The actor best known for playing Dwight Schrute on The Office and founder of the inspirational website and media company SoulPancake shares tales of his awkward youth and later adventures as a struggling actor in New York and Los Angeles—a journey sustained by his lasting commitment to the Baha’i faith.
Beginning with a foreword written in the voice of Schrute, Wilson (co-author: SoulPancake: Chew on Life's Big Questions, 2010) is quick to set an irreverent though somewhat self-conscious tone that dominates the early chapters. The only child of “pseudo hippie,” “oddball” parents, the author recalls his early years as a self-described geek, punctuated by activities ranging from bassoon playing to marathon games of Dungeons & Dragons. His family relocated back and forth from Seattle to Nicaragua and later to the Chicago suburbs, where, as a teenager, he gained a modicum of social acceptance through his interest and emerging talent in dramatic arts: “I had moved from regular geek/nerd to the very top of the geek/nerd hierarchy, DRAMA geek/nerd.” These chapters feature over-the-top anecdotes, extended footnotes, and trivia lists, including “Compendium of Comic Sidekicks,” “The Greatest Albums of the Early Eighties,” and “Shitty Jobs” (busboy, security guard, dishwasher, traffic-counter guy). Unfortunately, these comedic devices seldom hit the hilarious marks he’s intending, and comparisons will likely be drawn to gifted humorists such as bestselling author and former Office alum Mindy Kaling. Wilson’s narrative gathers momentum and insight when he recounts his years as a drama student at NYU, which led to film and TV work. The author also provides vivid descriptions of working on the set of The Office and deeper revelations about his spiritual path.
Certainly for fans of The Office, but the amiable actor also offers thoughtful glimpses into the realities of the TV and film industry and an impassioned rationale for living an openly spiritual life.