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The New York Times bestselling, darkly funny memoirof a young New Yorker's daring dual life—advertising art director by day,glitter-dripping drag queen and nightclub beauty-pageant hopeful by night—was asmash literary debut for Josh Kilmer-Purcell, now known for his popular PlanetGreen television series The Fabulous Beekman Boys.His story begins here—before the homemade go The New York Times bestselling, darkly funny memoirof a young New Yorker's daring dual life—advertising art director by day,glitter-dripping drag queen and nightclub beauty-pageant hopeful by night—was asmash literary debut for Josh Kilmer-Purcell, now known for his popular PlanetGreen television series The Fabulous Beekman Boys.His story begins here—before the homemade goat milk soaps and hand-gatheredhoneys, before his memoir of the city mouse’s move to the country, TheBucolic Plague—in I Am Not Myself These Days,  with “plenty of dishy anecdotes and moments of tragi-camp delight” (WashingtonPost).


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The New York Times bestselling, darkly funny memoirof a young New Yorker's daring dual life—advertising art director by day,glitter-dripping drag queen and nightclub beauty-pageant hopeful by night—was asmash literary debut for Josh Kilmer-Purcell, now known for his popular PlanetGreen television series The Fabulous Beekman Boys.His story begins here—before the homemade go The New York Times bestselling, darkly funny memoirof a young New Yorker's daring dual life—advertising art director by day,glitter-dripping drag queen and nightclub beauty-pageant hopeful by night—was asmash literary debut for Josh Kilmer-Purcell, now known for his popular PlanetGreen television series The Fabulous Beekman Boys.His story begins here—before the homemade goat milk soaps and hand-gatheredhoneys, before his memoir of the city mouse’s move to the country, TheBucolic Plague—in I Am Not Myself These Days,  with “plenty of dishy anecdotes and moments of tragi-camp delight” (WashingtonPost).

30 review for I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Posted at Shelf Inflicted I’m not much of a TV person and have never seen The Fabulous Beekman Boys or heard of Josh Kilmer-Purcell, retired drag queen. Still, I’m glad I found this little gem about two misfits in love. By day, Josh works for an advertising agency. At night, he lovingly and painstakingly transforms himself into Aqua, a 7-foot blonde beauty who carries goldfish around in her plastic boobs. His boyfriend, Jack, is a very well-paid escort known as “Aidan” to his clients, and lives Posted at Shelf Inflicted I’m not much of a TV person and have never seen The Fabulous Beekman Boys or heard of Josh Kilmer-Purcell, retired drag queen. Still, I’m glad I found this little gem about two misfits in love. By day, Josh works for an advertising agency. At night, he lovingly and painstakingly transforms himself into Aqua, a 7-foot blonde beauty who carries goldfish around in her plastic boobs. His boyfriend, Jack, is a very well-paid escort known as “Aidan” to his clients, and lives in a posh apartment building guarded by doormen. The two guys enjoy a routine life of reading the paper together and ordering lunch from the deli, while listening to Jack’s beeper go off and occasionally running into his unusual clients. “The truth is, there’s no movie of the week about a drunk drag queen and a crackhead hooker in love. There never has been. It’s not the kind of thing people would care about. People would flip right by the channel, either unbelieving or uncaring. Who’s the good guy? Who’s the bad guy? Aren’t they both bad? If they didn’t get what they deserved by the first commercial, it’d be on to the breast cancer movie.” You’re so wrong, Josh. Right from the first page, I cared. I loved reading about your transformation to Aqua. You reminded me of my little brother, who got a kick out of trying on my mom’s dresses and heels. Your work hours and lack of sleep exhausted me, reminding me of my own hectic days working full-time, part-time, taking classes, and still finding time to party. You also reminded me of a close friend who appeared to be the happiest person in the world to everyone else, but drowned his pain in vodka. I loved your crazy and dysfunctional relationship with Jack in a city that has no mercy, yet is a haven for those who are different, and I loved your friendship with Laura and your relationship with your supportive mom who didn’t know the difference between transsexuals and drag queens. “You know that if you want to have an operation that’s something you can talk about with your dad and me.” Your story was beautiful, honest, and hilarious. If it wasn’t so darn funny, I would have cried.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    The author in his Aquadisiac drag persona – image from Cooking Channel TV, really I Am Not Myself These Days is an uproarious first person roman a clef about a drag queen in New York City. His/her wastrel life in the clubs, finding love with a gorgeous, rich, kind male escort, having adventures both good and bad and doing it all with much humor and feeling. There is enough kink here for a room full of afros but the focus is on the humanity beneath the outrageous. Who would think that you could c The author in his Aquadisiac drag persona – image from Cooking Channel TV, really I Am Not Myself These Days is an uproarious first person roman a clef about a drag queen in New York City. His/her wastrel life in the clubs, finding love with a gorgeous, rich, kind male escort, having adventures both good and bad and doing it all with much humor and feeling. There is enough kink here for a room full of afros but the focus is on the humanity beneath the outrageous. Who would think that you could care about a guy who wears fishbowls with live fish swimming around in them for breasts? I loved his relationship with a female co-worker, loving bitchy. A river-funeral at the end was quite poignant. All that glitters can grow old, but this moving, engaging book was absolutely fabulous. The author and his husband bought a farm in upstate NY, and are running a booming business from there. Kilmer-Purcell's Twitter and FB pages

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julio Genao

    apropos. i know a lot about my city. i know about all the places kilmer-purcell held court. i know all but one of them are gone, now. i know the truth of a thing can lift you up in a rush of heat, and energy, and glitter. i know it can cut you open, too. i know i should not have read this today.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    The story is summed up pretty well by the author near the end: “The truth is, there’s no movie of the week about a drunk drag queen and a crackhead hooker in love. There never has been. It’s not the kind of thing people would care about. People would flip right by the channel, either unbelieving or uncaring. Who’s the good guy? Who’s the bad guy? Aren’t they both bad? If they didn’t get what they deserved by the first commercial, it’d be on to the breast cancer movie.” But that's not really true The story is summed up pretty well by the author near the end: “The truth is, there’s no movie of the week about a drunk drag queen and a crackhead hooker in love. There never has been. It’s not the kind of thing people would care about. People would flip right by the channel, either unbelieving or uncaring. Who’s the good guy? Who’s the bad guy? Aren’t they both bad? If they didn’t get what they deserved by the first commercial, it’d be on to the breast cancer movie.” But that's not really true. I love that this story is about two people on the margins of society, two quote unquote freaks, two addicts, two pathetic fuckups who see themselves in each other and fall in love almost instantly. But the greatest thing about this book is that despite the neverending darkness of the plot and all the horrible physical and emotional atrocities described within –- it’s fucking hilarious. You’re laughing and wincing and tearing up in a perpetual cycle. You love the author and yet you’re also disgusted by him. You’re pulling for his relationship with Jack to work even though they’re obviously not good for each other. But the story wouldn’t go down so easily without the spoonfuls of humor. When Josh wakes up from a vodka-induced blackout to find himself on the subway, he thinks, “Some people might get obsessed with figuring out how they wound up on the F train in drag, with no bag and only one shoe. But that’s simply not my style. What’s done is done. I’m sure I had my reasons.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    I absolutely LOVED this book. Ad exec by day, infamous drag queen by night, Josh/Aqua meets the man of his dreams at a club one night. One problem: Jack, the man of his dreams, is a male escort. But for a while, Jack is more stable than Aqua. This is a simultaneously hysterical, insightful and heartbreaking book that I devoured in almost one sitting. And if for no other reason than a fairly detailed look into how a drag queen gets ready for a night out, this book is well worth your time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I don't know if it's appropriate to describe an alcoholic drag queen's memoir of his relationship with a crack cocaine-addicted S&M male escort as "sweet," but that is one of the words I would certainly use to describe this fascinating, wry, and wonderfully told autobiography. Josh is a master storyteller whose quips and acumen are as sharp as his stilettos. I found myself laughing and, at turns, crying at the details of his life and his relationship, a passionate love affair that was somehow as I don't know if it's appropriate to describe an alcoholic drag queen's memoir of his relationship with a crack cocaine-addicted S&M male escort as "sweet," but that is one of the words I would certainly use to describe this fascinating, wry, and wonderfully told autobiography. Josh is a master storyteller whose quips and acumen are as sharp as his stilettos. I found myself laughing and, at turns, crying at the details of his life and his relationship, a passionate love affair that was somehow as tender as it was damaged, as loving as it was abusive, as depraved as it was ... well, normal. The brilliance and strength of this book is that it provides an unapologetic look at the grotesquerie of human relationships. The grotesquerie is NOT because it's about a a drag queen and a male escort, but because it's about two people trying to find love, which is one of the hardest, most difficult, most confusing things two people can try to do.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    “I Am Not Myself These Days” was a Kindle deal of the day. So I did a preview on Amazon and read the Prologue, which begins: ====== I’m freezing. The door to the balcony is wide open. The wind has blown the bedcovers completely off my feet, and the room is dark except for the faint orange glow from the skyline outside. I can’t feel my toes. On the forty-second floor, the wind never stops blowing. My boyfriend is standing over me with a knife. Two nights ago, after he had come home from a three-day “I Am Not Myself These Days” was a Kindle deal of the day. So I did a preview on Amazon and read the Prologue, which begins: ====== I’m freezing. The door to the balcony is wide open. The wind has blown the bedcovers completely off my feet, and the room is dark except for the faint orange glow from the skyline outside. I can’t feel my toes. On the forty-second floor, the wind never stops blowing. My boyfriend is standing over me with a knife. Two nights ago, after he had come home from a three-day crack binge, he decided that I could have the rest of the month to get my stuff together and move out of our, well his, penthouse. He then returned to his regularly scheduled cocaine programming and hadn’t come home since. Until now. “Why’s the door open?” I ask. “I was getting ready to kill you and then jump off the balcony,” Jack says as calmly as if he were telling me what movie he was planning to see. “With that?” I gesture toward the Wüsthof chef’s knife in his hand. “Yeah.” “But I just got that for Christmas.” ==== I admit, this persuaded me to pay the $1.99 for the full book. I felt especially voyeuristic reading this memoir of an alcoholic drag queen / advertising artist and his often endearing relationship with a congenial high end S&M prostitute. It is very entertaining and well written, and I found myself quietly chuckling a lot. I have to wonder, as I did with Augusten Burrough’s Dry, how an alcoholic can remember his days so clearly. I have two beers and I’m a little foggy on events. They are both successful in advertising. Maybe they are just good at using their creativity to fill in the blanks. No matter, though. It’s a good book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    K.Z. Snow

    I hate loving this book as much as I do. I hate that it made me read it so quickly. I hate the depth of my envy for its seamless melding of cynicism and lyricism, both overlaid with such sparkling wit. (I also resent that it made me use the phrase sparkling wit.) And I really hate that it will taint my enjoyment of "The Fabulous Beekman Boys," because now (shame, shame on me!) I desperately want Josh to be in Baja California, writing more wonderful books and living happily ever after with Jack, I hate loving this book as much as I do. I hate that it made me read it so quickly. I hate the depth of my envy for its seamless melding of cynicism and lyricism, both overlaid with such sparkling wit. (I also resent that it made me use the phrase sparkling wit.) And I really hate that it will taint my enjoyment of "The Fabulous Beekman Boys," because now (shame, shame on me!) I desperately want Josh to be in Baja California, writing more wonderful books and living happily ever after with Jack, who captured my imagination and my heart...although I'm not sure why.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carley

    a must, must read

  10. 4 out of 5

    Oriana

    This book is like dirty, dirty candy. It's ridiculous and silly and somewhat awful, but just terribly, absurdly compelling. It's a memoir by an young hot accountant-by-day, drag-queen-by-night. I read it a while ago, but I remember a few things: he lives in a ludicrously tiny apartment, he moved to NY to be a writer, his rich-ass boyfriend is an on-and-off crack addict, and his coup de grâce drag outfit (which he makes himself and wears in places like Lucky Chengs) includes fishbowl boobs full o This book is like dirty, dirty candy. It's ridiculous and silly and somewhat awful, but just terribly, absurdly compelling. It's a memoir by an young hot accountant-by-day, drag-queen-by-night. I read it a while ago, but I remember a few things: he lives in a ludicrously tiny apartment, he moved to NY to be a writer, his rich-ass boyfriend is an on-and-off crack addict, and his coup de grâce drag outfit (which he makes himself and wears in places like Lucky Chengs) includes fishbowl boobs full of water and actual goldfish. Amazing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    J1B

    I remember reading this as a young gayling coming to grips with his sexuality, and honestly I came away from it thinking then what I still think today: I so absolutely want high-heel boots with fish living in them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    A memoir that is in equal measure appealing and appalling. Josh takes through a rabbit hole where drag queens live with $300/hour male escorts in penthouse apartments on the Upper East Side. Ad agency art director by day, drag queen by night, alcoholic throughout - and strangely, madly in love with Jack, a male hooker with a dedicated clientele and a remarkably lax building staff. Parties go on for days, with orgies and crack and hog-tied British CEOs waiting in the front hall when our hero(ine) A memoir that is in equal measure appealing and appalling. Josh takes through a rabbit hole where drag queens live with $300/hour male escorts in penthouse apartments on the Upper East Side. Ad agency art director by day, drag queen by night, alcoholic throughout - and strangely, madly in love with Jack, a male hooker with a dedicated clientele and a remarkably lax building staff. Parties go on for days, with orgies and crack and hog-tied British CEOs waiting in the front hall when our hero(ine) gets home from a hard night of vodka and vivacity. It's all rather remarkable, as a slice of la vie boheme of the turn of last century - life is the fastest of lanes. The extraordinarily detailed description of the ritual transformation from Josh to Aquadisiac - the shows, the shaving, the (ahem) "specialty attire," is actually riveting. Depending on your enthusiasm, or even your patience, for these hugely self-destructive people, Kilmer-Purcell's story is certainly unique. It's entertaining, or more fascinating, the way that train wrecks are. It's also written in a breezy style that goes down as easy as the chilled vodka our author swills night and day. Event at 300 pages, I finished it all in a few hours. Perhaps a bit too much like brunch - decadent, indulgent, and drinking early in the day.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    A drag queen with fish-bowls for breasts and her hustler boyfriend get drunk and stoned and high and crash one year in New York. This storyline's been done before; it sort of feels like a queering of the movie Bright Lights, Big City (oh Michael J. Fox, you would've been hot back in the day (though too short to play the part of Aquadisiac), but I really enjoyed the hell outta this, reality check ending and all. A drag queen with fish-bowls for breasts and her hustler boyfriend get drunk and stoned and high and crash one year in New York. This storyline's been done before; it sort of feels like a queering of the movie Bright Lights, Big City (oh Michael J. Fox, you would've been hot back in the day (though too short to play the part of Aquadisiac), but I really enjoyed the hell outta this, reality check ending and all.

  14. 4 out of 5

    PJ Mblt

    I enjoyed this book so much. Such a unique voice, extremely loveable and tangible characters, and a pace that just keeps you interested at each page. I don't remember the last book where I had so much fun, while it still being sincere and heartfelt. 4,5* I enjoyed this book so much. Such a unique voice, extremely loveable and tangible characters, and a pace that just keeps you interested at each page. I don't remember the last book where I had so much fun, while it still being sincere and heartfelt. 4,5*

  15. 4 out of 5

    Riya

    When I first bought this book I was pretty sure it was a fictional story about a girl and her boyfriend who were both drug addicts but still were able to find humor in their daily lives. I was not completely right, but I wasn't too far off either: turns out, this is a memoir about a young alcoholic drag queen and his/her hot escort boyfriend who is unfortunately addicted to crack - so if this sounds intriguing so far (remember kids, this book will contain loads of drugs and sex and all things ba When I first bought this book I was pretty sure it was a fictional story about a girl and her boyfriend who were both drug addicts but still were able to find humor in their daily lives. I was not completely right, but I wasn't too far off either: turns out, this is a memoir about a young alcoholic drag queen and his/her hot escort boyfriend who is unfortunately addicted to crack - so if this sounds intriguing so far (remember kids, this book will contain loads of drugs and sex and all things bad and naughty), then I suggest you pick up this book because not only is this crazy tale true, but it is very entertaining and hilarious as well. If you are already feeling a bit queasy reading this, then I suggest forgetting you ever started reading this review, and get yourself a cup of hot chamomile tea and a Nicholas Sparks book and stay far, far away from this book! Now - on to the review! (Warning: prepare yourself for many quotes; they were just so funny and good, it would've been a crime not to include them). Josh - our narrator - is in his mid-twenties and has recently moved to New York. During the day he works in an ad agency while during the night he drinks copious amounts of vodka and performs in different clubs as "Aqua" - a seven feet tall buxom blonde who has clear plastic boobs containing goldfish! I have a helmet of blonde hair and armor of corset to protect me from all manner of dull people - dull people who do things like watch how much they drink. During one of his performances, Josh meets Jack, who is not only handsome, polite, and kind - but also a bit of a mystery. The mystery is solved one night when Jack brings Josh over to his ridiculously expensive and beautiful penthouse apartment where Jack curiously discovers a fat middle aged man on the floor of the foyer - tied up! This - it turns out - is just one of Jack's clients for Jack is a highly paid gay escort whose specialty is BDSM and humiliation. Josh is shocked and yet intrigued: I'm intrigued that there's a level of perversity even beyond my realm of expertise. Where have I been? I feel so uncool. Show me more of this party I've been missing. Josh is soon enveloped in the never-ending party of drugs, alcohol, and all things sexual. At first, this is fun, and Josh doesn't have any inhibitions: It makes me wonder, what's the point of thinking twice anyway? The only possible outcome of double thinking is that you invariably end up negating whatever it was motivating you in the first place. Forcing yourself to think twice about something is just admitting that somehow you are instinctively stupid, and that repetition is the only thing that will save you from yourself. Things get out of control, however, when Jack becomes more and more addicted to crack cocaine. At first he only smokes it with his clients but then his addiction progresses and he is soon taking off for days and going on weeklong crack binges. Josh is distraught but he is also in a vicious cycle of his own - drinking vodka from sunup to sundown. This is a really good book if you really want to know about what goes on in the mind of a person that is an addict. At one point, Josh even considers trying crack himself: Note to self: expand your drug repertoire. Maybe drinking's just gotten to be too much of a habit. Maybe I should try other things more often. This is my new resolution. Quit drinking. Get healthy. Just use drugs. Medicinally, strategically. Be less messy. So what is Josh to do: stay with Jack or leave him? Help Jack get sober or work on himself by trying to quit drinking first? Is there any hope for these two, or not? Now read this book and find out for yourself. This memoir is just - great. I loved it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Brief Description: Kilmer-Purcell’s first memoir (before the The Bucolic Plague) chronicles his days as a drag queen named Aqua and his doomed love affair with a crack addicted male escort who specializes in S&M. The relationship between Josh and his boyfriend Jack is the heart of the book, and it shines brightly before exploding into a supernova of pain, addiction and loss. My Thoughts: Kilmer-Purcell seems to have lived enough lives to fill many memoirs. Although it was hard to reconcile the Jo Brief Description: Kilmer-Purcell’s first memoir (before the The Bucolic Plague) chronicles his days as a drag queen named Aqua and his doomed love affair with a crack addicted male escort who specializes in S&M. The relationship between Josh and his boyfriend Jack is the heart of the book, and it shines brightly before exploding into a supernova of pain, addiction and loss. My Thoughts: Kilmer-Purcell seems to have lived enough lives to fill many memoirs. Although it was hard to reconcile the Josh in this book (alcoholic ad man by day and drag queen by night) with the bumbling but persevering gentleman farmer of his second memoir, his wickedly sense of humor and self-depreciation was instantly familiar. Frankly, I’m impressed that Josh survived the days chronicled in this book long enough to transform himself into one of the Beekman Boys. Although this memoir is often really funny and fascinating in a “let’s see how the other more flamboyant half” lives sort of way, it is also filled self-destructive behavior that I found both compelling and horrifying. (I must warn you that this book isn’t for everyone. If graphic descriptions of gay sex, S&M, or drug use offends your sensibilities, steer clear!) Although Jack and Josh don’t live anything near a conventional lifestyle, their love affair feels doomed in a tragic Romeo and Juliet sort of way. And just because the heart being broken belongs to a 6-foot drag queen who keeps live goldfish in his corset doesn’t make this story any less affecting, emotional or touching.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    Somewhere out there in the big bad world of transsexuals/male prostitutes/transgendered cross-dressers/gay/transvestite/lesbian/what have you-world, someone really connected with this story... it really hit home and made them feel good about their journey in life and their place in this vast galaxy of crazy ass people and the weird shit they do to themselves and each other........ But that person is not me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌

    An appalling and mesmerising train wreck and beautifully tragic. I Am Not Myself These Days is a raw and powerful glimpse into Josh Kilmer-Purcell's life, rich with humour, vodka and glittered drag queens. Through the eyes of Josh and his drag queen counterpart, Aqua, a story of horrific, cringe-worthy wince-inducing fuck ups is told, laced with even more fucked up humour. And although I did not entirely enjoy Kilmer's prose at times, I could not tear my eyes away, even through the involuntary f An appalling and mesmerising train wreck and beautifully tragic. I Am Not Myself These Days is a raw and powerful glimpse into Josh Kilmer-Purcell's life, rich with humour, vodka and glittered drag queens. Through the eyes of Josh and his drag queen counterpart, Aqua, a story of horrific, cringe-worthy wince-inducing fuck ups is told, laced with even more fucked up humour. And although I did not entirely enjoy Kilmer's prose at times, I could not tear my eyes away, even through the involuntary flinches that came as the story unravelled. But above all that, it was the painfully, beautifully destructive love between the misfits that were Josh, Aqua and Jack that truly enthralled me. The three of them stole my heart and broke it; even as I cradle the shattered, jagged pieces, I know that I will never forget the love that was formed and eternalised in the glittering high rises and square square boxes of New York City. Rating: I cannot help but flounder in this section. I did not enjoy it-- it gave me little joy-- but it hypnotised me and swept me away and crushed me. So I will leave with a tenuous 3.5 stars, but that rating is as inconsistent as the flickering starlight scattered across the night sky. Edit: *groan* I slip into purple prose when I'm emotional... Sorry.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Badly Drawn Girl

    I picked this book up expecting to read wild stories about being a drag queen. I was imagining David Sedaris in drag. What I got was something much more moving and thoughtful. Yes, there are plenty of wild stories and hilarious anecdotes about Aqua, the author's other personality. But this is also a story about a doomed love affair, and the affect drugs can have on a relationship. Josh Kilmer-Purcell strikes the perfect balance, never allowing the laughs to obscure the reality of the painful rel I picked this book up expecting to read wild stories about being a drag queen. I was imagining David Sedaris in drag. What I got was something much more moving and thoughtful. Yes, there are plenty of wild stories and hilarious anecdotes about Aqua, the author's other personality. But this is also a story about a doomed love affair, and the affect drugs can have on a relationship. Josh Kilmer-Purcell strikes the perfect balance, never allowing the laughs to obscure the reality of the painful relationship he found himself in, but also avoiding the all too common "after-school special" over-emotional portrayal of addiction. I went in expecting a light, funny but ultimately forgettable read but when I finished the last page I realized that I had gotten much more than I bargained for. This is a book I won't soon forget.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Hall

    Wow, this was awful. Awfully sad and awfully funny. And I liked it awfully. Like The Lessons above it’s a familiar story—this time the subgenre ‘being fucked up with another fuck up’—but, to my mind, it was a lot more successful. Because while “I’m messed up and I’m in love with someone messed up and no matter how hard we try we keep messing each other up” is familiar ground for a memoir, especially a queer memoir, the devil is in the details. Set in New York in the 90s, Kilmer Purcell works as a Wow, this was awful. Awfully sad and awfully funny. And I liked it awfully. Like The Lessons above it’s a familiar story—this time the subgenre ‘being fucked up with another fuck up’—but, to my mind, it was a lot more successful. Because while “I’m messed up and I’m in love with someone messed up and no matter how hard we try we keep messing each other up” is familiar ground for a memoir, especially a queer memoir, the devil is in the details. Set in New York in the 90s, Kilmer Purcell works as an advertising executive by day. By night, he performs as his alter-ego Aquadisiac. Though, mainly he drinks. Then he meets an escort called Jack, who keeps a penthouse apartment and helps Josh bring his life fleetingly into some kind of order. And, of course, it unravels with Jack spiralling into drug addiction, and then both of them falling apart together. Despite the fact that the narrative has one direction, and the direction is down, I still found this really readable: it’s defiant and cynical and unsentimental and charming. I sometimes struggle with memoirs that want to wring a structure from the chaos of being alive. To me, it can feel too neat, too much like fiction. Not everything has meaning, a lesson to learn, a conclusion to find. IANMTD, by contrast, is very much about a particular time and a particular place—the legacy of something real, half-revealed and half-concealed by the artifice surrounding it. If it is “about” anything, I’d say it’s about love. Not in the sweeping romance, HEA way. But love as a thing that happens to you. The ways it changes you and the ways it doesn’t. All the ghosts we leave behind us of the people we were when we were in love. The last chapter, in particular… eeesh. Left me full of unexpected feels.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Were this a fictional story, I don't think it would hold up very well - too much reliance on the shock value of excessive sex, drugs, and alcohol without much real narrative. It would have seemed like self-indulgent vice porn. But the fact that this is a true story (even assuming a generous amount of embellishment), that this world existed and likely still exists, makes this a mind-blowing memoir. The book is effectively a snapshot of Kilmer-Purcell's life during his first year or so in New York. Were this a fictional story, I don't think it would hold up very well - too much reliance on the shock value of excessive sex, drugs, and alcohol without much real narrative. It would have seemed like self-indulgent vice porn. But the fact that this is a true story (even assuming a generous amount of embellishment), that this world existed and likely still exists, makes this a mind-blowing memoir. The book is effectively a snapshot of Kilmer-Purcell's life during his first year or so in New York. Rather than having a clear beginning, middle, and end, the book feels more like a collection of vignettes which seem to have only tenuous connections to each other - a deliberate effort on the author's part to recreate the vodka-induced fogs that served as interludes between the events of his days and nights. Kilmer-Purcell's use of language to convey his never-sober state of mind is one of the strengths of this book - the reader is often unsure of what exactly is happening, because the narrator often feels exactly the same way. The world Kilmer-Purcell describes is (at least for those of us not well-acquainted with drag queens and hookers) endlessly fascinating. How long does it take a drag queen to get ready for a show? How much money can you make as a hooker? How do you handle waking up in a stranger's apartment, or on a subway train, with no knowledge of where you are or how you got there? How do you dispose of a semi-conscious body? What do you say when your boyfriend says he's going to murder you? This book provides answers to these (and other!) burning questions we've all asked at some point. Not to be neglected is the "Finding Jack" section after the epilogue, which gives a brief yet satisfying update nine years after the events of the book, and which really should have been included as its own post-epilogue chapter. This book is hilarious and graphic and tragic and romantic and horrifying and a solid read for anyone who doesn't get offended too easily.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shannyn

    I began this book fully intent on hating it, frequently muttering to myself that it's the sort of trash that carelessly fuels America's comfort with thinking of gay men as silly little martini-soaked, hyper-sexualized clowns useful only for their bitingly witty remarks and womens' fashion expertise. Somewhere around page 75 or so, though, I alas admitted that it was a bit unfair of me to hold Kilmer-Purcell responsible for accurately reflecting the entire queer spectrum-- afterall, it's HIS memo I began this book fully intent on hating it, frequently muttering to myself that it's the sort of trash that carelessly fuels America's comfort with thinking of gay men as silly little martini-soaked, hyper-sexualized clowns useful only for their bitingly witty remarks and womens' fashion expertise. Somewhere around page 75 or so, though, I alas admitted that it was a bit unfair of me to hold Kilmer-Purcell responsible for accurately reflecting the entire queer spectrum-- afterall, it's HIS memoir and, in all fairness, he really was an alcoholic drag queen in a disastrous relationship with a literal crack-whore at one point. It takes a good 220 pages to finally realize Kilmer-Purcell's purpose in writing this memoir isn't merely to share humorous anecdotes of his misadventures in drag, for he eventually grabs hold of the reader's emotional vulnerability when it becomes increasingly clear the relationship he finally allowed himself to become reliant on is quickly crashing. Though Kilmer-Purcell reveals early in the book that he's no stranger to bad decisions, the reader is no less horror-struck as Kilmer-Purcell looks on in helpless agony at his male escort lover smoking crack-cocaine each night in their kitchen, all the while growing more distant from their once odd but happy life together. As their once deeply satisfying relationship crumbles, it becomes apparent that, for his own survival, Kilmer-Purcell must escape not only from Jack's self-destruction, but his own as well. While his writing was, dare i say, witty, Kilmer-Purcell is certainly no Ernest Hemingway, and I think that any book as easy to breeze through as this one is probably not all that good for you. Nevertheless, it's a splendid, sometime's heartbreaking and sometimes hilarious book. Worth the read for sure.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Hallman

    Vodka. To be candid, vodka is one of the reasons that I like Josh Kilmer-Purcell's "I am not myself these days." The central character, curiously enough named Josh, likes vodka. Well, more accurately, it's Aqua who LOVES vodka. Aqua...sorry, I didn't introduce her properly...Aquadisiac, but everyone calls her Aqua, is really Josh. Or Josh is really Aqua. How does it work with drag queens? Who is who? Anyway, vodka figures prominently in "I am not myself these days" because it figures prominently Vodka. To be candid, vodka is one of the reasons that I like Josh Kilmer-Purcell's "I am not myself these days." The central character, curiously enough named Josh, likes vodka. Well, more accurately, it's Aqua who LOVES vodka. Aqua...sorry, I didn't introduce her properly...Aquadisiac, but everyone calls her Aqua, is really Josh. Or Josh is really Aqua. How does it work with drag queens? Who is who? Anyway, vodka figures prominently in "I am not myself these days" because it figures prominently in Aqua's life. Almost as prominently as Jack figures in Aqua's life. And who would not like Jack? Hot, sexy, muscular, very well-hung, Jack. Two things you need to know about Jack. He's deeply in love with Aqua (go figure) and he's a very successful male prostitute. Successful enough to have a stunning condo on a high floor in a classy Manhattan building in which there are drawers stuffed with large-denomination bills. I guess there's been some issue about folks in Jack's profession and the IRS. But I digress. Vodka, Aqua, Jack - that's pretty much the plot. Along with some white powdery stuff that Jack apparently loves a great deal. Almost as much as he loves Aqua. And that becomes an issue because Aqua isn't too keen on being the other woman to Jack's white vixen. You've got to read "I am not myself these days" if you like to laugh and cry and drink vodka. If you don't like to laugh and cry and drink vodka, read something else. * * * For information on "I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir" see: http://amzn.to/QS3I7D For information on my memoir "August Farewell" and my novel "Searching for Gilead", see my website at http://DavidGHallman.com

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Hackett

    I’m definitely overly critical of gay books — which is probably unfair to books I’d view more favorably if they weren’t “gay” themed, especially considering the overall lack of good “gay” themed books out there. Read this book in basically one sitting and really enjoyed it. Won’t go too much more in depth because #bookclub, but an entertaining read in that wow-I’m-surprised-how-much-I-like-this-LGBT-movie-on-Netflix kinda way.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Po Po

    Entertaining 'til about 3/4 of the way through, then storyline ran out of steam. Clichéd ending. Entertaining 'til about 3/4 of the way through, then storyline ran out of steam. Clichéd ending.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jemppu

    Entertainingly told, with great humor, self-awareness, and sass.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I found this delightful and funny, but now I’ve read all of Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s books. In order, I have read The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook: Heirloom fruits and vegetables, and more than 100 heritage recipes to inspire every generation, Candy Everybody Wants and then this book; the order may not have been ideal. Since The Bucolic Plague and this book are memoirs, I had read 150 pages or so before I found this delightful and funny, but now I’ve read all of Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s books. In order, I have read The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook: Heirloom fruits and vegetables, and more than 100 heritage recipes to inspire every generation, Candy Everybody Wants and then this book; the order may not have been ideal. Since The Bucolic Plague and this book are memoirs, I had read 150 pages or so before I copped to Candy Everybody Wants being a novel. (Yes, the cover clearly calls it a novel, why would I read a cover?) This book takes place when Josh is 24, has just moved to New York City, is working in advertising during the day and is the drag queen Aqua (because she has a goldfish in each of her “breasts,” and perhaps because he drinks like a fish) by night. Oh and his boyfriend Jack is an actual crack attempted murdering whore. Maybe Josh needed a background of his experiences with Jack before he got involved with an actual grownup in Brent and later, Sharon Springs. “…There’s no movie of the week about a drunk drag queen and a crackhead hooker in love. There never has been. It’s not the kind of thing people would care about. People would flip right by the channel, either unbelieving or uncaring. Who’s the good guy? Who’s the bad guy? Aren’t they both bad? If they didn’t get what they deserved by the first commercial, it’d be on to the breast cancer movie.” (257) ; ; ;

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Nickler

    I found this book at Unabridged (a neighborhood book store here in Chicago) and it had a review posted bookshelf that stated, if you like David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, you will probably enjoy this book as well. Based on that description I assumed I would like this book, but doubted the author could live up to the formers's works. While there are simalarites, between the three this book has in entirely different feel. The book is moving in a very unexpected way. While it is often very funn I found this book at Unabridged (a neighborhood book store here in Chicago) and it had a review posted bookshelf that stated, if you like David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, you will probably enjoy this book as well. Based on that description I assumed I would like this book, but doubted the author could live up to the formers's works. While there are simalarites, between the three this book has in entirely different feel. The book is moving in a very unexpected way. While it is often very funny, it also remains touching and hopeful. The love affair is very universal which is of course a surprise for me when I read it, seeing as I have never been in love with a crack addicted prostitute. The relationship between the two characters of the book transcend, gender, sexuality, and circumstance. This book deals with a specific section of gay life, but does so in way that allows the book to not feel like the other typical LGBT fanfare. The book is smart, and at times for me startling realistic. I related to this story on many levels but the authors drinking problem was probably the most resounding with me. Many books talk about problem drinkers, but so often I don't connect with other people's drinking problems. In this book I felt as if the author was writing my drinking story, and believe that only happens because the author is so honest and candid. The book is an easy read, and I would eagerly buy the authors next book. Matthew Nickelr

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    A memoir that will make you laugh at the most awful of moments. The love story of a hilarious alcoholic drag queen living day to day and a well paid male hooker who specializes is sadism and dapples with crack. Who wouldn't find that compelling? This is a book that at any moment, especially in the most difficult and depressingly sad ones, can shock you into raucous bursts of laughter. It's Kilmer-Purcell's darkly self-deprecating comedic dialogue that make this tragic storyline, and it's dynamic A memoir that will make you laugh at the most awful of moments. The love story of a hilarious alcoholic drag queen living day to day and a well paid male hooker who specializes is sadism and dapples with crack. Who wouldn't find that compelling? This is a book that at any moment, especially in the most difficult and depressingly sad ones, can shock you into raucous bursts of laughter. It's Kilmer-Purcell's darkly self-deprecating comedic dialogue that make this tragic storyline, and it's dynamic duo of lovers, absolutely irresistible. I found myself yelling at our narrator and shaking my head, but reading on and hoping it would somehow keep going, and perhaps even have a happy ending. I was routing for this complicated, self-destructive drag queen, but it's hard to see any way that the story could conclude in anything besides disappointment and potentially complete disaster. This book manages to convey extreme depth within it's characters. Josh shows sadness and vulnerability throughout, but does it in such a way that you ravenously need to keep reading it - not an easy thing to accomplish. Simply written, but it needs absolutely nothing further. It's bare bones story telling with sequined dialogue that keeps you surprised.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    What's a memoir without lots of sex, alcohol & drugs. Well it certainly wouldn't be this one. We don't get a bio of Josh's life but more of a time period in his life when he first moved to New York city working at an advertising agency and moonlighting as Aqua, a drag queen who wears live goldfish on her breast (you have to read to find out how) & his love affair with Jack, a crack addicted S&M male escort. We follow the trajectory of this inevitably doomed relationship (hopefully this isn't a s What's a memoir without lots of sex, alcohol & drugs. Well it certainly wouldn't be this one. We don't get a bio of Josh's life but more of a time period in his life when he first moved to New York city working at an advertising agency and moonlighting as Aqua, a drag queen who wears live goldfish on her breast (you have to read to find out how) & his love affair with Jack, a crack addicted S&M male escort. We follow the trajectory of this inevitably doomed relationship (hopefully this isn't a spoiler as Josh does dedicate the book to his current partner of 10 years Brent). Josh spares nothing in the telling of this story, & some of it is quite ugly. The book however, is not depressing. It's quite hilarious in spots. As Aqua, Josh is the consummate entertainer. He carries that skill with him as a writer as well. This is funny, poignant, silly & leaves you with many questions (like how can a man who is barely ever sober manage not just one but two careers fairly competently & how can a romance between a drag queen & a prostitute be so sweet). I'm not sure of the answers but I did enjoy the ride.

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