Join Me – Danny Wallace

Join Me is the hilarious non-fiction tale, published in 2003, of Danny Wallace’s attempts to get people to join his mysteriously named ‘collective’, and the journey he goes on to achieve his goal of 1000 followers and getting them to do good deeds. Anybody that is aware of Danny Wallace (as I am proud to say that I am myself) will automatically be familiar with the type of writer that he is, and the type of tale that this will be in consequence. Wallace is an eccentric and fascinating man, and this book is just another example of one of his improbable and optimistic projects. One of the things that makes him and his stories so great, is the fact that he is just a typical bloke. In the nicest way possible, he is just your standard Londoner with a sarcastic sense of humour and a will to change the world.

This book is relaxing and fun to read because Wallace is such a quality comic writer. Whilst I can often find myself reading a novel, for example, and wondering what the outcome will be and if the ending is going to be as good or as terrible as the bit I am currently reading, with something like Join Me there is no such sense of expectation, and it is incredibly refreshing. Although it is a narrative, there is no such possibility of disappointment when reading a book like this and it really enhances the reading experience.

This is also aided by how honest and down-to-earth Wallace is as a writer. At times, it feels like he could be sat across from you telling this story directly to you, just from the way the tale is written, and that makes Danny relatable in a way that celebrities rarely ever are. I was genuinely comforted by the fact that Wallace presents himself as a constant overthinker and a bit of a worrier, something which a lot of readers can probably sympathise with themselves.

But what is more, the book (surprisingly) actually really restored my faith in humanity. All too often I am ashamed to say that I judge the vast majority of people as unhelpful and rude based on the many examples I see and hear about on a day-to-day basis. But I should know better. And Join Me has taught me that. I love the characters in the book precisely because they are real people, they are human and authentic and each is a role model in their own way.

For this reason, in particular, I connected with the text quite strongly on an emotional level, which I was quite shocked at considering it is meant to be slightly funny and whimsical. I was genuinely disheartened to read the story of Raymond Price in chapter fourteen, sincerely uplifted by the tales of the seven Geordie lads and the ‘Mag Seven’ in chapter fifteen, and positively overwhelmed with emotion (I mean, seriously choked up) with the arrival of Ian’s surprise in chapter twenty-seven.

Overall, Join Me is a fine example of the true kindness of the human race. It is rewarding to read a book written with such frankness and confidence, and to listen to a man as faithful as Danny Wallace himself. All I can say is, I would recommend this book to anyone having a bad day, or anyone who has lost all faith in the human race, because the Karma Army does not just end with the conclusion of this book, it can carry on in all of us.

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