Sunday, June 13, 2010

Book Review: "The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers" by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

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 exec and Brent was a VP for Martha Stewart Living) and handling farm-related duties on the weekends. But they dreamt of finding a way to quit their day jobs and have the farm sustain itself.

The Bucolic Plague is a humorous account of Josh and Brent's struggles to make a 60-acre farm thrive, but it is also the story of how to make a relationship endure a life-changing event when you're two completely different people. Sure, there's definitely some fish-out-of-water-type humor about two non-outdoorsy guys making a go at farming, but at its heart, this is a book about trying to follow your dreams even as everything is going wrong around you. And this book is the basis for a new television series, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, which starts June 16 on the Planet Green network.

I am a big fan of Josh Kilmer-Purcell's writing. His memoir, I Am Not Myself These Days, an account of his days as an ad exec by day, alcoholic drug queen named Aqua at night, remains one of my favorite books. I found this book funny, poignant and tremendously enjoyable, and I have absolutely no desire to ever live on a farm. Give it a shot.

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