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The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life as a Reluctant Messiah

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  600 ratings  ·  59 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
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Three Rivers Press
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3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  600 ratings  ·  59 reviews


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Natalie
Feb 05, 2008 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.
Lorena
Jun 23, 2015 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!
Suzie
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
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
Megan
Jun 12, 2011 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.
Kelley Tackett
Jun 16, 2012 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
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Denny
I could write a long screed about all the aspects of The Jerusalem Syndrome that I didn't like but won't bother to spend any more time on it than I already have listening to it. I did not enjoy Maron's narration at all, and I quit counting how many times I almost gave up on it during chapters 6, 7, & 8, in which he explains, at great length, his years of almost unbelievable substance abuse. If Goodreads allowed it, I'd rate it 1.5 stars because there were 4 or 5 anecdotes near the beginning ...more
Mitch Romig
Jul 12, 2011 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 rated it liked it
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.
Anne
Jul 13, 2014 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
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Paul Mirek
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Having watched parts of his IFC show, listened to his twice-weekly podcast, and even seen Mr. Maron perform at Durham's Carolina Theatre earlier this year, I figured I had a good idea of what to expect from his first book.
Turns out I was both right and wrong. Fans of Maron's later work will recognize his grappling with weighty issues of belief and morality as well as his fascination with the ephemera of show business. The debauched details of Maron's early career are a less frequent topic of di
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Heather
Jun 26, 2013 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
Mark
Jun 17, 2010 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
Colleen
May 04, 2013 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
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Jackie
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
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
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Otto Lehto
Jan 28, 2015 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
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Kate
Sep 25, 2011 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
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Katie Christian
Mar 08, 2014 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
Taylor
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A spiritual journey as only Marc Maron could tell it. This book depicts Maron's early life and the beginning of his career, events leading up to him and his wife traveling to Jerusalem. It is fun and engaging as well as heartfelt. The audiobook is three hours, something you could knock out on a Sunday morning while completing your chores. (Also, Maron describes his last religious experience before traveling to Jerusalem in full detail. This experience was traveling to Atlanta and visiting the Wo ...more
Roberto
Aug 12, 2014 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
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Thomas
Aug 03, 2014 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
James Brigham
Apr 22, 2013 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
Kelli
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I avoided reading this book for years because I consider myself a Marc Maron super fan, having listened to all the podcasts since the beginning, watching old stand up specials and seeing him live now. I have heard a lot of his stories repeated and figured this would be the same. It decidedly was not. This book covers huge swaths of Marc's youth that he rarely touches on in interviews and it gave me a whole new perspective on him. Love that he had a Beatnik/bohemian youth, and listening to him ph ...more
Kyle
Oct 06, 2011 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.
Bronwyn
Feb 24, 2014 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.
Steve
Feb 27, 2014 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.
Bob Fingerman
Sep 05, 2008 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.
eHawk
Dec 09, 2015 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.
Ray Lux
Mar 31, 2015 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.
Bill
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Meh.

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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Marcus David Maron is an American stand-up comedian, podcaster, writer and actor.

He has been host of The Marc Maron Show and co-host of both Morning Sedition and Breakroom Live, all politically oriented shows produced by Air America Media. He hosted Comedy Central's Short Attention Span Theater for a year, replacing Jon Stewart. Maron was a frequent guest on the Late Show with David Letterman and
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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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