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

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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  3,528 ratings  ·  668 reviews
What happens when two New Yorkers (one an ex–drag queen) do the unthinkable: start over, have a herd of kids, and get a little dirty?

Find out in this riotous and moving true tale of goats, mud, and a centuries-old mansion in rustic upstate New York—the new memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, author of the New York Times bestseller I Am Not Myself These Days. A happy series of a...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by HarperCollins e-books
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Marieke
Oct 21, 2010 Marieke rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like goats
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...
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...more
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...more
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...more
Robyn
Here's a good way to tell whether you'll enjoy this book. Read this quote from the first chapter: "we would spend the night in a budget motel, preferably just off a major highway--not because we couldn't afford a cozy inn, but because cheap hotels reminded Brent of vacations from his youth. They reminded me of Fleet Week, so it worked out well for both of us." If you don't know why the quote is funny, or if you don't find it amusing, this is probably not the book for you.

General opinion on the b...more
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...more
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...more
Dianne
I first heard of these guys when I watched the Amazing Race a couple of years ago. I didn't follow the season very closely, but just enough to see them win the whole race, much to everyone's surprise, including them I think. Pretty cool.
They I learned that before their 'Race' days, they had made another unlikely transition, from living the good life in NYC to moving to a farm in upstate NY. Okay, sounds good.
Still, when our book club decided to put this on the schedule, I was only mildly interes...more
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...more
Patrick Gibson
I guess comparisons to the TV series Green Acres are inevitable. Sure there are colorful local folk but they are not rubes. The lead characters are both from rural heritages and not the befuddled city slickers that got their comeuppance by the locals on an ongoing basis like the moronic show. This is a heartfelt fish out of water tale with surprising depth of character and sincere earnestness. And lots of self-deprecating humor.

Author Josh Kilmer-Purcell is a Type A advertising executive and bes...more
Britt☮
I received a copy of “The Bucolic Plague” through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

On the surface, this is a tale about two gay city boys (one a drag queen-turned-ad exec, the other a doctor on the Martha Stewart show) who buy a farm on a whim, and that alone was enough to capture my interest. As a city girl who moved to rural middle-of-nowhere a year ago, I was curious to read about the culture shock that leaving fast-paced New York City for life on a farm upstate would no doubt bring about.

But...more
Larry Hoffer
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...more
Grady
One of the Year's Best Books

What more can be said about THE BUCOLIC PLAGUE that has already been so well stated by all reviewers? Josh Kilmer-Purcell is not only a gifted writer, able to blend beautiful prose with microscopically descriptive situations - both of high comedy and of sensitive insight into the many facets of relationships among human beings (and humans with animals!) - but he is more. He is able to look at the world in which we live from so many vantages that this book could easily...more
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...more
Cyndy Aleo
After my eye-rolling at the dramatic stream-of-consciousness that was Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and my inability to believe the events in Jeanette Walls' The Glass Castle, I gave up on reading memoirs for quite a while. However, when a blurb on a blog for an upcoming book crossed my screen describing a gay couple (one of whom is a former drag queen) moving to the country and becoming gentlemen farmers, I was unable to keep myself from adding the book to my ever-growi...more
Kathy Davie
Omigod...this was laughter from page one! A mix of Martha Stewart and Dee Hardie on living the perfect life in the country. I must buy their soap if only because...well, because they are trying so hard at everything. And I can understand that desire to look like a photoshoot at all times.

Josh has written an autobiography on his and his partner's dream farm based on a house built in 1802 in upper state New York. Josh goes overboard gardening and then putting up his harvest and they sort of fall i...more
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...more
Joann Perillo
It all started out in Saratoga Springs, NY when my sister got blitzed at wine and food festival fundraiser and bid an extraordinary sum of money to have dinner with the Beekman Boys. Since I had to care for her and see that she got safely to bed I was the lucky recipient of the second seat at her exclusive dinner. Frankly, I had never heard of the Beekman boys but I was interested in meeting them. Well we had a wonderful evening and I found them both to be warm, funny and down to earth. Anyway,...more
Kathleen
A former drag queen turned advertising executive and his partner, the doctor on call to comment for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, tire of Manhattan bustle and purchase a weekend place to become gentleman farmers. Hilarity ensues.

There are goats that get diarrhea on their way to a Martha Stewart shoot and evil zombie cluster flies that infest the mansion. The triumphs and tribulations all gardeners experience are magnified when Josh expands his garden plot to nine times its original size. The...more
stephanie
i literally laughed out loud multiple times. on a plane. (i am terrified of flying so this is saying something.) and i read parts of it out loud to my traveling partner. repeatedly.

the eternal battle of martha vs. oprah. the goats. THE GOATS. the lovely idea of having a farm vs. actually having a working farm. (my job illustrates how hard it is to deal with 9 cows confined, i can't imagine that many goats plus all those planter boxes at the perfect height.)

i loved brent, and i loved josh, and i...more
Lora
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire
This was a pretty honest, refreshingly self-conscious memoir about a marketing guy and his doctor/Martha-Stewart-guru partner buying a farm--albeit an over-the-top "mansion" "farm" largely run by their co-farmer. It wasn't that funny, despite the blurbs about its hilarity that plastered the book. I imagine his first book about drag queening was laugh out loud--the prose really came alive when he briefly mentioned his alcohol-hazed days as a professional drag queen. Anyway, good for a light summe...more
Melissa
This is the hilarious and yet touching true story of a former drag queen and his partner who decide to buy a mansion and become farmers. The pair are New Yorkers at heart and the transition to small town life is a tough one.

They tackle everything from raising goats to exploring the crypt on their property. All the while they are making new friends and trying to keep up with their old lives. The author works at an advertising agency and his partner works for Martha Stewart. Their attempt at runn...more
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...more
Linda
I expected this to be a light and somewhat frivolous read. I picked it soley because it was about purchasing a rural mansion that was only a mile or so away from the farm I grew up on and drove past every day on my way to school - at a time when the mansion had been neglected for decades. I was pleasantly surprised to find it an easy and facinating read. Then I was equally surprised when the story about the relationship between the two guys, and their efforts to keep the mansion as the economy a...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...
I Am Not Myself These Days 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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“Truth isn't beauty. It isn't even always true. Truth is nothing more than consistency of message.
I learned that from advertising.”
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“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 aw 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 retard scarecrow suffering a grand mal seizure.

~The Bocolic Plauge, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell (2010), P. 214-215”
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