- Danny Wallace
Publisher: Ebury Press
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.
Join Me is not a fictional story, but a real life story of a bored man who in tribute to an distant relative decides to ask people to join him. He doesn’t tell people why. Just asks them on faith to join him. And the surprising thing is, that people do. They agree to join him and send him a passport photo to join his collective (it’s not a cult!).
Danny Wallace is a very funny man and he tells his story with a lot of wit, self-deprecating humour and a very amusing turn of phrase. There were times when I was spluttering with laughter on the train (and drawing some very odd looks) with just a quick insight or phrase. I don’t as a habit read much non-fiction, but Danny Wallace is an exception and this was one book that made me grin. It’s not all highs though as Danny struggles to understand what to do with these people once they’ve joined him. However, his solution is great – he uses his powers for good! – and an act of random kindness every Friday is born. It certainly makes you think about doing good. And doing good without any reason.
Danny feels like a real person – not a big celebrity. He manages to travel the country and grow his collective in the most bizarre and unusual ways and meets some of the strangest, nicest and downright odd people you can imagine. While there isn’t a larger purpose as such for Danny’s quest, there is a nice journey of discovery as Danny tries to figure out how to use his new-found power and how to lead so many different and disparate people. I laughed and I felt for Danny. Honestly if you want a proper break from all the love triangles, world ending sagas this is a great British diversion for a couple of days.
Recommended for fans of Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry. 8 out of 10