Books Danny Wallace, freelance journalist is bored. Having just moved into his own place after a flat share with his friend Dave all he finds himself doing is watching TV, playing games and scratching and it doesn't seem to be getting him anywhere. Then he hear's about an uncle he didn't know who's died. At the funeral he finds out that said Uncle had a plan in his youth to buy some land and talk a hundred people from his village (total population 1000) into living there with him in a collective, working the land and getting back to nature. He managed only three, became the family joke and entered into isolation.

Danny thinks he can do better and wants to commemorate his late uncle in some way. So he puts an classified advert in Loot magazine which simply says 'Join Me' and a note asking for a passport photo to be sent to his home address. It was a stupid idea. A flight of fancy. Then someone answered.

Join Me is a semi-sequel to the fabulous 'Are You Dave Gorman?' which he co-wrote with Dave Gorman. In that book it was Gorman who was the eccentric, the person wanting to find 54 people namesakes; Wallace was the straight man; the one telling Dave to calm down, to stop the madness before it went too far.

Here the story continues. It isn't clear how far after the previous book all this happened for it seems pretty close. It's as though Wallace secretly missed the chase he was sidekick to and needed something to fill the hole. He might have been the frowner last time, but he was secretly enjoying every minute. In this book it turns out he's possibly even madder; at least Gorman has a perceptible limit to his work. Wallace shoots the ball going and doesn't even goal. But one of the joys of the book is the constant revelations as it proceeds and since I'm going to recommend you buy this at the end of the review I don't want to give too much away.

This is another in an ever increasing genre of books in which reasonably normal people do quite extraordinary things for no apparent reason and write about them. Part of the charm here is that Wallace admits that he doesn't have the writing ability of other people in the genre and name checks travel writer he thinks would be doing a better job. Ironically he's actually as good as they are. For various reasons he takes a trip to Paris and perfectly captures what it's like around the Eiffel Tower and in the cafes.

As in the Gorman book he also captures the silent majority of people in the UK who are extraordinary for no apparent reason other than they feel like they should be doing something out of the ordinary. It's not anarchy, or non-conformity in the traditional sense. It's that idea that if you want to change the way life is and expected behavior, your only course of action is to have a go. I'd say the recent craze of FlashMobbing and BookCrossing (leaving old books about for other people to pick up and enjoy) are other examples of this.

For me the most interesting aspect of this endeavor is that at no point does the reader feel that all of this happened because of a potential book deal. Wallace didn't go to the book publisher with the publisher with the idea before proceeding. There is even a hint that this story was only turned into words after the success of the first book, which means that for some time it existed only in the news reports and website. It was a personal project, something the journalist wanted to do so that he was at least doing something.

But I'm not going to pretend it's a book for everyone. As with the Gorman book there is a built in pointlessness about the story which will not appeal to all. There are a couple of occasions when some readers might wonder about the motives. For the rest of us, those who love the idea that moments of magic like this can happen in the world we're stuck with at present, it's a joy and reinvigorates your belief in people. Here is the bit were I recommend you buy the book. Buy the book.

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