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The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life as a Reluctant Messiah Paperback – Oct 9 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (Oct. 9 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767908104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767908108
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #303,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this because I think Marc Maron's standup comedy is hilarious. I caught a brief appearance of him on Comedy Central awhile ago and it took me several months to find out the name of the guy who made me laugh so hard. After finally finding out who he was, I found out he has a CD, Not Sold Out, and this book, The Jerusalem Syndrome. The CD is hilarious and I highly recommend it. Since no other CDs or a DVD of his standup is available (yet, anyway - fingers crossed!), I went ahead and got the book because he wrote it, not really knowing what it was about, with pretty high expectations.
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.
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Format: Paperback
if you're not sure who marc maron is--- imagine if hunter s. thompson and janeane garofalo had a test-tube-jewish-new-yorker-baby-boy... and that baby boy was full grown... and a little weird.
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.
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Format: Paperback
In this fluid memoir Marc Maron manages to be self-aggrandizing and self-effacing at once, to good effect. He's got an eye and an ear for detail, and can comment wryly on marriage (for example) without ever being misogynistic. He writes that he was his Grandma Goldy's first and favorite grandchild - and that this designation and honor is sticking for life. You will laugh a lot, and admire Maron's ability to sometimes make lemonade out of lemons. In addition, Maron is more than willing to tell us about the silly, sad, and ridiculous jams he has gotten into - and how he found his way out. Maron is not only smart; he is kind and compassionate without ever being maudlin. This memoir, by an American comic with a deservedly bright future, is funny and sweet and well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
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. You don't have to know anything about Judaism or Israel to appreciate Maron's spiritual journey. It's the funniest thing I've ever purchased online.
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