From stand-up comedian Maria Bamford, a comic memoir about show business, mental health, and the comfort of rigid belief systems—from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, to Suzuki violin training, to Richard Simmons, to 12-step programs.
Some of her misadventures — among them, being committed to a psych ward and accidentally killing a beloved pug — feel like anything but laughing matters. But it’s a testament to Bamford that she’s able to fill these pages with stories that are relatable and consistently hilarious, even when they’re harrowing ... This material, and the quirks of its presentation, make the memoir feel like a 270-some-page portal directly into Bamford’s mind. That notion would probably be terrifying to Bamford, who worries frequently on the page that she may be coming across as a massive narcissist. But there’s an authenticity to her words that elevates them into something beyond the category of comedy memoir ... Bamford has created a work destined to shine much-needed light on mental illness. Illuminating those serious moments with humor is her true triumph.
While none of this may sound funny, Bamford is well versed in joking about her maladies and opens up in the hopes that others might not feel as alone as she was battling her illness. The memoir offers a candid look at Bamford's decades in self-help and support group services and compassionately urges anyone suffering to reach out and get help — anywhere they can find it.
...[a] hilarious, devastating, fascinating new memoir ... Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult is the definition of kaleidoscopic: In addition to loopy riffs, career insights and beautifully sad recollections of her mother’s illness and death, there are painfully honest chapters about the time period in which Bamford’s 'mind/body had become a vibrating razor blade of electric psychic pain.' The resulting psychiatric hospitalizations were often grueling, but ultimately offered a hopeful path forward.