The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life as a Reluctant Messiah Paperback – Oct 9 2001
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Named for a psychological condition that often afflicts visitors to the Middle East, The Jerusalem Syndrome provides a vivid and comedic sense of what it's like to believe you're a conduit for the voice of God. In this case, the affliction belongs to standup comic Marc Maron, whose brief, engrossing memoir recounts a lifelong parade of revelation and delusion. In New Jersey, in New Mexico, and in Israel (among many other places), Maron has found God in encounters with Beat poetry, cocaine, the Coca-Cola logo, and conspiracy theories. Brief chapters sketch Maron's picaresque adventures, all narrated in a relentlessly neurotic style: "I had just made a horrible but good decision." Maron's decidedly nontraditional perspective on Judaism--"Believing in the grand plan can take the edge off if you let it, because it really doesn't end well for anyone"--may strike some readers as blasphemous. To others, it will seem revelatory, and for the many in the middle, it will be both. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Publishers Weekly
Stand-up comic Maron, a regular on late-night TV, has adapted and expanded his off-Broadway show of the same name into a darkly funny memoir. Only after a particularly manic trip to Israel not "to get Jewy" but to visit a friend did Maron conclude that he had long had Jerusalem Syndrome, a psychological condition of mystical self-aggrandizement. After all, he'd always felt special; at Hebrew school in Albuquerque, he first recognized his "unique talent for driving people to the edge." In college, he found a spiritual focus for his desires: an obsession with the beats and an embrace of their rituals (bad poetry, mind-altering fluids). After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a doorman at the Comedy Store ("a dark temple of fear and pain"), where he spent too much time with cocaine and the self-destructive genius comic Sam Kinison. He made pilgrimages to the Philip Morris headquarters and the Coca-Cola Museum, which reflected the "almost religious faith" of brand loyalty. He became a professional comic and, ultimately, "came out as a Jew on stage" and "eased into my anger over time." Finally, in Israel, carrying a camcorder to protect himself from "unmediated reality," Maron found himself on the brink of a spiritual crisis and moments of primal peace. Three years later, he reflects, "the cure... was essentially living life." He closes with a redemptive story about performing a benefit for his old Albuquerque synagogue: "Faith in the face of disappointment is only enhanced by laughter in the face of pain. That's my belief. That's my job." There are some narrative gaps here, but Maron is compelling enough to transcend them.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is a fragmentary autobiography of some events in Maron's life, very little of which is directly related to his career as a standup comic.
The brief first chapter foreshadows the events that will occur later in the book during Maron's trip to Israel.
Chapters two through five cover Maron's life up to high school. I simply didn't find this stuff to be very interesting.
Chapter six covers Maron's college years, focusing on him adopting the Beat religion. The ideas and events in this chapter are very interesting, they're written about very well, and the chapter is very funny.
Chapter seven is another highlight of the book, covering the modest beginnings of his career as his comedian and his relationship (friendship is too strong of word) with Sam Kinison. Like the previous chapter the events here are interesting and funny, if not scary.
In chapter eight Maron recounts his foray into conspiracy theory, and how his credulity for that intellectual junk food led to him making a fool of himself. He does save some face, though, by turning his mind back on before the chapter is through.Read more ›
okay, so i'm a little biased- i'm a huge fan of his work and i saw marc maron's jerusalem syndrome at the westbeth theater last summer--- it was spectacular. i'm glad i saw the show, because it made the book a lot more animated for me. but i do believe that if anyone enjoys the wrenching and honest comedy of marc maron, they will love this book. a streamlined mentality that any decent human being with a sense of humor will soak up. are you a decent human being with a sense of humor??? huh? are ya?
just visualize the coca-cola dripping down the front of his shirt in the company's atlanta headquarters and you'll understand.
Most recent customer reviews
if you like books that are funny and sound like they are being about a man going insane you will love this book. i found it entertaining to read and just a great book overall.Published 22 months ago by Lucas
Read this book. I read it in a day. I went back and underlined the good parts. I told a number of friends about it. Read morePublished on April 17 2002 by Margaret K. O'hora
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