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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir Paperback – February 7, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 268 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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, if you leaned in close, would discover is made up entirely of misfits."

By day, Josh drudges off to a Soho-based advertising firm where he creates ad campaigns for corporate clients. At night, he dons live goldfish to complete the look of Aqua, a 7-foot-tall award-winning drag queen who trolls gay clubs in search of her next drink/one night stand. In between, he spends his time trying to build a stable, loving relationship with someone whose beeping pager is a constant reminder of the pair's almost inevitable fate. Yet even as Josh's escapades get increasingly absurd, Kilmer-Purcell is always there to remind us that the story we're reading is real, and that fundamental human emotions and desires are essentially universal. In the end, everyone just wants to be loved and to fit in somewhere. And while the lesson may seem hokey at times, Kilmer-Purcell's sharp wit rescues the memoir from becoming an exaggerated sob story:

The night before any major holiday is always a blockbuster night at gay clubs. Thousands... across the city fortifying themselves for long trips home where they'll be met with awkward silences, stilted conversations and cousins with whom they'd experimented with decades ago.
From start to finish, I Am Not Myself These Days is an extraordinary journey into an amazing life. To be a fly on the wall is an adventure that should not be missed. --Gisele Toueg

From Publishers Weekly

In the go-go '90s, Kilmer-Purcell spent his days as an advertising grunt and his nights hopping around Manhattan's gay clubs as "Aquadisiac," over seven feet tall in a wig and heels with goldfish swimming in transparent bubbles covering "her" breasts. (Not that Kilmer-Purcell wanted to actually become a woman; as he explains to his mother, a drag queen is "a celebrity trapped in a normal person's body.") He meets a cute guy, and soon he's moved into Jack's penthouse apartment—which he pays for by working as a male escort. Kilmer-Purcell gives much of his story a Sex and the City-ish spin, finding comedy in the contrast between his and Jack's sweet, cuddly relationship and the sexual demimonde of drag queens, hookers and masochists they count among their friends. But there's always a dark undercurrent: before the two get serious, Kilmer-Purcell's alcohol-impaired judgment frequently puts him in dangerous situations, but things get worse when Jack starts smoking crack during sex parties and becomes addicted. The exact, unpitying detail with which Kilmer-Purcell depicts his downward spiral makes it impossible to look away, especially since it's not until the final scenes that he allows himself to succumb to sentimentality. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060817321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060817329
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jessica Lux on April 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
It's New York city in the mid-1990s and our author is an advertising agent by day and a wild drag queen with fish-filled breasts at night. He performs nightly as his Aquadisiac alter-ego, staying out until the wee hours of the morning fueled by vodka, and crams in work the next day before starting all over again. Fortunately, no one can smell the vodka coming out of his pores. Much of his time is spent reconstructing the night before, figuring out where he is waking up, and trying to remember who he talked to and what he did the night before. His advertising campaigns come in brilliant bursts of last-minute energy.

Then comes Jack, the gay male escort who sweeps Josh's life into a semblance of order. Jack loves Aqua and Josh loves Jack. Mid-way through the book, the reader will realize that all the over-the-top orgies, Jack's S&M clients, the drug use, and the rampant alcohol abuse are just fluff around a true love story. Sure, it's titillating to get a glimpse inside alternate lifestyles, but this is truly the story of two misfits who complete eachother. This is a book that will teach you how a drag queen hides his private parts (an entire chapter is devoted to the deconstruction of the male and invention of the female persona), give you every detail about the process of preparing crack in a NY penthouse kitchen, show you the true friendship that develops between Josh and one of Jack's CEO clients who spends weekends tied up on the penthouse floor, and crush your heart with the agony of loving someone who is addicted to drugs. Josh, with his 10-plus vodka-a-day habit, seems like the messed up one in the beginning, but it is Jack who succumbs to addiction, leaving Josh to helplessly look on.
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It's a book that once you pick up, you don't want to put it down. Funny, sad, bittersweet, reminds me of Michael Cunningham and "A Home at the End of the World", not as smooth (could use some editing), but more personal.

At first, I was just interested in the unfamiliar world of male escort and drag queens. Then, through all the drugs, alcohol and prostitution, I saw 2 real people searching for that fleeting happiness. And I realized, as funny as it sounds, I started to care about the love between a crackhead hooker and an alcoholic drag queen.

All in all, a captivating personal journey and a wonderful read.

Don't let the 4 star rating fool you. I only give 5 star to books that I couldn't find any fault, and you can certainly find some areas for improvement in this book. But with me writing 3 to 4 reviews in a year, the mere fact that I am writing one showed how much I liked the book.
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On the surface, "I Am Not Myself These Days" appears to be a tale of the drag underworld - and indeed, it doesn't fail to entertain with some hilarious and lurid details. But scratch the MAC foundation just a bit and I found a wonderfully written novel exploring much more universal themes - love, self destruction, self-destructive love and the search for comfort in your own skin. I absolutely loved it.
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I had the book sitting on my shelf for a few months and picked it up last night -- in a desperate effort to rid myself of a bad book I had just been reading.

I didn't put it down except to sleep and shower.

No need for the recap -- that has handily been done by others before me -- just know that if you pick this book up, you'll be caught up in a whirlwind of laughter, sadness, relatability in ways you would never imagine and harsh truths.

I was fortunate enough to have the paperback with some extra materials, including a follow-up about "Jack" that just about shattered my heart.

I look forward to new materials from Kilmer-Purcell.

A very quick, easy read that will utterly surprise you.
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this book had me hooked from the beginning, and wishing i had had the courage/balls/lack of values to do many of the things that purcell claims he did. i use the word claims because in the aknowledgements/thanks intro of the beginning, he thanks james frey's(of a million little lies fame)wife, and goes on to say that he spent 2 weeks holed up at their long island home writing, leading me to wonder how much creative license he used. guilt by association-maybe. he does however put a disclaimer in the beginning labeling the book "truth in drag".

my hat is off to him for his attitude and sense of humor. anyone who is able to pull off alcoholic like drinking and functioning in a work environment that requires creativity, therefore actual thinking, has my respect. i was not able to do it.

he is inspiring in many ways, for gays and staights alike. he moved to the big city and did what he wanted. he was not intimidated, or at least, didn't let his fears stop him. he had his fun and then moved on.

i've lived in nyc almost my entire life and envy how he took advantage of it the way i never have.

i don't think i could be friends with someone like purcell. but as many problems as i have with his moral fiber, i'm jealous of him just the same.
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