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 of replying to the advert? 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