Review: The Bucolic Plague
Former drag queen turned advertising executive, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner, Dr. Brent Ridge, were a couple of Manhattanites on their annual apple picking weekend when they spied the Beekman Mansion in Sharon Springs, New York. The mansion was for sale so they decided to take a look at it even though they figured it was out of their price range. They fell in love with it and, after crunching the numbers, made an offer on it. Before they knew what happened, it was theirs. Josh dreamed of living at the Beekman full-time but it just wasn’t possible since both of their jobs were in New York City.
Brent worked for Martha Stewart at the time and felt a lot of pressure when it was time to exchange gifts with his co-workers. He needed to come up with something that was handmade and unique. He settled on soap made from the milk of some of the Beekman’s goats. Martha Stewart was so impressed with the soap, she invited him to appear on her show to demonstrate how to make the soap. Requests for the soap started pouring in and Josh and Brent decided to see if maybe they could make a business out of it.
I have only seen parts of The Martha Stewart Show a few times and one of those times was when Brent Ridge appeared on the show with his soap. I was captivated with his story and loved that he and his partner were trying to live their dream. Since I love memoirs, I was excited to see that Josh Kilmer-Purcell has written The Bucolic Plague, a book about their experience living at the Beekman, and I was not disappointed! I found the book to be delightful! It’s honest, irreverent, humorous, and heartwarming.
Of course, the story is told from Josh’s point of view but he came across as very open and honest – he wasn’t afraid to admit when he was wrong. He and Brent had common goals but had different ideas of how to attain them – Brent wanted to live a perfect life like Martha and Josh wanted to live his best life like Oprah.
But somehow the Beekman brought out the worst traits in both of us, which were also the very same traits we once respected and admired each other for. His drive and perfectionism. My love of a good time and true experiences.
In short, he was Martha.
And I was Oprah.
Reading about Josh and Brent working and bumbling on their farm, interacting with their neighbors, and almost giving up in defeat was a treat the way Kilmer-Purcell wrote it. He’s witty and self deprecating and down-right fun! I’m itching to buy some soap and visit the Beekman after reading their story. I’d recommend this for anyone who loves memoirs – it just might inspire you to make a change in your life.
I listened to the audio version of The Bucolic Plague. It’s narrated by Johnny Heller. At first, I wasn’t sure about him as the narrator but I got used to his voice and came to appreciate his narration as the story progressed. The audio lasts approximately eight hours.