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Join Me: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident [Paperback]

Danny Wallace
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

How could you refuse the polite invitation of begoggled Danny Wallace in Join Me? You don't know what you could be missing out on. It's all about living for the moment in this quirky, seemingly pointless yet addictive narrative. Finding himself with too much time on his hands after quitting his BBC job, Danny revels in "sitting around in his pants" and generally taking a break from the responsibilities of working life. Danny attends the funeral of his great uncle Gallus and finds out that he had set up a commune of like-minded people to escape Swiss small town small-mindedness in the 1940s. Intrigued by this idea, on his return to London Danny places a cryptic advert in the classified ads paper Loot and gets some surprising results.

His Norwegian radio-producer girlfriend Hanne is bemused and infuriated that this has become more than a transient interest; it takes over his life--and hers. The number of "joinees"--people replying to his ad--escalates as word gets out about this new "happy cult", but without a clue about what he wants to achieve, or do with all his newfound friends, Danny has to think fast as dissent rises in the ranks. Now the reluctant leader of a troop of random hopefuls, he maintains their interest with obscure e-mails and watches as his joinees meet and bond.

Whatever he had created, it was bigger than he had anticipated. From an initially puerile idea, it had grown into something of a social experiment--why were people willing to take the risk? What was lacking in their lives that they thought they might get out of contacting a stranger? Taking risks, no matter how big or small, is the essential crux of the matter here and of course, nothing ventured, nothing gained. --Angela Boodoo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"One of the funniest stories you will ever read" (Daily Mail)

"The hilarious true story of a bunch of strangers being swept up in a bored man's experiment" (Heat)

"Hugely funny." (World Magazine)

"Join Me is the kind of book I love: effortlessly funny, painfully accurate and entertaining to the very end. Brilliant." (Mike Gayle)

Book Description

'The hilarious true story of a bunch of strangers being swept up in a bored man's experiment' Heat

From the Publisher

'The hilarious true story of a bunch of strangers being swept up in a bored man's experiment' Heat

From the Back Cover

Bored people can do the stupidest things.

How about placing a whimsical small ad in the local paper, simply saying 'Join Me'?

Within a month Danny Wallace was being mobbed by strangers from all over the country, eager to proclaim him leader and pledge allegiance to his cause - even though no one knew what that was. Least of all Danny.

This is probably the only chance you will have to read the story of how an ordinary man became a global cult leader by accident and we strongly recommend that you take it.

About the Author

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

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

1. In the beginning was the Word.
2. And the word was There.

There is a man who lives in Camden, North London, who once made me very happy.

He'd written me a letter.

This is what it said:

To whom it may concern,

As requested, here is my passport photo. I have also troubled myself to include our local Indian restaurant menu, and can recommend the Chicken Dansak if you're ever in the area and feeling hungry. I look forward to hearing about the next step in our endeavours.

Cheers Christian Jones

London NW1

I'd opened it immediately and excitedly, and then read it over and over again. I found it one of the most incredible letters I'd ever received. Why? Because it was a reply to my advert. The advert I'd placed on a whim. And it contained a passport photo of Christian, smiling. Smiling at me; the bloke he'd joined.

'Wow,' I'd said to myself. 'Someone actually did it ...'

I was overawed. I had my first joinee. A new best friend, of sorts. I mean ... imagine it. From now on, whatever happened, I would always have this; I would always have Christian Jones of London NW1. Even if no one else ever deemed me worthy of joining in the future ... even if no one in the entire world ever wanted to accept my offer again ... Chris Jones was mine, and mine alone. My friend. My mate. My cheeky-faced pal.

Granted, we hadn't actually met yet, and if it came down to it and the whole world treated me with disinterest and scorn, why would he feel any different? But I had a hunch Jonesy wouldn't desert me. We'd come this far, me and him, and besides, I was already calling him 'Jonesy'.


I should probably explain.

You see, like all good books, this one takes place just after the death of an old Swiss man. And, like all good books - modern classics, you might say - this one unwittingly began life in spring, on a farm, in a village, in a Switzerland sprinkled with sunlight and dew.

It's early afternoon, and the old Swiss man is tired.

He's not as young as he used to be - because he's old - and the farm he once ran with tireless efficiency has got the better of him, as it does every day now. He hasn't many animals, nor many crops, but he still tries to clean out the cowshed and find fresh hay for the goats and keep up with the weeds, which never seem to tire as he does, the weedy green bastards. He is ninety.

His wife died some years before, leaving the old man to cook himself some lonely and basic meals of potato and ham, and it's some time after lunch, when the day is already nine hours old for him, that he decides to head back to the untidy wooden house to take his afternoon rest. There are still things to do, but they can wait, they can wait, because he must rest, he must rest.

He washes his face and hands with one of the lavender soaps his wife had collected but rarely used, lies on his bed, closes his eyes, and exhales. The sun is draped around the room, sneaking through the dark slats of the window, dousing the place in muted amber. The only sound is the distant clank of a dozen cow bells on the hillside, and the whistley wheeze of this old, tired man.

He falls into the deepest of sleeps, the last one he'll ever need, the last he'll ever be given.

And the old Swiss man pops his old Swiss clogs.

If indeed the Swiss have clogs. I don't know. I'm only half-Swiss. And it's not even my best half. I'm still at home in London, probably playing on my PlayStation, or staring at my feet, unaware that any of this has even happened.

I soon would be.

And how.


I studied the menu Chris had enclosed with his letter. 'The Madras Valley ... 123 Castlehaven Road, northwest London'. It looked great. Maybe I was romanticising it slightly because of the mood I was in, but I don't think that any restaurant has ever seemed so appealing as the Madras Valley did at that moment.

'We are proud of our chefs and our management,' it read. 'We are proud that you the customer choose us to satisfy your appetite'. Well, that was lovely. They hadn't needed to write that, but they'd done it anyway. What a great world my joinee lived in. A friendly world, where restaurants are proud of themselves, and you get a free bottle of Coke with every takeaway order over £15.

And this sealed it for me: 'Our chef has twenty years experience as a chef.' Oh, Jonesy knew his stuff when it came to restaurants, alright. He was a man of taste. A man of quality. A man I knew I should know.

I imagined our shared future. I imagined our summers in the park, drinking cool beers and kicking a battered old football around, laughing like ladies in the afternoon sun. I imagined us marrying twins, and living next door to each other, and going halves on a caravan we'd take to the Lake District twice a year. I imagined growing old with him, maybe by now having to share just the one twin wife, trading in the caravan for a timeshare on the coast ... and you know what? Life would be good. Life would be great. Because Jonesy would be there.

'Who is that a picture of and why are you staring at it?' said Hanne, my girlfriend, suddenly there, interrupting my dreams of what might be. She was drying her hair and smelled of coconuts.

'It's Jonesy,' I said.

'Who is Jonesy?' she said, moving closer to take a look. 'And why are you grinning like that?'

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