Sally Ousley, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by Sally Ousley)
Being a farmer's daughter, I found this book particularly entertaining - and full of hope for every American small farmer. These guys are so smart that when they realized the farm was in jeopardy, they diversified and really are making their dreams come true. Josh is a very good writer. I can picture the farm perfectly when he describes it, even those awful flies! I wish them success in their venture and look forward to updates about their farming adventures.
Oh no you don't! No sighing, sneaking past this review, and saying how good it is! Sit there and READ this.
Josh and Brent, two of the most annoying perfectionist queens Manhattan has ever sucked into its lapidary drum of the effete, are bare-naked and warty as all get-out in this hilarious, touching, brutally honest memoir by the tall one. (Josh.) And he memoirs the way it feels to be human, alive, selfish and self-absorbed and sweet and lovable better than most. He's honest about how hard it is to work like a (highly paid) slave so you can have a dream come true. Then, as so many before him have, he wonders when in the HELL he's going to have time to enjoy the said dream.
Then there's the short one. (Brent.) He isn't writing the book, so of course he doesn't get all the best lines. Just most of them. He's the alpha perfectionist of the pair...good gravy, he worked for MARTHA STEWART!...and he decides, on hearing the tall one articulate his dream to live in their fantabulously gorgeous mansionfarm full time, that He Will Make This Happen. Because he loves, so much, the tall one. The scene in the book where they have that conversation, about why they'd have to give the place up in the rancid economy of 2008, made me cry. What they wanted, what their dreams hung on, *pffft* because the rotten shits on Wall Street wanted morebiggerfatter bonuses.
Now these two aren't guiltless little cogs in the Murrikin Machine, mind. They were both in the sizzle biz, taking home oodles of the spondulix selling people an unattainable dream's unattainable health goals for old farts (the short one) and unnecessary, overpriced goods and services (the tall one). But they made so much more out of their lives...they worked hard, they deserved their success...than the standard script for rural gay boys reads.
And then they found, accidentally and because the tall one is a lousy navigator, the perfect place to turn their well-honed swordsmanship skills at these useless pursuits into the plowshares of a real, and really funny, and very satisfying life.
Their website makes me drool. (Not over them, keep your minds out of the gutter.) The farm, the recipes, the products, the involving and addictive blogs, and of course Polka Spot the llama are tremendous pleasures.
Their TV show, "The Fabulous Beekman Boys", is a gem and it's worth seeking out on Planet Green, the little bitty Discovery Networks offshoot they run on. This is "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" for the 21st century. Buy it, read it, and heavenly days, recommend it to your friends! The boys need money! Farmer John's goats don't eat air, and that hip replacement wasn't free, and the boys have aging parents who'll need to come live with them soon enough.
Think of the scuff marks. Poor short one. (Brent.)
What more can be said about THE BUCOLIC PLAGUE that has already been so well stated by all reviewers? Josh Kilmer-Purcell is not only a gifted writer, able to blend beautiful prose with microscopically descriptive situations - both of high comedy and of sensitive insight into the many facets of relationships among human beings (and humans with animals!) - but he is more. He is able to look at the world in which we live from so many vantages that this book could easily be a study of the NOW in the history of the world!
The topic of Kilmer-Purcell's memoir is one of high romance, not in the physical sense of the term (though underlying much of his writing is as fine a description of the many secrets of what makes a relationship tick), but in the Big Dream sense. As an ad executive he and his significant other, partner Brent Ridge who is a physician now part of the Martha Stewart television family, have been together for 9 years, living the life of overworked Manhattanites, but spending enough time to take annual autumn apple picking journeys outside of the city. During one of these adventures in autumn bliss they come across rundown Sharon Springs and discover Beekman Mansion, a grand old 200 year old home on a farm - in need of repair, but for sale. Of course they fall in love with the village and the mansion and the farm and decide to enhance their lives by buying the quaint bit of nostalgia. They work weekdays in the city, but spend every spare moment of the weekends to restore the farm, the gardens, the trees, the accompanying goats, and their fellow farmer John. The work is intense but exceptionally fulfilling - until an idea they share (making soap out of goat's milk) catches on, especially with Brent's connection on the Martha Stewart show. The farm and mansion become an internet sales success, but amidst the glories they have wrought by following their dreams, Josh and Brent have communication problems exacerbated by the dip in the economy and the concurrent loss of heir jobs. But as the future looks dim the light of friendship and camaraderie of their new home village overcomes a lot and they get a keener view of the value of 'things' versus 'home'.
This book is brimming over with hilarious incidents exceptionally well told by the witty and wise Josh Kilmer-Purcell: some moments with the goats, with New York Times reporters, with the zombie flies, the fellows' first observation of the birth of triplet goats, the preparations of canning, gardening, and party planning are bound to stay in the readers memory long after the book is finished. This is a dazzling bit of writing and a heart-warming story with just exactly the right balance of wit, sarcasm, and warmth that should make it appeal to everyone who's ever pondered a dream. Bravo!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Raised in rural Wisconsin, Kilmer-Purcell moved to Manhattan to work in advertising in the 1990s. In his memoir I Am Not Myself These Days, he wrote about moonlighting as a nightclub drag queen. Now he recalls how he and his partner, Dr. Brent Ridge, a Martha Stewart Omni Media v-p, became weekend farmers after purchasing the 19th-century Beekman Mansion on 60 acres near the 'hauntingly beautiful' town of Sharon Springs, N.Y. Kilmer-Purcell writes with dramatic flair and trenchant wit, uncovering mirthful metaphors as he plows through their daily experiences, meeting neighbors, signing on caretaker Farmer John, herding goats, canning tomatoes, and digging a garden, as they fix up the 205-year-old house. Cleverly contrasting ad agency life with rustic barn mucking, he must choose: 'I just can't face spending the rest of my life behind a desk selling dish soap to Middle America. Hell, I want to be Middle America.' This entertaining book gets an extra big boost from the forthcoming Beekman Farm, a Planet Green documentary TV series about the dynamic duo's eco-adventures scheduled to air this spring. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Tart and sweet, touching and laugh-out-loud funny, "The Bucolic Plague I> shows what happens when two middle-aged New Yorkers (one, an ex-drag queen) do the unthinkable: start over, have a herd of kids (the four-legged kind), and get a little dirty.
by Google Editions,
What happens when two New Yorkers (one an ex drag queen) do the unthinkable: start over, have a herd of kids, and get a little dirty?
Find out in this riotous and moving true tale of goats, mud, and a centuries-old mansion in rustic upstate New York the new memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell,
"Michael Perry meets David Sedaris in this follow-up to Josh Kilmer-Purcell's beloved and bestselling debut memoir, I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS--another riotous, moving, and entirely unique story of his attempt to tackle the next phase of life with his partner on a goat farm in upstate New York"--Provided by publisher.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.