counter The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

Michael Perry meets David Sedaris in this follow-up to Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s beloved debut memoir. 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.


Compare

Michael Perry meets David Sedaris in this follow-up to Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s beloved debut memoir. 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.

30 review for The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    What to do when you reach an age which you once considered “unhip,” when all the values with which you were raised bump up against the values of life in utterly chic Manhattan? When your life, your lifestyle, your career depend on you remaining in with the “in crowd” and relevant, and your inner-self yearning for something… more real. More Oprah. More Martha Stewart real. Thirty-nine has the thinnest remaining veneer of the potency and possibilities of youth. When Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his part What to do when you reach an age which you once considered “unhip,” when all the values with which you were raised bump up against the values of life in utterly chic Manhattan? When your life, your lifestyle, your career depend on you remaining in with the “in crowd” and relevant, and your inner-self yearning for something… more real. More Oprah. More Martha Stewart real. Thirty-nine has the thinnest remaining veneer of the potency and possibilities of youth. When Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner Brent Ridge go apple picking one spectacular fall weekend, they happen upon the small town of Sharon Springs, NY where fate steps in and the serendipitous re-routing of their return drive has them driving past the Beekman Mansion, a 19th-century mansion, with a 60-acre farm. They stop, of course. Goats, gardens, and a house in need of some advanced levels of tender loving care. Inspired and warmed by the moment they inquire, and following that, they dream. This is the story of their Oprah-inspired, Martha Stewart-fueled dream, with a sprinkling of years of sentimental memories of growing up working the land, designing and creating the perfect farm life, balanced (maybe not quite…) with their existing jobs in Manhattan. A dream that some can relate to, others not so much – but we all have our dreams, that is something we all can relate to. It was the growing realization of the half of my life that was gone that was making me so determined to enjoy the half that was left of it. It isn’t often I can say that something I read is funny – amusing, maybe, but a particularly city-boys-meet-the-country scene had me laughing, out loud even. Add some charm, sweetness, a healthy dose of eccentricity, and a dash of insights into their obsession with perfection. The problem with perfection, I realized, is that it leaves others with nothing to do but search for flaws. In the Beekman garden, which had been sorely neglected lately, guests can wander and admire the plants and occasionally pull a weed or two. I enjoyed this immensely, while there are some less-than-happy-happy moments, the overall feel of this memoir is like a walk with a good friend who occasionally tugs at your heartstrings, but leaves you giggling, happy and hopeful for a return visit. A big thank you to Victoria, who recommended this to me, and a thank you to Larry, whose review prompted Victoria to read this! Larry's review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    3+ stars. I was looking for something light and funny when I decided to listen to this one as an audio. There is much I liked about The Bucolic Plague, but much that irked me. What I liked: I like the premise of the memoir. Two gay men deeply engaged in their urban New York life find an old mansion in the country that they restore and turn into a weekend farm. Much of the book is taken up with their sometimes comical efforts to become accustomed to country life. They also make a real effort to be 3+ stars. I was looking for something light and funny when I decided to listen to this one as an audio. There is much I liked about The Bucolic Plague, but much that irked me. What I liked: I like the premise of the memoir. Two gay men deeply engaged in their urban New York life find an old mansion in the country that they restore and turn into a weekend farm. Much of the book is taken up with their sometimes comical efforts to become accustomed to country life. They also make a real effort to become members of the community, and Kilmer-Purcell writes with real affection about his neighbours. Kilmer-Purcell is generally funny and self-deprecating – in that self-confident way some self-deprecating people have. With all of these qualities, there is no doubt that the book is entertaining. What irked me: I can’t understand and didn’t appreciate why this book fetishizes Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey. Kilmer-Purcell’s partner worked for Martha Stewart during the first part of the memoir, and both of them appeared on her show to talk about the farm, and she is referred to over and over again throughout the book. Kilmer-Purcell was an audience member for the taping of one of Oprah’s shows, and he claims the experience brought him an epiphany. Ultimately, Kilmer-Purcell suggests that Martha and Oprah present opposing life views– something along the lines of perfection v. the good life -- and that he and his partner struggled over which of these views to embrace in their lives as country gentleman. I get the point but why rely so heavily on these figures of American pop culture to present this dichotomy? I found it distracting and annoying. Knowing that these two now have a reality tv show of their own, I sometimes felt that I was reading a celebratory ad for popular tv rather than an entertaining memoir about the clash between city and country living. Bottom line: Great premise, but mixed delivery. I will note that I really liked the audio version. The narrator had a perfect voice for Kilmer-Purcell, and did a good job putting on the occasional voices of other people depicted in the memoir.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4* of five 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 ab Rating: 4* of five 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.) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    3.5 Stars Three things: 1. "This book is not about living your dream it will not inspire you. You will not be emboldened to attempt anything more than making a fresh pot of coffee." Oh, good. I hadn't really planed on motivating my bum from the comfy couch while I read. (Bossy books get tossed across the room!) 2. Of course, while reading I was intrigued enough to poke online through their gorgeous website and was delighted to discover their later ties to The Amazing Race. I watched that season!!!! 3.5 Stars Three things: 1. "This book is not about living your dream it will not inspire you. You will not be emboldened to attempt anything more than making a fresh pot of coffee." Oh, good. I hadn't really planed on motivating my bum from the comfy couch while I read. (Bossy books get tossed across the room!) 2. Of course, while reading I was intrigued enough to poke online through their gorgeous website and was delighted to discover their later ties to The Amazing Race. I watched that season!!!! (Okay, truth. I watch EVERY season bc the thought of a whirlwind trip across the globe with my best friend/husband is incredibly appealing, if not exhausting). Anyhow, I hadn't made the connection. So happy for the Beekman boys. 3. This was lovely. And fun. And although I was hoping for more "bucolic" than "plague", I was rooting them on every step of the way. Really, I just want these gentlemen to be my neighbors, goats and all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    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 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.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I am soooooo in love with this book! Josh is an ex-drag queen and writer turned advertising maven, Brent is "Dr Brent" on The Martha Stewart Show. They've been together for almost 10 years and seem to thrive on the big city lifestyle despite their 700 square foot apartment--until they take a wrong turn on a drive and discover The Beekman Mansion. It's HUGE, 200 years old and in need of a whole lot of work--but they want it. Dreams of leisurely weekends away from the city as gentlemen farmers danc I am soooooo in love with this book! Josh is an ex-drag queen and writer turned advertising maven, Brent is "Dr Brent" on The Martha Stewart Show. They've been together for almost 10 years and seem to thrive on the big city lifestyle despite their 700 square foot apartment--until they take a wrong turn on a drive and discover The Beekman Mansion. It's HUGE, 200 years old and in need of a whole lot of work--but they want it. Dreams of leisurely weekends away from the city as gentlemen farmers dance merrily in their heads, so they take the plunge. Then Josh sneaks in a caretaker for the place that just happens to have a herd of goats. And, well, if they have goats now, they might as well have chickens. And a cow. And a garden. And then a bigger garden--MUCH bigger. Then a handmade Christmas project became a full on artisan soap company, and Beekman 1802 began--and grew...and grew...and grew. This is a wonderful tale of two Type A personalities taking on the bucolic life big city style, with some bonus ghosts and legions of zombie flies thrown into the mix. It's equal parts inspiring and exhausting, but you can't help but fall in love with these guys and the small town who has come to embrace them. The good news is they have a "docu-series" coming out in June 2010 on Discovery Channel's Planet Green called "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" so the laughs won't have to stop when the book cover closes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    What you need to know about me is that I love to read but reading makes me sleepy. I usually fall asleep after only a couple of pages if I read at night, so the only time I get any appreciable reading in is on my daily train commute, which is really only 15 minutes each way. And I'm a slow reader. It's a testament to the quality of this book that I read it in only a couple of days, and that I stayed up late -- hours beyond when I went to bed, even -- to keep reading it. This book broke the sopor What you need to know about me is that I love to read but reading makes me sleepy. I usually fall asleep after only a couple of pages if I read at night, so the only time I get any appreciable reading in is on my daily train commute, which is really only 15 minutes each way. And I'm a slow reader. It's a testament to the quality of this book that I read it in only a couple of days, and that I stayed up late -- hours beyond when I went to bed, even -- to keep reading it. This book broke the soporific spell that reading usually casts on me. I visited a friend recently and was talking to her about gardening. She asked if I'd read Kilmer-Purcell's first memoir and I reminded her that we'd gone to his launch party together (I was over the moon about I Am Not Myself These Days). Even more than I love drag queens, I love homesteading, so she pushed an advanced copy of this book into my hands and sent me on my way. Oh, thank heavens. He had me at shit-covered baby goats (er, kids). This book is not just about the foibles of two gentlemen farmers learning to live off the land, or the big personalities in a small town, or Martha Stewart (gasp! My queen!), or the evolution of a relationship, or the economic crisis, or pursuing a dream you didn't even know you had. It's about all those things AND it's funny as hell. Go get this damn book as soon as it comes out.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I had read Josh Kilmer Purcell's memoir and enjoyed it and his novel is in my TBR pile so when I saw this book at an op shop I grabbed it with glee. Josh and his partner Brent are high flying New Yorkers who stumble across an empty mansion on one of their weekend trips to the country. They immediately plan on purchasing the property and making the surrounding farmland prosperous. This book tells the story of their first few years at Beekman House raising heirloom vegetables, goats and entertaini I had read Josh Kilmer Purcell's memoir and enjoyed it and his novel is in my TBR pile so when I saw this book at an op shop I grabbed it with glee. Josh and his partner Brent are high flying New Yorkers who stumble across an empty mansion on one of their weekend trips to the country. They immediately plan on purchasing the property and making the surrounding farmland prosperous. This book tells the story of their first few years at Beekman House raising heirloom vegetables, goats and entertaining friends and locals. What I loved about this book was the even tempered delivery of the story. Despite some pitfalls of nature, the economy and their early errors Josh and Brent never show signs of self pity or defeat. Their determination and enthusiasm shine through. Beekman has gone on to produce two seasons of reality TV, a number of books and a huge lifestyle website with products from the farm like goats milk soap. I loved this book!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    [image error]

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elisa Rolle

    As soon as I read about The Fabulous Beekman Boys on a friend blog, I so much wanted to see the reality. But here in Italy it was on a cable network and it was a little expensive to pay for a year subscription just to see 10 30 minutes passages. So I set down to buy the DVD as soon as it was available… just to discover they didn’t deliver it in Italy (actually in Europe) since it was available only for US. I even tried to buy it on streaming when I was in Mexico, and no, actually it’s not even a As soon as I read about The Fabulous Beekman Boys on a friend blog, I so much wanted to see the reality. But here in Italy it was on a cable network and it was a little expensive to pay for a year subscription just to see 10 30 minutes passages. So I set down to buy the DVD as soon as it was available… just to discover they didn’t deliver it in Italy (actually in Europe) since it was available only for US. I even tried to buy it on streaming when I was in Mexico, and no, actually it’s not even allow in South America… I was starting to resign myself to wait for October, my planned visit to NYC, when last night, I discover an economic format of the DVD (not the 2 disc edition I was moping on) that was available for Europe and of course I bought it immediately (should arrive soon). And since I was there, I went to my wish list and was almost buying the paperback version of The Bucolic Plague when I noticed it was available on Kindle! Yes, instant gratification, what is better in life? Just to not sound as a complete idiot, I should probably explain why I’m so fascinated with this venture of Beekman 1802. I actually tried myself to realize my run from stressful job life change dream, but with no success; my little venture, the first coffee-bookstore open 7.00 a.m. to 2.00 a.m with wireless internet, bistro kitchen in medieval Italian historic centre on its first year of life was featured on the 2 most important travel magazine in Italy, was the subject of a bachelor degree thesis in finance as innovative business and hosted a national television channel showtime for one day… to close after 2 year due to the fact that, in the end, it was not enough to maintain itself and the people working for it. So yes, I’m vicariously enjoying Brent and Josh’s success and I wish them all the good in the world, and I’m here cheering for them and their goats, and Farmer John, and Doug and Gareth from The American Hotel, and Sharon Springs and Bubby the bionic cat and everyone in this story. Yes, I’m still eagerly waiting for the DVD to arrive, but I think that now I will see it in a different way; since, from the outside, everything seemed perfect on that mansion, the pictures were wonderful, the recipes just out of an historical cook book, the dream even too easy to realize. I was thinking, lucky them, they are living an American dream (do you know that here in Italy, when someone realizes the dream of their life, we say it’s an “American Dream”?), and I’m happy, but also a little envious of them. Then reading the book, I understood that it was not so easy, that they, like many other before them, not only risked their future, but also their relationship. The story has an happily ever after, but it’s a “barely” stretched one, and in a way, it’s not even so sure the dream will survive its third year of life. True, the story closes before the reality showing them was aired, and now it’s at its third season, so maybe, in the end, they managed to survive third and fourth year and they are leading towards always greener pasture… again I wish them all the best. Coming back to the story, even if this is not a fiction book, but more a memoir, the writing style is really easy and flowing, and sincerely it reads without any stopping like many of the romances I love, only that this is real life. There is even a funny story behind this dichotomy between real life and fictional story: way before I heard about the Beekman Boys, I included Josh Kilmer-Purcell on my Top Book of XXI century with his memoir I’m Not Myself These Days. I still remember some years ago going to his website and looking at the pictures of his life as Drag Queen and thinking, well, what an interesting man. It was 2006 and Beekman Mansion was, I believe, not in the picture (pun intended). Years later, browsing another website (www.beekman1802.com) I firstly didn’t recognize the co-owner of the mansion like the memoirist that so much fascinated me. But if you will decide to read the book, there is a lot of him in this story (of course, it’s real life!) and in a way, you could read this book as a sequel of I’m Not Myself These Days, just to know what happened to that Drag Queen… it’s an happily ever after story (at least until now!). http://www.amazon.com/dp/0061997838/?...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    One Sunday afternoon in the fall, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his longtime partner, Brent Ridge, were headed back to their NYC apartment after a weekend of apple picking in upstate New York, when they stumbled upon the little town of Sharon Springs. It was there they found their dream home, the 19th-century Beekman Mansion, which came complete with a 60-acre farm. After investing most of their savings, they had to face the challenge of balancing their busy careers during the week (Josh was an ad exe One Sunday afternoon in the fall, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his longtime partner, Brent Ridge, were headed back to their NYC apartment after a weekend of apple picking in upstate New York, when they stumbled upon the little town of Sharon Springs. It was there they found their dream home, the 19th-century Beekman Mansion, which came complete with a 60-acre farm. After investing most of their savings, they had to face the challenge of balancing their busy careers during the week (Josh was an ad exec and Brent was a VP for Martha Stewart Living) and handling farm-related duties on the weekends. But they dreamt of finding a way to quit their day jobs and have the farm sustain itself. The Bucolic Plague is a humorous account of Josh and Brent's struggles to make a 60-acre farm thrive, but it is also the story of how to make a relationship endure a life-changing event when you're two completely different people. Sure, there's definitely some fish-out-of-water-type humor about two non-outdoorsy guys making a go at farming, but at its heart, this is a book about trying to follow your dreams even as everything is going wrong around you. And this book is the basis for a new television series, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, which starts June 16 on the Planet Green network. I am a big fan of Josh Kilmer-Purcell's writing. His memoir, I Am Not Myself These Days, an account of his days as an ad exec by day, alcoholic drug queen named Aqua at night, remains one of my favorite books. I found this book funny, poignant and tremendously enjoyable, and I have absolutely no desire to ever live on a farm. Give it a shot.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elinor

    I enjoyed this book immensely, because of the theme of moving to the country and building a business. But it wouldn't have been so engaging were it not for the author's witty writing style and intelligent insights into people and society. One thing that struck me particularly was the difference between how the recession was perceived in New York (complete disaster) and the town of Sharon Springs, just three hours away (barely a ripple). And I loved all the descriptions of farming, gardening and I enjoyed this book immensely, because of the theme of moving to the country and building a business. But it wouldn't have been so engaging were it not for the author's witty writing style and intelligent insights into people and society. One thing that struck me particularly was the difference between how the recession was perceived in New York (complete disaster) and the town of Sharon Springs, just three hours away (barely a ripple). And I loved all the descriptions of farming, gardening and cooking. This isn't great literature, but I'm giving it five stars for readability.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marieke

    Goodreads asks, "what did you think?" well, i think this book is a cautionary tale directed at me. do i really want to use my grandparent's land in new england to establish an alpaca farm? maybe i just do... Goodreads asks, "what did you think?" well, i think this book is a cautionary tale directed at me. do i really want to use my grandparent's land in new england to establish an alpaca farm? maybe i just do...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tattered Cover Book Store

    Jackie says: I am soooooo in love with this book! Josh is an ex-drag queen and writer turned advertising maven, Brent is "Dr Brent" on The Martha Stewart Show. They've been together for almost 10 years and seem to thrive on the big city lifestyle despite their 700 square foot apartment--until they take a wrong turn on a drive and discover The Beekman Mansion. It's HUGE, 200 years old and in need of a whole lot of work--but they want it. Dreams of leisurely weekends away from the city as gentlemen Jackie says: I am soooooo in love with this book! Josh is an ex-drag queen and writer turned advertising maven, Brent is "Dr Brent" on The Martha Stewart Show. They've been together for almost 10 years and seem to thrive on the big city lifestyle despite their 700 square foot apartment--until they take a wrong turn on a drive and discover The Beekman Mansion. It's HUGE, 200 years old and in need of a whole lot of work--but they want it. Dreams of leisurely weekends away from the city as gentlemen farmers dance merrily in their heads, so they take the plunge. Then Josh sneaks in a caretaker for the place that just happens to have a herd of goats. And, well, if they have goats now, they might as well have chickens. And a cow. And a garden. And then a bigger garden--MUCH bigger. Then a handmade Christmas project became a full on artisan soap company, and Beekman 1802 began--and grew...and grew...and grew. This is a wonderful tale of two Type A personalities taking on the bucolic life big city style, with some bonus ghosts and legions of zombie flies thrown into the mix. It's equal parts inspiring and exhausting, but you can't help but fall in love with these guys and the small town who has come to embrace them. The good news is they have a "docu-series" coming out in June 2010 on Discovery Channel's Planet Green called "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" so the laughs won't have to stop when the book cover closes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    2.5/5 One of the most surprising things I've learned about myself as the years progress is how much I enjoy food and (parts of) its surrounding culture. I'd catch the odd episode of The Great British Baking Show in my younger days, but it wasn't until I moved out and became fully responsible for what was on my plate that I truly dove into exploring my own abilities in the kitchen and watching some of the more sensational displays of the culinary arts during my downtime. After a few years now of p 2.5/5 One of the most surprising things I've learned about myself as the years progress is how much I enjoy food and (parts of) its surrounding culture. I'd catch the odd episode of The Great British Baking Show in my younger days, but it wasn't until I moved out and became fully responsible for what was on my plate that I truly dove into exploring my own abilities in the kitchen and watching some of the more sensational displays of the culinary arts during my downtime. After a few years now of picking through bell peppers and watching everything from taco documentaries to the most expansive barbeque competition I've ever seen, I've also developed an appreciation for the whole food sources thing, although I'm much more concerned about invasive colonial species, copyrighted seeds, and countries that squeeze every last drop of palatable cuisine from immigrant populations that they then turn around on and use for target practice than I am about "organic" or "veganism" or whatnot. So, it may have taken me nine years to get around to this work, but I thought that I had developed an even better appreciation for what the contents, and not just because I had also figured out my own queer self during that time. However, what hadn't changed in nearly a decade was my own distrust for the entire pie in the sky conglomerate that the author spent his entire memoir in cause, surprise surprise, the having done drag bit that he insisted on bringing up whenever there was the slightest hint of it being useful really doesn't make the community that brought on the 2008 US recession and then cried about and/or got away with in any way relatable. Since the book was a lot more of that and a lot less of beautifully described varieties of rare and unique heirloom vegetables and other farmyard associated topics, the reading laid out accordingly, and that's just how it is sometimes. The first section of this work had baby goats, Martha Stewart, bad husbandry, New York City, and a couple of gay dudes trying their best. By the last section, the story included cluster flies, unemployment, at least two other gay couples in the small former tourist town of Sharon Springs, the 2008 recession, the use of the r-slur, the use of 'autistic' to describe a stoic neurotypical, a lovely record on the trials and tribulations of farming in both the animal and produce sense of the word, and a full blown return to sucking on the teat of an artificial economy that would have gladly seen Beekman Mansion burn if it meant an increase in the local real estate. I know all about both the joys of nature, the fascination for the progression of history, and how much human relationships can suck, but if it all gets drowned in the author's constant attempts to portray his life as a rags to riches story, things get dull real quick. So, despite my best efforts to latch onto many things I knew I was a sucker for (history, Christmas, non-mass produced culinary efforts) and things I did not (certain breeds of small town community, gossipy details about certain corporate moguls), the tail end of this memoir just got really pathetic. A side effect of someone moaning over a recession while I'm in my eighth month of quarantine during the worst surge in infection rates that I've ever seen in my area? Perhaps. Still, feeling sorry for the Wall Street that brought all this upon itself? Nah. Perhaps I should have taken it as a sign that no one else in my GR friends list has added this work, but if I made that standard practice for everything I read, I wouldn't get anything done. In any case, this became my resident easy read for a time, a role that I really can't complain too much about during times like these. The portions of it that were actually about growing food were very nice indeed, and I'd like to read more about those wonderfully intriguing breed of tomato, carrot, and whatever else grows in the land around me that was consciously suppressed pre-2000 and is now marketed for $30+ a pound to the young and upcoming neo-colonizers of this settler state. As can well be seen, I have difficulty escaping the cynicism in and around me, and my exploration of food and what goes in it as been an engaging mainstay that I've grown to realize needs cultivation if I don't want to sink eternally into the superficial yet devastating abyss of the modern day. This didn't do it, but I (hopefully) have a semi return to the golden days of my book sales ahead of me this Saturday, and if nothing gets canceled, I'll have an opportunity to browse for something more fitting. I don't mind non-farm things in my farm memoirs, but something a bit less nauseatingly blinkered by the white mid to upper class lifestyle, queer or no queer, would be nice.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Whitaker

    I enjoyed this story about the gay couple that could. This statement is not intended as snark or condescension.It's an acknowledgement that the story hit all the mandated set markers in a feel-good memoir and hit them very well. But I was prompted into posting a thought about this because this is the only memoir that I've read that begins like this: The author reminds you that there are plenty of other memoirs out there written by courageous souls who have broken with their past ... and have suc I enjoyed this story about the gay couple that could. This statement is not intended as snark or condescension.It's an acknowledgement that the story hit all the mandated set markers in a feel-good memoir and hit them very well. But I was prompted into posting a thought about this because this is the only memoir that I've read that begins like this: The author reminds you that there are plenty of other memoirs out there written by courageous souls who have broken with their past ... and have successfully achieved goals... The author notes that those memoirs are generally full of more shit than a barn at the end of a long winter. And ends like this [Brent] is launching into the approved biography. It's not that there are conflicting stories, but the truth is that there is no one answer. There is no one story about anything that happens in the world. This is what people forget when they read nonfiction essays, journalism, or memoirs. ... Most readers will never know more about us that what they read in [the New York Times] article, nor will they want to know more. They will all finish reading the last word thinking that they've read the whole, true story of us and the Beekman. He has a very laugh-out-loud (quite literally, in my case) story of how he brought kids (baby goats) to appear on the Martha Stewart Living show and how after that orders for their goat milk soap began pouring in. He then mentions that they had to immediately start packing up the soap to fulfill their orders. What he does not tell us is all the hard work of organisation and administration that had to have happened in order to get to that point: sourcing wholesale molds and materials for the soap bars at a economical price, taking delivery of those items, making hundreds of soap bars, designing the cover for the soap bars, finding a professional printer to print the covers for the soap bars, wrapping the soap bars, finding a law firm, incorporating a corporate vehicle, registering the trade mark for the brand, setting up a website, hiring professional photographers, taking pictures of the soap bars for the website... zzzzzzzzz Cause if he had written about all that, the memoir would have been a snooze fest. Nope. He just tells the story about how he overfed the kids and they pooped all over themselves with non-stop diarrhea just before the taping of the show. Any memoir of course must necessarily edit and embellish if it's not going to send readers to sleep. But I've not read one that so directly makes the point of its own necessary artifice a part of the narrative. I enjoyed this story. It entertained me in the best "sparkly and seductive" way that this ex-advertising executive and drag queen knows how. So while I will never know the "whole, true" story of their lives, I for one was very glad to have read their story (emphasis on story) and to note that their Beekman 1802 brand seems to still be going strong in 2019, 10 years or so after it launched.

  17. 4 out of 5

    K.Z. Snow

    Toward the end of this book, the author writes: "There is no one story about anything that happens in the world. ... Every second of every day, our heads are filled with millions of conflicting emotions and decisions. Compiled over a lifetime -- or even a single day, for that matter -- it's impossible to have a truthful, accurate, and concise record of anything we do." There's only one part of this assertion I don't agree with. What I love about Kilmer-Purcell's memoirs (which are more "autobioby Toward the end of this book, the author writes: "There is no one story about anything that happens in the world. ... Every second of every day, our heads are filled with millions of conflicting emotions and decisions. Compiled over a lifetime -- or even a single day, for that matter -- it's impossible to have a truthful, accurate, and concise record of anything we do." There's only one part of this assertion I don't agree with. What I love about Kilmer-Purcell's memoirs (which are more "autobiobytes," because they're one- or two-year records of turning points in his life) is that he manages to be essentially truthful in spite of of the vagaries of recollection or the demands of self-promotion. No doubt the events, conversations, and thoughts/feelings recounted in The Bucolic Plague have been filtered, shaped, rearranged, embellished, and/or diluted -- just as they were in I Am Not Myself These Days. But that doesn't matter. Facts are only the framework of a memoir. Candor is what gives it heart. Whether JKP is being snarky or sentimental or the consummate salesman, he's always candid -- even, I think, when he doesn't realize it. Some of us are just wired to give ourselves away. I get the feeling JKP is pretty much resigned to this aspect of his nature. That resignation, too, is what makes his memoirs so engaging, and probably accounts for their biting, often self-deprecating humor. I sure hope there will be more.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    After finishing “I Am Not Myself These Days,” I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Josh’s follow-up, a book that brings him from dancing with fish in his “tits” to kanoodling with goats in a barn. How did two Manhattanites become gentlemen farmers, indeed? Would they be able to make the transition? Would the change better help them realize who they are as human beings? As a couple? Would they, as a couple, even survive the change? And, what would Martha (yes, THAT Martha!) think? These and many ot After finishing “I Am Not Myself These Days,” I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Josh’s follow-up, a book that brings him from dancing with fish in his “tits” to kanoodling with goats in a barn. How did two Manhattanites become gentlemen farmers, indeed? Would they be able to make the transition? Would the change better help them realize who they are as human beings? As a couple? Would they, as a couple, even survive the change? And, what would Martha (yes, THAT Martha!) think? These and many other questions are at the heart of Josh’s new book, “The Bucolic Plague.” The strength of the book is, quite simply, that in reading it, you feel like you’re spending time with a friend. Halfway through the book, I just wanted to get into my car, drive to the Beekman, pick up a shovel, and talk with Josh, Brent, and Framer John as we did one of the many chores on the manor's "To Do" list. Let me say, I’ve NEVER had an impulse to do farm work. Or gardening. Or, truth be told, chores. Josh certainly doesn’t make it sound easy, but I truly wanted to be a part of it, to be a part of his world, to talk to him about his relationship, to talk to him about MY relationship. That’s the beauty and charm of this book – you feel like you are part of someone else’s world and you are grateful/excited to be a part of it. "Plague" is a lovely, funny, touching book about two men who are trying to navigate the complex terrain of their relationship while simultaneously trying to create a balanced, rewarding life in a new and challenging physical landscape.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Very NYC. Clever but superficial. Exasperating. Did these boys ever take a deep breath and sit down and discuss what was going on and which path they would be wisest to take? Nonetheless, they are, of course, adorable. The book almost makes me want to order some soap from them. Pretty slick marketing, there, kiddo. But too much Martha, too. I really don't want to read about her as metaphor for an approach to life, one that diverges with Oprah's, that kind of thing. There are some of us who don't Very NYC. Clever but superficial. Exasperating. Did these boys ever take a deep breath and sit down and discuss what was going on and which path they would be wisest to take? Nonetheless, they are, of course, adorable. The book almost makes me want to order some soap from them. Pretty slick marketing, there, kiddo. But too much Martha, too. I really don't want to read about her as metaphor for an approach to life, one that diverges with Oprah's, that kind of thing. There are some of us who don't give a swat for either, you know. Like some of your ex-neighbors, back in Wisconsin, maybe, Josh. (And I know it's trivial, and I'm surely confessing a prejudice of some sort, but it seems to me that the tall one looks more like Brent is presented to be, and vice-versa.) I'm having trouble rating it. I never thought of putting it down, and got through it fast: it was engaging. Did I learn anything; do I feel enlightened; will I remember it? No. Do I recommend it? I dunno. I'd give it two stars. My mom expressed that she loved it (4?). So, fine, 3 it is.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nic

    Loved it! Listened to the audio book and it was a perfect follow up to Josh's first story of his drag days. He has a fabulous way of telling the story of his life. The first book was funny and sad and heartbreaking. This one takes ordinary activities - well, as ordinary as you can be doing such things as beheading a turkey - and adds a wonderful spin. I've been left with a desire to move to the country (lucky I'm already doing that LOL) and a desire to visit the Beekman Mansion to pull some weed Loved it! Listened to the audio book and it was a perfect follow up to Josh's first story of his drag days. He has a fabulous way of telling the story of his life. The first book was funny and sad and heartbreaking. This one takes ordinary activities - well, as ordinary as you can be doing such things as beheading a turkey - and adds a wonderful spin. I've been left with a desire to move to the country (lucky I'm already doing that LOL) and a desire to visit the Beekman Mansion to pull some weeds from the veggie garden.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    4.25 stars. First, I have to say PICTURES, PEOPLE!!!! If you’re going to write a memoir, include some freaking pictures of the places and people you’re talking about!!!! There are two reasons I put off reading this book. First, I figured, despite the fact that they moved to a rural setting, there’d probably be a lot of “New York City’s #1!” foam finger waving. Second, I knew some poor animal would eventually get slaughtered and, being a vegan, I’d get pissed off while reading about it. Both things 4.25 stars. First, I have to say PICTURES, PEOPLE!!!! If you’re going to write a memoir, include some freaking pictures of the places and people you’re talking about!!!! There are two reasons I put off reading this book. First, I figured, despite the fact that they moved to a rural setting, there’d probably be a lot of “New York City’s #1!” foam finger waving. Second, I knew some poor animal would eventually get slaughtered and, being a vegan, I’d get pissed off while reading about it. Both things did happen, the first, to a much lesser extent, thankfully, than I thought, but I really enjoyed this book. I’ll get into the second concern in a bit. At the start of the book, Josh and his partner of ten years, Brent Ridge are city dwellers who are very successful in their careers as an ad exec (Josh) and a former practicing doctor and the current resident health and wellness expert for Martha Stewart (Brent). However, they both long to break away from their stressful jobs and while returning from an apple picking trip in upstate New York, they happen upon the deserted Beekman Mansion, deciding on impulse to buy the place as a weekend getaway. It was very funny to read about these rurally raised but now entrenched urbanites’ purchase of a mansion hours outside of New York City in Sharon Springs, New York. You could really sympathize with all of the trials and tribulations they went through, despite the fact that they were ridiculously accomplished and successful, have more money than the majority of people will ever see and were able to fulfill their dreams, though it took them a while and a lot of hard work, on a whim. I really admired their attempt not only to better their lives but to bring back a gorgeous, long-empty mansion back from the dead (or at least saving it from purgatory) and to bring the long-fallow farm back to life (well, the garden part, anyway). Along the way, they also hoped that if their venture was successful, it would go a long way to revitalizing the town of Sharon Springs and bring much needed income to their friends and neighbors. I think aside from Josh and Brent, my favorite people were Doug and Garth. They seem like great guys with amazing senses off humor, particularly Doug, with his barbed back and forth banter with Josh. And while Josh was complimentary towards Martha Stewart, everything he wrote about her, as seemingly nice as he was trying to be, just confirmed everything I’ve ever thought about her, which isn’t seemingly nice at all. **MAJOR SOAPBOX ALERT!!** So, being an ethical vegan, I’m going to talk about the parts of the book that I knew would piss me off, so if you’re an omnivore who could give two shits about animals, just skip this section. When the author starts waxing philosophical about how the animals were happy blah blah blah, it really doesn’t matter because it all ends the same, the animal ends up dead well before its time. And female cows really don’t rule anything. They’re forced to be continually pregnant, usually meddled with so that they produce far more milk than normal, though, apparently not in this case, and the males are either tossed aside or used for veal. I also read somewhere that the lifespan of a milk cow is around seven to nine years, possibly less, because after a while their production falls off, though if they would live to their late teens or somewhere in their twenties without human intervention. And regarding the Thanksgiving scene with the wishbone, I’m pretty fucking sure the turkey didn’t win. And I would say don’t get me started on Cow, but it’s too late for that. Josh writing that he won’t get overly sentimental (uh, I think you have to be slightly sentimental before you can get overly sentimental and he wasn’t anywhere near either emotion) about killing and eating their cow because it would be an insult to both of them because they did their jobs as responsible and humane farmers and he did his job as a responsible and healthy farm animal and that at the end of the season it’s still a primarily professional relationship they have with the animals, despite their closeness, made me laugh. And not in a ha, ha, that’s so funny way. I love how people rationalize the killing of animals. First, I’m not sure the animals would see it as professional relationship, since they don’t really have a say in the matter and I’m sick and tired of people saying something’s humane when the end result is an electric rod shoved up an animals ass to bring its life to an early end. I wonder if humans would feel the same way if it were them. Yeah, we cut his head off when he turned twenty-five, but until that time, he lived in huge house and didn’t want for anything, though we never let him leave the house and yeah, he ended up dead well before his time. But we were humane! It really pisses me off how the human race acts like everything was put here to serve us because, here comes the second foam finger I despise, we’re #1. Until of course we fuck up royally, then it’s all, I’m only human!!!!. **SOAPBOX RANT OVER** Though the above is a major issue for me, discussions of killing the farm animals didn’t take up too much of the book and, as I said before, the rest of it I really enjoyed and I found the description of the different vegetables and the creation of their gardens to be very interesting, particularly since they did so much of it themselves (of course, with a lot of help particularly with the maintenance from John). Obviously, their previous careers had a lot to do with their ability to successfully craft the Beekman 1802 brand, but we still get to see that, despite their advantages, they put a lot of time, money and hard work into making their dreams a reality. One thing that had me going, Christ, enough already! was Josh’s obsession with approaching forty. The way he talked about it, you’d think he had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. It got to be a bit annoying and eventually depressing whenever he brought it up, which wasn’t all the time, but I could’ve done without so much of it. I understand that he was trying to make a point about coming full circle and finding out what’s important to you and doing what you can to make yourself and those in your life happy, but it got to be a bit fatalistic at times. As I said, this is a small part of the book and most of it is filled with Josh’s funny retellings of stories and sarcastic wit. I have to say, the prologue to this book may be one of the funniest things I’ve ever read, I laughed out loud many times as I read it and at one point was doubled over, much to my co-workers' amusement. Between Wade Rouse and Kilmer-Purcell, I’ve got my resignation half written. Actually, my dream is to use a post-it. While it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows for Josh and Brent, they did try and eventually succeed (no spoiler here since we’ve all heard about the Fabulous Beekman Boys TV show and a quick trip to their Web site will show you the farm’s still up and running, seemingly rather successfully) at doing something that makes them happy, something I’m sure all of us wish we could attempt to do, even if we fail.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark Hiser

    Like many gay persons who internalized homophobia, I felt like an outsider who could never be good enough. So, to try to win acceptance and avoid rejection, I developed OCD and became a perfectionist. I thought that if I could do everything perfectly I would “measure up.” When I moved to my first apartment after graduating from college, I vacuumed and dusted the entire townhome three times a week, cleaned the oven every Saturday, and took all my hundreds of books off the bookcases once each month Like many gay persons who internalized homophobia, I felt like an outsider who could never be good enough. So, to try to win acceptance and avoid rejection, I developed OCD and became a perfectionist. I thought that if I could do everything perfectly I would “measure up.” When I moved to my first apartment after graduating from college, I vacuumed and dusted the entire townhome three times a week, cleaned the oven every Saturday, and took all my hundreds of books off the bookcases once each month so I could better dust and polish the shelves. I arranged those books on my bookcases in alphabetical order and created a catalogue of them. I arranged phonographs by type of music then alphabetized by composer. I placed cans in the pantry with labels facing out and the oldest items in front of all other canned goods. I made sure I had stacks of essays graded and returned within 48 hours. Everything had to be perfect. I made sure I left for work an hour early so I would not be late if traffic was bad; I had a fifteen-minute drive. If I was not perfect, then I deserved being shunned and found wanting. A friend often pointed out my drive for order and perfection in everything I did. I ignored what he said until one evening he moved a vase I had placed in the exact center of the table (I had measured to find the center) and put a potato chip in its place. He bet me a movie-night-out and dinner that I could not let that potato chip sit there for three days and the vase remain off center. Those seemed like the longest three days of my life. I could not allow imperfection. I could not open the door to the rejection I felt sure to come if I did not maintain a perfectly clean apartment, my 3.9 GPA, an empty “in-box” on my desk, a porch I swept twice daily, and an oven without a speck of food residue. I lost the bet, but during those three days I began to understand that the drive for perfection is stressful and often a reaction to fear, and that it affects those persons around me. The Bucolic Plague is the memoir of Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner (now husband) Brent Ridge who one day in 2007 while picking apples in upstate New York happen upon a 19th century farm, the Beekman, located in in the forgotten village of Sharon Springs. After seeing the old mansion, the two men who had been together for seven years, immediately decide to buy it. Both men had lived in rural areas when they were children, but it had been many years since either had worked the soil. Josh who had once been a drag queen was now an advertising executive in New York City, while Brent who was a former doctor with an MBA now works as Vice President of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Originally intending to make the place their weekend get-away, Josh realizes after attending the taping of an Oprah show, that he would eventually like to live in the Beekman full time and create a simpler and greener life. He wants a life of fun and authentic experiences rather than one filled with creating feelings of inadequacy and want in the buying public. Knowing that small farms across America are failing, the men realize they must create some other way to keep the property if they hope to live there full-time. Hence, they launch the Beekman 1802 company to make and sell the Beekman line of foods and other goods sourced from the property and neighboring village. Brent, who is much like his boss, Martha Stewart, feels driven to do all things perfectly. He, therefore, works hard to create the perfect farm and business that would support full time life on the property. The men often go without sleep as they work full-time jobs in New York City while trying to create a full-time business three hours away from the city. Soon they find themselves arguing often and even going days without speaking to or seeing one another. When both men lose their jobs during the 2008 crash, the already growing strain in their relationship becomes far greater. When I began reading The Bucolic Plague, I expected it to be a light and fun book about two New York City men who leave the hustle and bustle to live on a farm. There are many books in this tradition and I expected this to be just one more. I was correct in my assumption that this is an often-humorous book about two “city-slickers” in the country, but by the second part of the memoir, I understood it had become something more profound. It was a study of two contemporary American narratives: the Martha Stewart World of Perfection, and the Oprah Winfrey Live-Your-Own-Best-Life World. But somehow the Beekman had brought out the worst traits in both of us, which were also the very same traits we once respected and admired each other for. His drive and perfectionism. My love of a good time and true experiences. In short, he was Martha. And I was Oprah. It was the growing realization of the half of my life that was gone that was making me so determined to enjoy the half that was left of it. Neither the Martha nor the Oprah world are attainable for most people. In fact, both narratives can cause great harm. As the two men face losing each other and the Beekman, they come to understand that “Oprah World is just as false and shiny as Martha World” and that “Martha isn’t about achieving perfection—God knows she hasn’t. It’s about going back time after time trying to get there. It’s about graciously, meticulously, fabulously hosting that last-chance New York Times reporter houseguest even when all you want to do is lie on a zombie fly–littered bed, read gossip magazines, and die” ad that “Oprah’s call to live your Best Life isn’t as simple as it seems. Your Best Life isn’t necessarily your favorite life or the one you selfishly want. It’s simply the life you’re best at.” Most of all, however, the two men learn to “never forget to say ‘I love you’ before walking out the door. Because if you start forgetting to say ‘I love you’ before you walk out a door, it’s too easy to forget that you do. With all your heart.” This is a fast book to read, one that is fun, but is also a story of perfectionism and what makes a “Best Life.” Ultimately, it is a story of dreams, reality, love of place and spouse, and commitment. I recommend it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I had this book in my library and, without reading it myself, lent it to a family member to help her through a difficult surgery. She never returned it, but when I read Dawn Rennert’s review of her pilgrimage to Sharon Springs on her blog She is Too Fond of Books, I went to get it back that very day. I'm so glad I did. It would have been perfect for the sick family member, had she read it, but she didn't and I did. It was perfect for me, too. What a wonderful, funny, painful, knowing memoir of I had this book in my library and, without reading it myself, lent it to a family member to help her through a difficult surgery. She never returned it, but when I read Dawn Rennert’s review of her pilgrimage to Sharon Springs on her blog She is Too Fond of Books, I went to get it back that very day. I'm so glad I did. It would have been perfect for the sick family member, had she read it, but she didn't and I did. It was perfect for me, too. What a wonderful, funny, painful, knowing memoir of a pair of busy city executives finding a “weekend retreat” in upstate New York (Sharon Springs) that turns into a full-time job and lifestyle change. Not ordinary executives, not an ordinary town…and not an ordinary house. By now, many of you will have heard already of the Beekman Boys on Planet Green’s Reality TV show, but I hadn’t until now. The truth is that this memoir is so hilarious and yet so real, in a you-and-me-and-a-drag-queen sort of way, that I couldn’t put the darn thing down. It is a lovely fairy tale about the wonders of country living. I’ve been guilty of dreams of domestic bliss and the homemade life more than once myself, but these guys do it bigger and better than I would or could. It’s no wonder the town embraced them and their 88 goats. Without a doubt, highlights of the story include a Martha Stewart Peony Party at her homestead near New York City, the fare reduction ad campaign that was created in less than five minutes, and the first time a crew went to the Beekman house to shoot a reality show. Now there really is a TV show, but it was not at all obvious that this would be the case when the idea was first explored:"At some point during the morning, I realized that the most exciting moment of our potential reality show would be the copyright notice in the credits. To compensate, I came to the conclusion that if I ran everywhere—physically moved my body faster—the film might seem more engaging. I galloped out the end of the drive to get the mail. I trotted to the garage to grab a trowel…For even more” sizzle,” instead of simply leading the goats out to graze as we usually did, I raced out in front of them, hollering an improvisational goat call that made me sound like a yodeling hillbilly. I turned back toward the barn and saw that the goats had stayed back, huddled together in fear in the barn doorway. They obviously preferred to skip dinner rather than get too close to the retarded scarecrow suffering a grand mal seizure.” Do yourselves a favor and don’t wait for major surgery to take the chance to read this book. It’s funny, heartwarming, recognizable, and real. You’ll be glad there are folks like this around, and you’ll wish they lived nearby.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    In The Bucolic Plauge, Josh Kilmer-Purcell's latest memoir, he and his partner impulsively buy a farm in Sharon Springs, New York. Hilarity ensues. I'm tempted to just finish my review right there, but I guess I should say more. Okay, so Josh Kilmer-Purcell wrote the book called I Am Not Myself These Days about his life as an alcoholic drag queen with a drug addicted male escort of a boyfriend. It still stands as one of my favorite books. I am pleased that he returned to memoir style writing afte In The Bucolic Plauge, Josh Kilmer-Purcell's latest memoir, he and his partner impulsively buy a farm in Sharon Springs, New York. Hilarity ensues. I'm tempted to just finish my review right there, but I guess I should say more. Okay, so Josh Kilmer-Purcell wrote the book called I Am Not Myself These Days about his life as an alcoholic drag queen with a drug addicted male escort of a boyfriend. It still stands as one of my favorite books. I am pleased that he returned to memoir style writing after a brief forte into fiction writing with Candy Everybody Wants. Like I said, Josh and his partner Brent buy a farm. It's clear that they did not think the idea through because they have a really hard time getting the farm up and running. Not only that, but they must make the farm profitable if they want to keep it. Their solution, raise goats and grow tomato! Overall I really liked the book and managed to read it over the course of a couple days. As I read it I liked the tension that builds as you wonder if they're going to be able to pull this off and keep the farm. It has many ups and downs. It wasn't all goats and giggles. There are parts that are not comical at all such as the deterioration of Josh and Brent's relationship due to the pressure of running a farm. I started wondering if the farm was going to cause the end of their relationship. I enjoyed reading this book and found it to be a very touching story about two gays guys who buy a farm and the troubles that come with it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liz L.

    As I live less than an hour from Sharon Springs, I've been to the Beekman 1802 Mercantile a few times and have had the pleasure of meeting both Josh and Brent in the store. They're both really lovely, friendly people who are happy to chat away with you. I read the Bucolic Plague because I wanted to learn more about how they ended up in Sharon Springs and became "Gentlemen Farmers." The memoir is wisely divided into three books. The first book telling how they found their way to Sharon Spring by h As I live less than an hour from Sharon Springs, I've been to the Beekman 1802 Mercantile a few times and have had the pleasure of meeting both Josh and Brent in the store. They're both really lovely, friendly people who are happy to chat away with you. I read the Bucolic Plague because I wanted to learn more about how they ended up in Sharon Springs and became "Gentlemen Farmers." The memoir is wisely divided into three books. The first book telling how they found their way to Sharon Spring by happenstance, and that destiny brought both them to the farm, and then Farmer John and his goats to them. The second two books tell everything that happened after that and ends just as they're about to start filming the first season of The Fabulous Beekman Boys. I say that the memoir is wisely divided into three books because each has a different tone. The first is hysterically funny and features lots of misadventures with goats and "zombie flies", but as the memoir continues, it takes on a more serious tone as they struggle to keep the farm going, start a business in Sharon Springs, and face losing their jobs in NYC, which they need to help support the farm. By the time I read Bucolic Plague, I knew that they had won the Amazing Race and that Josh was finally able leave his job in the city and be with Brent full time, but I still worried that they were going to lose everything. I think that's a pretty good writer who can make me forget that I already know their happy ending.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    This was good! There wasn't as much "this is how we accomplished this" as I was hoping for (though there was some;) there were a lot more "these are my feelings." It is, after all, a memoir, and not a how-to guide. So that's fine. He gets a little sentimental about how farming and weeding is satisfying, and ad executiving is soul-sucking. It's such a cliche but it's also pretty much true, right? I mean I totally agree with him. So how can I complain. It was a little disheartening, though. If two This was good! There wasn't as much "this is how we accomplished this" as I was hoping for (though there was some;) there were a lot more "these are my feelings." It is, after all, a memoir, and not a how-to guide. So that's fine. He gets a little sentimental about how farming and weeding is satisfying, and ad executiving is soul-sucking. It's such a cliche but it's also pretty much true, right? I mean I totally agree with him. So how can I complain. It was a little disheartening, though. If two rich Manhattanites with a Martha Stewart connection can't make it work, there's no way in hell I can, right? I won't have the historic mansion to upkeep, of course, but then I won't have the historic mansion cachet, either, when branding my artisan goat cheese. Oh yeah and Martha is a large part of this, I hadn't been expecting that. She came across exactly as you think she would. (P. S. Quick read! I'm not used to that. I finished this whilst away for the weekend and didn't have a backup book!! That's, like, my second greatest fear in life. I read the PA hunting & fishing guide cover to cover. Let me tell you about the impact on harvest numbers due to opening black bear season on a Saturday.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    John

    I liked this book quite a lot, resisting picking it up at times because that would mean I'd be that much closer to the end. I'm not usually so involved with memoir personae ("characters" sounds fictional to me), but was really gripped by Josh and Brent's ups and downs as the story progresses; in spite of their high-falutin' statuses in NYC, they're really quite a down-to-earth couple, with amazing determination. Another reviewer wanted to hear more of their lives back in the city, though Josh ma I liked this book quite a lot, resisting picking it up at times because that would mean I'd be that much closer to the end. I'm not usually so involved with memoir personae ("characters" sounds fictional to me), but was really gripped by Josh and Brent's ups and downs as the story progresses; in spite of their high-falutin' statuses in NYC, they're really quite a down-to-earth couple, with amazing determination. Another reviewer wanted to hear more of their lives back in the city, though Josh makes it clear that was largely work-related (outside the scope of the book). Their goat-master, Farmer John, is a hoot. At one point, the guys are dismayed to hear that he was mildly disappointed they weren't "gayer"; later, when they have male models running around for a photo shoot, thinking that'll solve that problem, I burst out laughing (in a public place of course) at Farmer John's response, "If you like them that skinny I suppose." I know almost nothing about Martha Stewart, but, as someone who actually knew her well, Josh comes off with an even-handed portrait of her. Definitely recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Connie Smith

    Josh wanted to live in "Oprah World" and Brent in "Martha Land." Purchasing a 206 year old, 60 acre estate, complete with a mansion, crypt and caretaker's cottage, in rural upstate NY and trying to maintain it on weekends (commuting 4 hours north from from NYC) not only didn't mesh with their vision of bucolic life but in fact, was almost their undoing. Witty, warm and triumphant memoir of how hard work, adaptability, vision, and teamwork will prevail. Well written descriptions of the land in al Josh wanted to live in "Oprah World" and Brent in "Martha Land." Purchasing a 206 year old, 60 acre estate, complete with a mansion, crypt and caretaker's cottage, in rural upstate NY and trying to maintain it on weekends (commuting 4 hours north from from NYC) not only didn't mesh with their vision of bucolic life but in fact, was almost their undoing. Witty, warm and triumphant memoir of how hard work, adaptability, vision, and teamwork will prevail. Well written descriptions of the land in all seasons - especially the garden's bounty. Engaging cast of characters, including farm animals (Bubby the barn cat), Mary the ghost, villagers .. Inspired me to tackle some gardening and canning projects of my own in the future. Beekman 1802 has a new fan, soon to be stopping by in person..Sharon Springs is only a 45 min drive away.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    After spending many years as a dairy and crop farmer's wife, I found this book extremely funny and entertaining. I also live in an old (over 100 yrs) house, so that part of the story was interesting on a personal level. Sorry to say my house is not remodeled like this one. No one remotely associated with Martha Stewart lives here. I would recommend this book as a good read for anyone. After spending many years as a dairy and crop farmer's wife, I found this book extremely funny and entertaining. I also live in an old (over 100 yrs) house, so that part of the story was interesting on a personal level. Sorry to say my house is not remodeled like this one. No one remotely associated with Martha Stewart lives here. I would recommend this book as a good read for anyone.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    I really loved this book. I thought it was funny and informative while actually showing what could happen when the rich gays clomp off into the country to buy a goat farm.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.