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4.3 out of 5 stars
Candy Everybody Wants (P.S.)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified 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
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
on August 20, 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. Added to that is an ending that's convienent for all the characters, but throws the book for a loop, since it includes a little-touched upon detail that suddenly becomes full-blown and as cliche as a TV show. Then again, maybe that was the point.

That being said, it is a fun novel and there are plenty of humorous elements and except for maybe the last 50 pages or so, I didn't regret spending any time with it. It's still just okay. Kilmer-Purcell may get better. Let's hope so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I purchased this book a few weeks after I purchased Josh Kilmer-Purcell's other two efforts and I'm glad I did. His other two books were, frankly, better. That said, it was a quick fun-ish read. My primary challenge is that this book is dark. Of course, it all ends well.

Anyway...I'd recommend his other two books to anyone (over 18) at any time, but...this one is, as Josh admits...a sophomore effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
This was the author's first foray into fiction after his scandalous memoir. I suppose I expected it to be more sensationalized since nothing needed to be rooted in truth, but it wasn't. On a scale of 1-10, I give this a 7. It wasn't the reckless rollercoaster ride I wanted it to be.
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on October 15, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I selected this book because

1. I'm a fan of Josh Kilmer-Purcell after reading The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir. I find him funny and adorable.

2. I'd meant to read other books by him for a while.

3. I was looking for a book set in the eighties and with a teen as the main character and this was a recommendation, particularly after I mentioned I'd enjoyed Band Fags! and Drama Queers!.

I found the book amusing and the character of Jayson seemed to have a lot of the author's personality. The cultural references of the time, even the made up ones, were delightful. The plot strained credulity. That in and of itself isn't bad, but I think an author has to have a certain touch to make that work -- and I ended up thinking that there wasn't enough substance or real emotions to hold up this house of cards. Story lines were wrapped up in record time in the end and with so many questions remaining, and I don't know how Jayson truly feels about what happened, if he grew at all, if he was a better person for what had occurred. I think JKP did an excellent job of channeling a boy that age, but didn't use his adult perspective to improve the narrative or bring home the theme.

The other day I reviewed another book with candy in the title and said something about the book being dessert, but not a main meal, and I could easily type that again. Maybe the lesson is to beware of candy -- that does seem to be an actual theme in the book -- but I actually enjoyed reading this. Even if I was left wanting. Even if I wish that the author had either made this either more airy or more substantial -- preferably more substantial. (The title is shared with a 10,000 Maniacs song and I wish they'd shared more in common.)

I'd give this 4 stars, easily, for the humor and wit, but I just had too many issues with the execution and how the author brushed against some serious things, but none of them seemed to really hit home with the main character who ends the book with much of the same mindset as he had in the beginning and is rescued from his problems -- maybe, remember the unanswered questions? -- in ways that haven't quite worked since Dickens unless the author truly acknowledges the wackiness of all the coincidences.

Anyhow, 3 stars and looking forward to his autobiography of his drag queen days!
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on December 1, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Author Josh Kilmer-Purcell created a cast of funny, goofy, scary, warm & fuzzy characters in "Candy Everybody Wants". He writes believably about teens long after he was a teen. He describes Toni, a single mom without all the answers. Mr. Kilmer-Purcell isn't a Mom, and he's no longer single. But his words make you root for Toni.
I wanted a woman to be the writer of this book. But now I get it: Mr. Kilmer-Purcell is a brilliant, captivating author. His characters are believable, and always entertaining. You should enjoy reading this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Not a bad read, but got wearisome by the end. It starts outrageously silly and creative, a lot of fun, but slides downhill the whole way through as the author tries to tell a somewhat serious story, unoriginal and stretching reality a little too far. By the end, I'm not sure what the story was or what the author was trying to do.
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