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I'm Not Myself These Days

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  10,712 Ratings  ·  861 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
Published January 1st 2006 by Harper-Perennial
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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
Aug 05, 2012 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.
Will Byrnes
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Larry H
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
K.Z. Snow
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sarah Black
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Hallman
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Aug 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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).
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
Mr. Nickler
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
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
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Badly Drawn Girl
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Emily Sapp
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kate McMurray
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Po Po
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining 'til about 3/4 of the way through, then storyline ran out of steam. Clichéd ending.
Anwen Ross
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt, non-fiction
Very funny. Kind of sad too, because the relationship is so messed up, but Josh/Aqua is just hilarious.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Filled with sexuality, vulgarity, emptiness, soul-searching, brutal honesty. If you like taking a walk on the other side and experiencing life through someone else's eyes, this is a good book to do that. Josh is an excellent writer. His use of words color the story in the perfect way. Although, I must admit ... I had to look up a few of the words he used! I love a word challenge every now and then but not in every chapter - makes the story too complicated to read. The sprinkling of new words thr ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #54 I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell 1 4 Apr 19, 2016 04:25PM  
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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.” 23 likes
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