I just finished reading The Bucolic Plague, from the author Josh Kilmer-Purcell, and, as a fellow memoir writer, I am incensed. This book is transparently untruthful, an absolute BOLD-FACED LIE.
I assure you that the fact that Mr. Kilmer-Purcell has sold more books than me has nothing to do with my opinion.
Or the fact that he’s obviously an attention whore, also starring in the hit reality series, The Fabulous Beekman Boys (about how he and his partner moved from Manhattan to upstate New York to become gentlemen farmers).
Or that he must employ a horde of comedy writers, since his books are screamingly funny.
Or that this particular tome was apparently ghost-written, since it adds a layer of immense heart atop his trademark humor.
No, what this is really about is a lack of veracity and integrity.
You see, The Bucolic Plague is a prequel to the Beekman Boys reality show. It tells the story of how Josh (an advertising exec) and his partner Brent (a doctor, aka “Dr. Brent Ridge” from The Martha Stewart Show) stumbled onto the picturesque farm they bought, and the challenges that they faced in trying to forsake their crazy New York jobs for a simpler, less encumbered existence.
That, in itself, was a fine theme. But sadly, Josh has attempted to top it with all kinds of fake literary drama, by claiming that acquiring the farm was only the beginning of their problems.
According to Josh, after buying their farm, Brent was laid off in the 2009 economic cataclysm.
According to Josh, the farm cost so much to run that he wasn’t able to give up his New York job.
According to Josh, after working 60-hour weeks in Manhattan, he travels to Sharon Springs to their rural retreat – and spends the entire weekends farming.
According to Josh, he and Brent seem to have little time together that isn’t spent herding sheep, chasing a llama or scooping up goatsh**.
According to Josh, even though he loves most of it, life is harder now that it was when they lived in New York.
It’s sad that Mr. Kilmer-Purcell needs to cheapen what is otherwise an idyllic story with such conspicuous plot-point ruses. Because anyone who’s ever left their overscheduled, overstressed life knows that when you give it all up to seek a simpler existence, everything is easy. Life becomes beautiful, a veritable picture postcard of pastoral moments and rustic bliss. Your desire to connect more deeply with nature and with family and friends is rewarded with endless moments of pure enchantment and wonder.
I know this, of course, because I personally plan to do it one day, and I already have all those moments mapped out in my head: the gentle frolicking with woodland creatures, the community coming together to raise my barn, the wizened old farmhand offering sage advice about life and love.
The Bucolic Plague – although highly entertaining – purports to be the truth. But Mr. Kilmer-Purcell obviously hasn’t watched enough Disney movies to know how life really goes.