Danny Wallace was bored. Just to see what would happen, he placed a whimsical ad in a local London paper. It said, simply, 'Join Me'. Within a month, he was receiving letters and emails from teachers, mechanics, sales reps, vicars, schoolchildren and pensioners - all pledging allegiance to his cause. But no one knew what his cause was. Soon he was proclaimed Leader. Increasingly obsessed and possibly power-crazed Danny risked losing his sanity and his loyal girlfriend. But who could deny the attraction of a global following of devoted joinees? A book about dreams, ambition and the responsibility that comes with power, Join Me is the true story of a man who created a cult by accident, and is proof that whilst some men were born to lead, others really haven't got a clue.
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(198mm x 126mm x 25mm)
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
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US Kirkus Review »
Idiosyncratic memoir of a London journalist's experiences forming a "karma army." In 2002, Wallace placed a small ad in a London paper exhorting readers to "Join Me!" by sending him a passport-sized photo, but giving no other details about his reasons or intentions. He was inspired to this eccentric project by boredom and a great-uncle's death; at the funeral, he learned that the uncle had been much mocked in youth for attempting to form a farming commune and impulsively decided to revive the project. Wallace was so pleased to meet the first iconoclasts who joined-each of these early meetings is recreated in exhaustive detail-that he began to obsessively propagate Join Me, spreading the word online and with flyers, still without divulging any specifics. While this alienated some, resulting in a bit of hate mail, a surprising number of high-spirited nonconformists continued to join this collective (or "cult," as many wags dubbed it), leading its instigator to set a thousand joinees as an ostensible goal. The organization's purpose amounted to vaguely defined minor philanthropy: "They wanted to do good," Wallace enthuses about his joinees, "they just never had enough of an excuse before." Yet the "good" seems limited to random acts of kindness directed toward elderly pensioners, while the rambling narrative becomes increasingly subordinate to the ego-demands of its author's exhibitionistic and hectoring personality. (Even his shabbily treated, long-suffering girlfriend finally wises up and dumps him.) For a sense of movement, the joke-heavy prose relies principally on disingenuous false surprise and wisecracks that refer back to the preceding paragraph, tactics that quickly become tiresome. By the time we reach the minor-key denouement-Wallace intends to relinquish Join Me, but is voted the collective's "Leader"-only the most guileless readers will think the journey worthwhile. An odd tale, reflecting the motivations of contemporary group-think, but otherwise skippable. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Danny Wallace
Danny Wallace is a writer and television presenter, who wears glasses and used to have a cat. Join Me was his first solo book and was described as a 'word-of-mouth phenomenon' by The Bookseller and 'one of the funniest stories you will ever read' by the Daily Mail. His second book, Yes Man - in which he decided to say 'Yes' to everything has been made into a film starring Jim Carrey. It was described as 'hilarious' by more than four national newspapers, and Richard Madeley. Both books were Sunday Times bestsellers. Danny Wallace is PPA's Columnist of the Year 2011. Find out more about Danny at www.dannywallace.com.