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I Am Not Myself These Days

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,603 Ratings  ·  790 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 2006)
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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
Jun 07, 2014 julio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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.
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 ...more
Will Byrnes
Dec 10, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
This is an uproarious first person novel 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 relationshi ...more
Nov 26, 2010 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 someho ...more
Mar 04, 2008 Oriana rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 12, 2013 Riya rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of drug-fueled and sex-driven memoirs that are also funny
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 ...more
K.Z. Snow
Jul 08, 2012 K.Z. Snow rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, autobio-memoir
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.
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 fl
Oct 30, 2011 Jack rated it it was ok
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) ...more
Larry Hoffer
Jul 25, 2011 Larry Hoffer rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 18, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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 th
David Hallman
Oct 23, 2012 David Hallman rated it really liked it

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
Sep 22, 2015 Todd rated it did not like it
Shelves: fffabc
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.
Sarah Black
Jan 29, 2008 Sarah Black rated it it was amazing
I didn't know if I should laugh or cry- should people just write down the truth and open their heart and put it out there for the world to see? I'm sure glad he did, but I wish I could give this writer a hug and tell him he did good to make it through. Beautiful writing, too. I'm looking forward to the new book coming this summer
Nov 09, 2015 Luke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A year in the life of a New York drag-queen and a crack-smoking hustler told in just a over three hundred pages is exactly what I needed. In the beginning, I found reasons to laugh but as Jack and Josh grew closer, daring to love one another despite being diamond-studded fuck-ups I saw something great, deep and intimate in those pages. Something that I was just a spectator of like one of Jack's clients. I wished for a different ending than the one I knew was awaiting me at the final turn of thos ...more
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 ...more
Jan 21, 2009 Deb rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This memoir is delightful. Of course it has serious themes, but the context is so unique and refreshing that the drama of it is a perfect contrast. In this book, Kilmer-Purcell describes his transition in life from a flamboyant drag-queen to a more normal, functional adult. It is not for a reader that is homophobic, but most people should find the situations he finds himself in to be unusual (perhaps) but digestable.

What I particularly appreciated about this memoir is that, while the author is g
Mr. Nickler
Apr 28, 2008 Mr. Nickler rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Very much so.
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 ...more
Badly Drawn Girl
May 21, 2010 Badly Drawn Girl rated it really liked it

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
Oct 02, 2015 Jake rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
So I was really expecting Nate to pick some hard-core science book for his book club selection. Instead we got this memoir about transvestites and male prostitutes and goldfish living in fake boobs. It wasn't good. It seemed to me like a bunch of people whose favorite thing to talk about is themselves and compensate for being dull by being outrageous. Terrible "witty" dialogue.. And. This. Stupid. Thing. I hated when he put a period after each word for some lame-ass emphasis. Anyways, mildly amu ...more
David Schaafsma
Mar 11, 2015 David Schaafsma rated it liked it
Shelves: auto-bio-memoir
Former drag queen (now successful ad exec!) and vodka drunk Josh with his male escort crackhead boyfriend in NYC.. what's not to like? What could go wrong? This is amusing, mostly, and sometimes just a train wreck, but it is also sometimes surprisingly touching. I read it fast for the laughs, recommended by a friend who loved it. I liked it quite a bit. Warning: if you don't know anything about this life, it can get pretty graphic, which I will say makes it funnier (for me).
Kate McMurray
Dec 29, 2011 Kate McMurray rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This is a really fun read, although there's a thread of dread through the whole narrative, where I kept thinking, "Oh, this is about to go south." Which is intentional, I'm sure. Kilmer-Purcell is an engaging writer, and the memoir is funny and interesting and enjoyable, even if some of the things he does has you wanting to read the book through your fingers.
Emily Sapp
Aug 22, 2012 Emily Sapp rated it really liked it
I tore right through this book. It was both dinner and dessert -- enough candy to make you flip the pages and enough substance and genuine emotion to really invest in. Tragic and fabulous, it was able to hint at the appeal of reckless abandonment and balls-out ridiculous love while also reminding you of the dark sides of that MO.
Po Po
Sep 26, 2015 Po Po rated it liked it
Entertaining 'til about 3/4 of the way through, then storyline ran out of steam. Clichéd ending.
Anwen Ross
Sep 04, 2015 Anwen Ross rated it it was amazing
Shelves: glbt, non-fiction
Very funny. Kind of sad too, because the relationship is so messed up, but Josh/Aqua is just hilarious.
Feb 05, 2015 Jennie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
This memoir whirls itself into a dazzling knot of addiction, night life, goldfish, and violence that one might find in the bottom of Aquadisiac's (Josh Kilmer-Purcell drag alter ego's) make-up bag. Kilmer-Purcell creates a slick and engaging story from his first seven months as a New Yorker. He takes the horrifying and outlandish elements of falling in love with a prostitute turned crack addict and his own descent into alcoholism via his nightly drag performances and forms them into a story abou ...more
Judah Martin
Jul 24, 2013 Judah Martin rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Maisie Smith
May 05, 2013 Maisie Smith rated it really liked it
This book ignited a need for me to seek out drag queens in later life; they are portrayed as being very cool! The temperamental relationship between Josh and Jack is written excellently and I really enjoyed it. The unknown possibilities that Josh could have walked in on when entering their home added a sense of mystery to the otherwise thrilling story. To know that someone actually lived a life like this upsets me and makes me happy. It upsets me because the love he thought he found turned out t ...more
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Josh Kilmer-Purcell is the New York Times best-selling author of I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir (Harper Perennial 2006), The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers (Harper 2010), and the novel Candy Everybody Wants (Harper Perennial 2008). He and his partner, Brent Ridge, are also the stars of Planet Green's The Fabulous Beekman Boys. Kilmer-Purcell writes a monthly c ...more
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“I try to make myself realize that I have learned the difference between right and wrong. That there is such a thing as right and wrong. But instead I've learned that these are things - this "right", this "wrong"- these are things that we are told. Simply told to believe. These are things we have not tested. And while most of the things we are told may be true, it is not until we have tested them, taunted them, flaunted them, that we truly know they are right. Or wrong. Or true. Or false. Or somewhere in-the-fucking-between. And I think I know now a little better which is which. And I also know I'll never quit testing this world. I'll never rely on common knowledge. Or common denominators. Or even common sense, for that matter.” 27 likes
“And sometimes the show can't go on.” 22 likes
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