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Candy Everybody Wants (P.S.) Paperback – Bargain Price, May 13, 2008

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Memoirist Kilmer-Purcell (I Am Not Myself These Days) tells the sad tale of wannabe TV star Jayson Blocher, a suburban high school student in the 1980s Midwest. After writing and starring in his home-shot, gay coming-of-age soap, Dallasty! Jayson sets his sights on Hollywood. A rogue Dallasty! screening sets off pandemonium, so Jayson's alcoholic mother sends Jayson to his father, which leads to a seamy romp through the gay semicelebrity scene of New York and L.A as AIDS emerges. And when Jayson actually does get his big Hollywood break, it is no surprise that his connection to his mother deteriorates further. Kilmer-Purcell certainly has interesting and tough-minded things to say about being young, gay and celebrity-obsessed in the 1980s, but the characters aren't strong enough to withstand the rollicking plot. (June)
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“A balls-out joyride through eighties pop culture that enlightens as much as it exhilarates. As always, Kilmer-Purcell’s astringent wit is nicely tempered by his obvious sympathy for human frailty.” (Armistead Maupin, New York Times bestselling author of Michael Tolliver Lives )

“Josh Kilmer-Purcell is funny funny funny, one of the funniest young writers in America. In Candy Everybody Wants, he trains his insightfully sardonic eye on the world of 80’s pop culture, showing the roots that made us a nation of Britneys, American Idols, and Obamamaniacs.” (James Frey, author of Bright Shiny Morning )

“Josh Kilmer-Purcell has created rich and memorable characters that emerge from the tumultuous landscape of the 1970’s. Jayson Blocher is the Holden Caufield for a new generation who is thrust in to a Little Miss Sunshine family in the early 1980’s.” (Dr. Drew Pinsky, author of The Mirror Effect )

“A genuine comic novel filled with big laughs, Candy Everybody Wants is entertainingly out-of-left-field yet remains rooted in reality. With his second book, Kilmer-Purcell has avoided the dreaded sophomore slump. We can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with next.” ( )

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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061336963
  • ASIN: B00394DFZQ
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,177,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Josh Kilmer-Purcell is the bestselling author of the memoir I Am Not Myself These Days and the novel Candy Everybody Wants, and the star of the television docu-series The Fabulous Beekman Boys. He and his partner, Brent Ridge, divide their time between Manhattan and the Beekman Farm.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on July 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading kind of like a VH1-style "I Love the 80's" special on steroids, "Candy Everyone Wants" is a madcap, extremely "over-the-top" story of a rather eventful year in the life of Jayson Blocher, a joyously flamboyantly gay boy from a small town in Wisconsin. A series of events lead to his leaving home to go to Manhattan and live with his estranged father, who runs an escort agency for men who want to spend time with Broadway chorus boys. Jason meets Devlin, a slightly older boy who starred in a popular sitcom and whom Jason had a longtime crush on, and he gets to sample a bit of fame by appearing in a popular series of television commercials. Subsequent events have both Jayson and Devlin on the lam and living on the streets of Chelsea, while his family and friends make an unexpected visit and Jayson waits to hear if he will be co-starring in a sitcom of its own. Throw in a few homophobic bible-thumpers, a kidnapping, a betrayal from someone whom he thought was a friend, and a realization that the life of an actor is not always a bed of roses, and you have a rollicking good time of a novel, written in a fast-paced, very witty manner that can cause a bit of "whiplash" whenever you try to put the book down for a while. So don't put it down ... it's a fun, light read. Five stars out of five.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Kramer Bussel VINE VOICE on May 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel goes from gay and ridiculous to even more gay and more ridiculous. Josh Kilmer-Purcell manages to write a book that really couldn't be more different than his memoir. Jayson Blocher is like an amalgamation of every over-the-top child star ever, but gay. Every character her is a caricature to the nth degree, but all so carefully crafted that you fall for them and their madness anyway. Plus, oh, prostitution, drugs, crime, scandal, pregnancy, disabiity, crazy names and so much more. It's like the entire book is written in rainbow capital letters.

As a New Yorker, getting insight into a very different SoHo than the one of designer shops and the Apple store was a delight. Kilmer-Purcell manages to weave this social landscape into his otherwise quite fantastical tale that'll have you wishing Dallasty! were a real show you could Tivo.

If I had to summarize it in one word, it would be gay. No, make that Gay, in all the best senses of the word. I'd recommend to anyone who grew up worshiping at the altar of their TV screen and hoping one day it would come to life.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By NE Reader on June 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I adored I Am Not Myself These Days. It's like a different writer created this dreadful "novel." To me, it was quite sophomoric and not even remotely witty. Silly, perhaps, without a shred of charm to it. JK-P should have kept this hidden in his sock drawer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Garcia on August 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book you read in your underwear, stretched out on your bed in the position a 12-year-old girl uses to write in her diary. However, it doesn't always want to be, which creates much of the conflict.

The story takes place in the beginning of the 80s, just when a gay cancer is spreading through major cities and just when Reagan is taking his office (which is appropriate, since the novel is about a kid so obsessed with television he cannot see his own life around him and things need to be explained to him in television terms, and Reagan is the made-for-TV president), where a young boy, through a devestating series of events -- which are quite funny for the reader -- starts on his way of becoming a STAR!

The plot is episodic and like a gay Victorian novel, every pun intended. Yet, Kilmer-Purcell is a little too cruel and meddlesome on his part, bringing in new plot elements, surprise twists, and on, to really have some sort of light, breezy gay episodic romp through life that the novel kind of wants to be; while at the same time, none of his characters hardly ever stretch out to be more than caricatures, just images of the crazy mother, the protective lover, the weird friends, and odd family, and even Jayson doesn't have much going for him depth-wise.

The writing is readable enough to flirt with 'literary-ness', and Kilmer-Purcell is ambitious, tackling as many themes as he can fit into 250 pages, from love to abadonment to life of celebrity to filtering reality, but the plot-driven aspects darg it down, so it ends up flirting with both styles, which is perfectly all right, without really pulling either of them off.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Set in 1981-82, this book seems to be a gay Young Adult sort-of romance - but a sort-of "Candide" like picaresque novella, too. It is expertly written, crisp and laugh-inducing. Wonderful handling of language that captures the giddy weirdness of a gay teenager (all too familiar in my own memory). Jayson's absurdity - from his added "Y" to make his name different, to his obsessions with B-level Television and becoming a TV star himself - are all surprisingly believable. There is also a "Running with Scissors" aspect brought in through his chaotic, messy family, which adds a dark, not-comical edge to some of the hilarity.

I enjoyed the adventure with unalloyed pleasure for almost 80% of the book, and then suddenly got very sad reading what became rapidly a threatenly unfunny twist in the plot. But, ultimately, this shift in tone resolved itself in a way that both made sense narratively as well as emotionally. In the end, the book made me wish for a sequel. I want to see where Jayson goes - when he's sixteen. He learns some hard lessons in this book, not about sexuality, but about loyalty, priority, and emotional honesty. He's a boy I'd like to know better.
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