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The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life as a Reluctant Messiah

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  462 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
By the author of Attempting Normal and host of the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, The Jerusalem Syndrome is The Gospel according to Maron: a spiritual memoir of your average hyperintelligent, ultraneurotic, superhip Jewish standup comedian and seeker.

The Jerusalem Syndrome is a genuine psychological phenomenon that often strikes visitors to the Holy Land_the delusion that t
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Three Rivers Press
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Dec 02, 2008 Natalie rated it liked it
Shelves: that-was-funny
I saw Marc Maron's stand up performance at a small comedy club in Ybor City about five or six years ago. Ever since then, I keep expecting him to become hugely famous overnight; he was utterly hysterical. It's never happened, and in the meantime, we have Dane Cook.
Jun 23, 2015 Lorena rated it really liked it
I laughed all day listening to this book, and that's a gift. The last chapter was a bit sentimental, but the rest was pretty relentless belly laughs. And who doesn't need those? Highly recommended!
Feb 10, 2012 Suzie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
Maron's memoir. Similar to the portions of Maron's podcast where he talks about his life. His experience of life is more extreme than mine. Scattered throughout there are details that light up important moments of his life that are things that I will never experience. There are little relatable moments, like how he gets so excited by shopping for sneakers that he tells the people at the store that they should come with a cape. Since I like Maron, this gave me a solid grasp on where he's coming f ...more
Kelley Tackett
May 24, 2013 Kelley Tackett rated it liked it
"Faith in the face of disappointment is only enhanced by laughter in the face of pain."

"I still believe there are no coincidences, but I no longer think I am the chosen one. I think the path of my life has been to follow a trail of crumbs being dropped unintentionally by a God eating a piece of cake as he walks quickly away from a dinner I wasn't invited to on his way to deal with the end of the world."

"There is a realization one makes as one gets older. When you're young you really think you ar
Jun 12, 2011 Megan rated it it was amazing
I impulse-downloaded this book to my Kindle while at the gym because I finished what I was reading, and had also recently finished working my way back through all the old WTF podcasts. Though some of the stories were familiar from the podcast, this book was surprisingly touching in addition to being funny. Devoured it in about 2 days and loved every second of it. Love Maron's honest comedic voice.
Mitch Romig
Jul 28, 2011 Mitch Romig rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I think I would have enjoyed this more if I'd read it before listening to 150+ episodes of Maron's podcast, where he has retold large portions of this book.
Peter Knox
Dec 22, 2014 Peter Knox rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction
Listened to the audiobook. I'm a Maron fan but this book was of a weaker structure than Attempting Normal. Approach as bonus content/backstory to that.
Jul 13, 2014 Anne rated it it was ok
I feel that this was probably a great show but the jokes were lost in translation. There were a few good lines:

"Faux Bohemians dressed in vintage clothes. If they couldn’t find integrity in their own time, maybe they could find it in the pants of another time.”

“The thing about conspiracy literature is that it’s perfect for stupid people who want to seem smart and ground their hatred in something completely mystical and confusing...”

He also has some thought provoking ideas:

“All I know is that whe
Jun 17, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies, humor
Fantastic book about comedian Marc Maron's journey of self discovery where he finds that he's not nearly as important as he once thought he was. I've been a fan of Maron's through his hosting gig at Short Attention Span Theater and his run on Air America and now his WTF podcast. The thing that keeps me coming back is his relentless honesty and ability to be candid about almost everything in his life, and finding humor in unlikely places, usually within his existential angst and personal trauma. ...more
Jul 08, 2013 Heather rated it it was ok
Augmented my read of Attempting Normal with the audio version of this one. Maron's 2001 memoir, shaped around a God complex/religious theme. Being a huge WTF fan and having just read Attempting Normal, the difference to me between Maron now and Maron then is quite striking. The WTF era Maron is much softer and I have to say IMO much funnier. This one has an edge, a pressure to it that seems to actually make the jokes not land anywhere near as well, obscures them even. Plus, the religious theme s ...more
May 04, 2013 Colleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
So, I also have Audible. I just love getting memoirs and listening to authors tell their story in their own words. I pre-ordered Jerusalem Syndrome as soon as it was offered and waited patiently through the month long push-back release. I had to listen to it as soon as it came out and thought I would be done in a day. THIS BOOK IS INTENSE. You must listen in small bursts because it Maron tells his story with the intensity of a buzz saw.
I started to listen to Marc Maron back during his Air Ameri
I am a big fan of Marc Maron's podcast, "WTF With Marc Maron." He is an intelligent, insightful interviewer, who can talk to comics, musicians, actors, directors with equal ease. He is also an anxiety-ridden, middle-aged Jewish comic, who does not hesitate to discuss his fears--however ridiculous--in front of an audience. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, although I'm pretty sure I expected it to be funnier than it was. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it; it just was something other ...more
Otto Lehto
Feb 05, 2015 Otto Lehto rated it liked it
How do Maron's two books compare? Having read this book after the later, lengthier and slightly better semi-sequel, "Attempting Normal", the similarities are obvious. Most importantly, the humour and wit is there, already, in "J.S.". The best parts are autobiographical, and fans of Sam Kinison (and detractors alike) should rejoice at the delightful anecdotes hurdled at that sadistic man.

I would say the quality of the writing is on par across the two books. The quality of the insights, and spirit
Elwood D Pennypacker
Endearing himself through his podcast, Maron has made his life story intimately available to any one who gives a damn. One of his themes, one that strikes a chord with me, is the age old question for a certain sector of the contemporary American neurotic, "How Jewish am I really?" (And a second question, "Oh no am I really going to die one day?", but as that is a harder question to tackle, the book gladly only dwells on the first question).

Maybe one should take this adaption of his turn-of-the-c
Feb 06, 2014 Hermgirl rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a tremendous book! I've been a Marc Maron fan, like, forever--like BEFORE he was on Conan's show. But I waited til now for some reason to read his autobiography, his other book, "Attempting Normal", is more like a gateway drug for the Marc uninitiated--it didn't suck, but it was somewhat familiar territory for me.

In this book Marc talks about his youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico, his college years, as well as the early days of his career in Los Angeles' famed Comedy Store.

What you wil
Katie Christian
Aug 13, 2016 Katie Christian rated it liked it
This book is extremely fast-paced. Maron grows up fast with drugs and parties and a comedy club lifestyle that I think most readers can't exactly relate to, but can watch from the outside with a slightly horrified look. His experiences in comedy were most definitely interesting. The title is misleading - Maron never believed he was a Messiah, only that God occasionally spoke to him. His description of his trip to Israel definitely blew my notion of what Israel is like. Waterskiing and sunbathing ...more
Oct 10, 2014 Cagne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cagne by: Marc Maron
I've read this as a regular listener of the WTF podcast. I didn't find the book overlapping with what Maron tells in his podcasts (at least in the last year), or with the other book, "Attempting normal", or even with the tv series, so it can be picked up without worrying about hearing the same material twice, if you have a similar exposure to him as mine.
"Attempting normal" is more like a collection of events and thoughts, while "Jerusalem syndrome" has a biographic connecting theme.
It feels
Jul 07, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-to-5-stars
Liked this even better than Maron's collection of essays, Attempting Normal (which is also great). An interesting glimpse into Maron's childhood, early days as a standup comic, and battles with addiction. (There's one scene involving world travelers and weed that's an exception to the rule of drug experiences being disastrous – it's maybe the most beautiful scene in the book.) A great read for fans of Maron, comedy, or people who have ever suspected that their life might be important in ways the ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Roberto rated it really liked it
Easy to read, engaging book that takes you into the mind of Marc Maron and his life story. If you happen to follow his podcast you probably have heard many of the stories that he writes about in this book, but none the less, on this book he manages to make the stories feel new to the reader.

You wont be constantly laughing at the stories but it will make you find yourself on a couple of occasions smiling or even laughing out loud. Some parts will make you hate him, other love him, but in the end
James Brigham
Apr 28, 2013 James Brigham rated it really liked it
As a fan of WTF, I was familiar w/ several of the stories but it was nice to see them presented in a larger context of spiritual exploration. Marc's a good writer and his authorial voice is very consistent w/ his podcasting demeanor. I especially liked the search for God w/ the help of a Sony camcorder and Maron's connections between religion and commerce. I dog eared several pages that spoke eloquently about my own feelings regarding the search for Truth and individual expression. A keeper for ...more
Jay Clement
Sep 06, 2016 Jay Clement rated it really liked it
I like Maron's podcast, WTF, and his voice comes through in this book very well. Interesting to read the longer versions of some of the stories that he's shared on the podcasts.
Bob Fingerman
Sep 05, 2008 Bob Fingerman rated it it was amazing
Marc Maron is one of the best minds in comedy, and also one of its funniest, sharpest, most astute practitioners. Not all comedians can translate their work to another medium, but in The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life as a Reluctant Messiah , Maron succeeds in spades, rendering his caustic yet humane humor in lively prose. Granted, I would love an audiobook of this read by the author even more, but you can't have everything. A fine, funny, neurotic journey of self-discovery.
Oct 06, 2011 Kyle rated it liked it
I was turned on to Marc Maron through his podcasts, and now that I've seen his standup live as well, I can honestly say he's one of the funniest, most intelligent and introspective comedians I'm aware of. His book is very well written and entertaining, but it gets a bit dull in the last third when he actually goes to Israel. The Hollywood drugs and partying stories in the first two thirds are much more interesting and fun. Good book though, some real gems of wisdom and hilarious bits.
Feb 27, 2014 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: funny, biographic
Reads really well, I felt like Marc was popping out of the pages, high as a kite. The flow from childhood to the Israel trip really worked well, ending the funniest image of Marc and his camcorder.. I feel like this is a great read for fans, but for anyone coming in cold, it could be less interesting. I don't think I'll forget this one so soon, even after hearing parts of this on his podcast for some time already. Looking forward to reading his follow up.
Feb 24, 2014 Bronwyn rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Interesting to read these in reverse order. This came not long after Maron got sober, and he hadn't gotten enough distance to really dig deep. Sure, he makes fun of himself, but it's clear he hadn't figured out yet how to simultaneously skewer and forgive himself as he's able to later in life. Much of it reads (listens?) like a fever dream, especially since it's read by Maron, which is appropriate for the coked up majority of it.
Dana Sitar
Oct 13, 2011 Dana Sitar rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: comedians, writers
Entertaining and must-read insight for any comic, writer, or would-be messiah.

I thought I wanted more drug stories, but in the end, I am glad that the book did not disintegrate into the formula of self-destruction and salvation that it probably could have. Instead, Maron allows us to join him inside his head for an interesting and inspiring look at his life's path.
Ray Lux
Apr 03, 2015 Ray Lux rated it liked it
Marc Maron is one of the best comedians I have ever seen live. The man knows how to deliver the laughter with heart and wisdom. This book is an interesting read about Maron as he grew up and became what he is today. However, I feel like I lost part of the connection by not being Jewish. It was funny in parts but dragged in others.

If you like Marc Maron you'll probably like this book.
Dec 09, 2015 eHawk rated it liked it
Shelves: personalstory
Short and sweet, caught this one as an audiobook at work. It may be that I enjoyed this less because I spend so much time listening to Maron's podcast, so this actually felt less insightful than he normally sounds in that context. Still, as a snippet of time and insight into a great comedian and performer, I enjoyed it.
Apr 17, 2014 Christian rated it liked it
Having listened to all of Marc's stand up albums and the majority of his podcast there wasn't a whole lot of new information to learned from this book. However, that's hardly Marc's fault, as he wrote this some time ago. It's still a solid example of Marc's earlier work.
May 30, 2015 Bill rated it it was ok

I can't believe I had this on my to-read list for so long.

Something of a brief memoir, though it's hard to tell what's simply made up as there are no real details around most of it and the stories are obviously embellished. Funny enough, though the stab at meaning fails.
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“When you're young you really think you're angry for reasons and causes. As you get older, you realize you might just be angry.” 10 likes
“Faith in the face of disappointment is only enhanced by laughter in the face of pain.” 8 likes
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