusations that came out about multiple YouTubers came as a complete shock. Like pretty much everyone else at the time, I couldn't stop reading the Tumblr posts with their upsetting details of these famous YouTubers abusing their power to manipulate their fans into sexual acts and parasocial relationships, and it was horrifying to watch as more stories were told, implicating more and more YouTubers, until it became apparent that this was not a problem of a few bad apples; the YouTube model was rotten to the core. I say 'was'. I'd argue that it still is, but that's a rant for another day. All of this is to say that I knew exactly what I was getting into with this book. I knew that Alex Day was not someone I liked; I'd known, even before the reckoning of 2014, that he wasn't a particularly nice person (his multiple cheating scandals were common knowledge in YouTube circles; the more repugnant accusations were not.) However, I have a weird personal challenge where I try and read at least one book a year by someone I either vehemently dislike or completely disagree with, because I fairly firmly believe that we can't argue our own points if we don't understand the opposition, and so when I saw that I could pick this one up secondhand for £2, thus giving the author no revenue, I decided to give it a go. I fully expected to be faced with 300 pages of someone putting his finger in his ears about all the accusations and denying everything. And you know, I got about 30 pages of that, but the other 244 were something else, and I'm not sure what to make of them. I think this book does have valuable things to say about cancel culture. I'm not sure that Alex Day is the right person to say them. Some of the valuable things he says are tempered with willful ignorance and a defensive agenda. I think it's unfortunately true that the actual allegations made against Alex Day were bad enough, but nowadays tend to get described as 'Alex Day groomed and assaulted underage fans', which isn't actually what he was accused of doing. I do think it's valid of him to point out that he has a reputation for doing things that he was never accused of, and that whenever he writes a post on Reddit, Facebook or Twitter, he gets bombarded with comments calling him a rapist, which, again, is not what he was accused of in the first place. He's right to point out that our collective memory of the serial accusations against multiple YouTubers have sort of coalesced into one singular accusation of rape, when it was in fact more nuanced than that. I think there's value in pointing it out, not only to exonerate people of things they didn't do, but also so that the victims' stories can be sensitively remembered, and so that the perpetrators and abusers face the correct reckoning. However, there are moments in this book, particularly with regard to his bandmate Ed (known on YouTube as Eddplant) when it's clear that he also just doesn't get the severity of some of the accusations, even towards other people. He writes about Ed as though he was accused of being a bit handsy and that he couldn't have known that the girl in that situation didn't want to do anything with him. That's just not true. He was credibly accused of - and admitted to - ignoring blatant signs that his actions were unwanted, and doing it anyway. Alex Day also, quite weirdly, talks about Tom Milsom by name throughout the book when he's praising his musical ability, but when he's writing about the accusations made towards Tom, he calls him 'Steve', making it seem like the accusations were about someone else entirely, and that Tom's record was clean. I also found it somewhat uncomfortable and inappropriate that he verbatim copied and pasted the accusations towards Ed and Tom, often to present them as being either not credible or exaggerated, especially as both of them later admitted that the allegations were true. He even writes about fellow YouTuber Mike Lombardo, who was convicted of and jailed for soliciting child pornography from his underage fans, with some sympathy, saying he always seemed nice when he met him. This repeated reductive attitude towards some of the more serious accusations that were made at the time, including accusations which were admitted by the perpetrators and indeed, in one instance, convicted in a court of law, makes it very, very difficult to believe that he's grappled with the severity of his own. The summation of it, really, is that I just don't think that he deserves a YouTube platform or a fanbase at all. Sure, he didn't groom and abuse underage fans, but he did use his fanbase to manipulate women into doing things they weren't sure they wanted to do, and that's bad enough. He writes in this book about how unfair it was that his book deal to tell this story was cancelled; I think that the cancellation of it was perfectly fair. I agree with him that he has a right to tell his side, but that doesn't mean he deserves a book deal. He was, after all, still able to write the book. I read it. However, he isn't immediately entitled to a platform from which to sell that book. Similarly, I agree with him that he's entitled to keep doing things he loves, like making videos and music. I just disagree that he's entitled to people listening to or watching it. He simply isn't entitled to a platform which gives him an audience of people who might be exploited, even if he says he's learnt from his mistakes; he may have, or he might not have. No-one owes him their time or safety to prove it. He can learn his lessons without an audience to witness them. There are moments here, particularly at the end of the book, where he says he's accepted this. The fact that he tried to get a book deal for this book and, by his own admission, still approaches media outlets to try and push his YouTube videos, makes me doubt it. And you know, the odd thing is that if I were able to read and rate this book solely on its own merits - say that it was a piece of fiction, for example, or that the allegations had been thoroughly disproven - I would say that it's a pretty decent book. Alex Day is a very good writer. A lot of the nostalgia for the YouTube of yesteryear in here is genuinely quite touching to read, and it also works pretty well as a sort of scandalous celebrity memoir, with anecdotes about famous YouTubers that we've never heard before (such as another disgraced abuser shitting on a piece of sound equipment at VidCon.) He's not afraid to paint himself as a total dickhead in the book, and he does, probably because, by all accounts, he is. It's just that this book can't be separated from its creator, because its creator is in very line, word and syllable. It's a book written for a specific purpose, and although it did succeed in making me consider the nuance of call-out culture, particularly in regard to how accusations can snowball in the collective consciousness and become something else entirely, it didn't make me think that Alex Day is reformed and deserves a platform again. And hey, as of today, he seems to have deleted his Twitter account and removed most of his YouTube videos, so maybe he thinks the same. So, overall, a well-written book by a total bastard that I can't recommend anyone ever read. I don't regret reading it, per se, but I'm certainly not changed by it, and I'm not going to pick it up again.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kira Marshall-mckelvey

    (This will be a rather lengthy review, as it's taken from my blog) When I found out that Alex Day had written a “tell-all” book, I was suspicious. Then curious. I was torn as to whether or not I wanted to financially support an alleged abuser--forget that I’d been financially supporting him by watching his videos four years after the YouTube abuse scandal broke. I found myself in a precarious position when I sat down to read this, and not just because I was on a plane. Because I am a person in th (This will be a rather lengthy review, as it's taken from my blog) When I found out that Alex Day had written a “tell-all” book, I was suspicious. Then curious. I was torn as to whether or not I wanted to financially support an alleged abuser--forget that I’d been financially supporting him by watching his videos four years after the YouTube abuse scandal broke. I found myself in a precarious position when I sat down to read this, and not just because I was on a plane. Because I am a person in the world, I have a pesky habit of being biased. And that particular bias came in the form of liking Alex Day. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to trust him. I wanted him to be a matured, reflective, thoughtful human being because I thought he was funny and smart and wanted to continue watching his videos. Alex Day was an influential figure in my life, as he introduced me to the world of YouTube. He inspired me to write. He seemed to have it all figured it out as he gained followers, as his music career took flight, and through it all, he never seemed to take life too seriously. As a result of Alex Day’s charm and my own naivte, I defended him. I defended him in 2014, and was ready to do it again. Was. But we’ll get to that. I have many things to say about this book, so I first wanted to address Day’s work on a technical level. His writing is charming and personable. Alex Day, while clearly a more talented and passionate musician than writer, has a knack for connecting with his audience. He tells a story in a captivating--albeit semi-disorganized--manner. It’s enough to pull you in and want to finish the book. As a fellow writer, I recognize what a tough mission that can be to accomplish. If Alex Day’s ultimate goal is to sell his book, he has done that with tremendous success. However. When looking at this book rhetorically, it’s tough to identify some key points. For starters, I, and the writer himself, fail to pinpoint his target audience. Alex Day refers to the “players” in the scandal so casually, it almost seems that the reader requires some prior knowledge of the YouTube community to fully appreciate this book. There was little to no background information about Day’s more influential girlfriends, and Day refers to his former best friend, Charlie McDonnell, as though he’s a mutual friend. This type of rhetoric makes sense, given that I would probably have no interest in such a book, had I not felt invested in the community. Yet throughout the book, Day makes lazy, half-hearted attempts to pull in the older generation by explaining platforms like Facebook and Snapchat in what feels like a condescending power play. This leads me to question, who the hell is this guy’s editor? And why didn’t he ever think to say, “you might want to identify a target audience”? Day continues this trend by beginning the book positioning himself as an abuser--or at least an asshole who felt remorse after the fact--only to make a complete 180 halfway through and self-identify as a victim. The turn here is so abrupt, it would make even the most malleable of audiences ask questions. Those questions could be answered by a reflective section of the book. As Day seems obsessed with recounting the past and defending his personhood through his artistic success and external validation, I was waiting for the chapter that expressed reflection, internal growth, and atonement. That chapter never seemed to make its way into the book, which seems a huge oversight on both the writer and his team. There are hints of remorse, in which Day makes statements like “I wasn’t acting out of kindness. I was acting out of fear. I wasn’t a sex addict. I wasn’t incapable of monogamy. I was just a fucking dick” and “the benefit of accepting you’re the cause of all your problems is that you alone can solve them without waiting on anyone else” (192, 193). This seems a little late for the first real signs of atonement, but it lends itself well to further reflection. Instead, Day goes on to recount further past events and push a victim narrative, leaving the impression that he was fed appetizing lines that would garner financial success and self-gratification. This persistent contradiction points to another rhetorical issue: Day’s purpose in writing this book is not clear, in that he’s trying to do too much for too many people. At first glance, it seems that Day is trying to make amends for his abuse; at other times, he is trying to defend himself and assert his side of the story. Rather than build trust, Day snatches away a clear narrative that a well-defined reader can hold onto. It’s possible that Day thinks the second half of his book is full of internal growth and reflection--that reflection, however, is represented by external evidence of support. Day seems to thrive on the kindness and validation of others. We all do, to a certain extent, but the “dangerous abuser” identity that Day so deeply resents seems to stem from the fact that he deems external support as demonstrative of his wholesomeness: Across all platforms, and against all odds, with me being hated more than ever and accused of more heinous crimes than I’d ever been before, [my] video got over three million views in one week and became my most-viewed video ever….For the first time in my life, my name was in print in a physical thing that was endorsed by a third party--and it was among good-natured, wholesome articles about being kind and compassionate, to boot. (287, 288) Day’s easily digestible identity hinges on his impulsive, creative spirit, but it is clear that he is also analytically-minded and holds great value in statistical evidence of success. That’s necessary for the success of an online persona, but less so when said persona is trying to win back the support of those he’s burned, either directly or tangentially. As the book progresses, Day seems to further spiral down the victim narrative--yet this victimization turns aggressive as he confronts the #MeToo movement. This is the exact moment in which Day lost me, both as an engaged reader, and a subscriber: “the MeToo movement has been outstanding overall, but it also carries a lot of collateral damage, like when a controversial article about the comedian Aziz Ansari added him to the world’s no-fly zone by detailing what amounted to a pushy date” (302). There is a lot to unpack here, and I will try to do so without flying into a fit of rage. The fact that Day uses the words “collateral damage” to refer to the perpetrators of the #MeToo movement speaks volumes about his own perceptions of himself. I won’t go into the nuances of the Aziz Ansari case, but that is rendered irrelevant by the fact that Day’s reference to a “pushy date” includes an implied “mere” before it. I will lay this out very plainly: you do not have to be a rapist to make a woman feel uncomfortable. Entitlement, pushiness, and control over another person are NEVER okay, regardless of one’s particular circumstances. The fact that pushy dates are normalized in our culture does NOT mean those who push against patriarchal notions of romance are too sensitive, unjustified, or not worth being listened to. It means that change is happening. And people like Alex Day are being challenged for the first time in their professional and personal lives. Day’s response to this pushback is exactly what makes him so dangerous. His explanation of trigger warnings that follows the #MeToo reference is hostile, grossly exaggerated, and heinous--each word confirms my suspicion that Day is unable to feel empathy for anyone. Not only is this lack of empathy problematic for him as a person, but it is problematic for him as an artist who is “so not mainstream” (which, of course, is why he’s publishing a click-baity book like all those “idiotically mainstream” YouTubers), and it will continue to bite him in the ass if he wants any kind of lasting relationship with his audience. Ironically, Day points out that “the mark of a good person lies in that person’s capacity to apologise for what they’ve done, take responsibility for their actions and make sure they learn from the pain they’ve caused in order to make sure they never do anything like it again” (220). This is all true and sounds lovely on a page, but Day’s Trumpian references to his “haters who spent the last few years calling [Day] abusive” indicate that he has learned none other than marketing his own narrative to a freshly captivated audience. In stating, “I want to make art that’s better than I am,” Alex Day ultimately makes a choice (313)--he is so afraid of being creatively stifled, that he sacrifices the help he is so clearly crying out for in order to maintain his professional and artistic identity. Maybe Day recognizes that choice, and is fine with it. Maybe this book is one giant “gotcha” moment for the sake of publicity. We can speculate and theorize all we want, but in doing so, we are giving Day exactly what he wants. Our energy goes into the motivations of an abuser who is not interested in receiving the help he needs. Instead, our focus needs to be on the victims. We owe it to them not to separate the art from the artist. We owe it to them to refuse to look away when abuse occurs right in front of us. We owe it to the victims to fight back against and call out dangerously drunk-on-power figures like Alex Day.

  30. 4 out of 5

    May

    This is a nice book to understand how this community we call "Youtubers" was born. Since Alex Day is someone who has been a part of youtube from the beginning. I just received the book but I can tell it is very well planned, the language is understandable, simple yet polished. I also would like to say I'm not interested in what he has done in the past since I know he is doing his best to improve himself and I enjoy his content. But for people who just hates him, I still would highly encourage pe This is a nice book to understand how this community we call "Youtubers" was born. Since Alex Day is someone who has been a part of youtube from the beginning. I just received the book but I can tell it is very well planned, the language is understandable, simple yet polished. I also would like to say I'm not interested in what he has done in the past since I know he is doing his best to improve himself and I enjoy his content. But for people who just hates him, I still would highly encourage people to read this book in order to hear what he has to say.

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