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I'm Not Myself These Days

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  8,649 ratings  ·  742 reviews
I Am Not Myself These Days is Josh Kilmer-Purcell's outrageously intimate memoir of a young man living a double life in the heady days and nights of mid-'90s New York City. As we follow Kilmer-Purcell through alcohol-fueled nights and a love affair with Jack, a crack-addicted male escort, he offers up an alternative universe where normal is "a Normal Rockwell painting that ...more
Hardcover
Published January 1st 2006 by Harper-Perennial
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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
...more
julio
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.
Will Byrnes
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
Nicky
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
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 ...more
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 someho ...more
Riya
Apr 12, 2013 Riya rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
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
...more
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) ...more
Larry Hoffer
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.
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 th
...more
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
...more
Sarah Black
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
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 ...more
Deb
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
...more
Mr. Nickler
Apr 28, 2008 Mr. Nickler rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
David Schaafsma
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
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
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.
Jennie
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
Maisie Smith
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
Jacob
I was not familiar with Mr. Kilmer-Purcell until I saw "I Am Not Myself These Days" on sale in the Kindle store. Now that I've finished reading it, I feel my life would have not been complete had I not read this book. It is an everyday tale of love between a drag queen and a hooker, but it's delivered with eloquence, wit and heart that it transcends any niche one might try to shove it in. The story is told through the eyes of Aquadisiac, a 20-something drag queen who has just moved to NYC. She r ...more
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 th ...more
Sherard H
I Am Not Myself These Days
Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Harper Perennial
New York, 2006

The Seduction of Goldfish

It's completely normal to read about men who dress up in drag, complete with live goldfish swimming around in their plastic boobs, right?

Sounds normal to me. Sound normal to you?

I'm actually quite shocked at the amount of books I read before I stumbled upon the memoir category. I don't think I touched a single one (especially not if it was leisure reading) until graduate school. "Memoir" was synon
...more
Jamieson
Usually, I’m not one to read memoirs or autobiographies.

I like fiction because I can delve into the story, take a mind break and live someone else’s life. I love fiction because it’s fun, often frivolous and I’m a sucker for a good story. Fiction has a way of easing stress for me, taking away the days’ worries and it’s just entertaining.

I wish I could say the same for biographies or memoirs. I find them preachy and boring and the author is usually full of themselves. Yet, lately, I’ve been drawn
...more
Jamie
I don't really do beach reads, but I just bought a NookColor and found this lil' one on there for $0.99. Been meaning to read it for some time, and so ended up making it my first e-reader book ever. An absolute, unabashedly naughty memoir tracking the first year of a boy's life in NYC as a drag queen/ad agent - the conflict comes with the escort he ends up dating and living with. Between Josh's alcoholism and his boyfriend's crack addiction, you'll never feel more proud of your own substance-abu ...more
Jennifer
Holy crap. I put the book down after the first two pages, took a deep breath, and forged ahead. The lives led by the author (an alcoholic ad exec by day, alcoholic drag queen by night) and his crackhead whore of a boyfriend (as the boyfriend was a male escort, I feel okay with the "whore" terminology) are horrifying enough to make you throw the book into a Dumpster, take a scalding shower in Lysol, and find the nearest hellfire and brimstone church so you can receive a cleansing of your soul. Bu ...more
Tiffany
Yay!! What a fun little book! I threw this book into my Amazon shopping cart along with a bunch of other books. I figured it had to be a light read and I'd save it for my upcoming beach vacay. Last weekend I picked it up to read the first page...just the first page to get a taste. But dammit! Here I am a few days later I've eaten the whole box of girl scout cookies!

I hesitate to provide too much detail with this review because I don't want to oversimplify the story or take away from the great wr
...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
More about Josh Kilmer-Purcell...
The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir Candy Everybody Wants The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook: Heirloom fruits and vegetables, and more than 100 heritage recipes to inspire every generation The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden

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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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