Friday Reads: Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult by Maria Bamford

Ever since a friend recommended her breakout television series, Lady Dynamite, I’ve been a fan of Maria Bamford and her singular comedy style. In her new memoir, Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult, she discusses her desire to belong to something, anything, that makes sense of her life and what’s happening in her brain—and how well that challenge goes, or doesn’t. You will be rooting for her as she describes her journey, and as she illustrates the characters she meets along the way—people and organizations that are more than willing to offer her the security she craves, in exchange for her continued insecurity in some other area of her life. She addresses heavy (sometimes very heavy! You’ve been warned! She will warn you too!) topics with both irreverence and gentleness, somehow. No other comedian is quite like Maria Bamford. 

Bamford will talk about her mental health in fresh and honest and uncomfortable ways that will have you laughing out loud—so, you know, watch out for that if you’re listening to the audiobook on earbuds while you’re out in public. Her comedic timing is perfect, and she narrates accordingly, so it’s a great audiobook choice. There are some fun sound effects in the audiobook, to correspond with certain notes that appear in the printed book—it’s all thoughtfully explained at the beginning of the recording. I appreciated that the author and publisher took the time to make the audiobook succeed as a separate work on its own, and not suffer in the adaptation. I checked out the print book as well, though, to see the photos and illustrations. And to take a photo for Friday Reads, of course.  

If you’re familiar with Bamford, you already know you want to read this book. It’s almost all new material, and she even warns you when she’s about to use jokes recycled from earlier routines. (Even those recycled bits are often presented with more context, so you won’t mind.) If you’re not familiar with her, you might be surprised to find that you’ve seen her (or heard her) in a number of series and other works (check out her IMDb credits here).

Bamford M. Sure I’ll Join Your Cult : A Memoir of Mental Illness and the Quest to Belong Anywhere. First Gallery Books hardcover ed. New York: Gallery Books; 2023.

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