Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Review: I'm Not Myself These Days

Today I read the book I'm Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. I'm not sure what kind of mood I was in during my last Amazon binge, but I realized that this was the second memoir I've read in as many weeks that could have been summed up in one sentence- "I make poor life choices."

The book is a re-telling of a particularly tumultuous relationship the author took part in for about a year. At the time, he was an art director by day/drag queen by night with a drinking problem, and his partner was a male escort. We'll leave it at that, though the book goes into much more detail about what each of their jobs/personas entailed. The difference between this book and I Don't Care About Your Band is that Kilmer-Purcell was no saint in the relationship- both he and his boyfriend were utter messes. At first they find solace in one another and then, like many overly co-dependent relationships, they end up enabling one another while stuck on a constant loop of bad decisions.

The writing is really beautiful, though the subject matter is sometimes dark and uncomfortable. I really like it when authors can tell absurd stories in a way that is nonchalant. Both David and Amy Sedaris can do this, as can my other favorite Dan Savage. I always felt that Augusten Burroughs was terrible at this. It was as if every story he told was punctuated with a footnote that said "CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS SHIT?!"

Kilmer-Purcell is a master of casual in the face of absolute madness. He opens his book by recalling the night he woke up to his boyfriend holding a large chopping knife and peering over him while he slept. He slowly asks his boyfriend what's going on and we eventually find out that a) his boyfriend is high on crack, b) the knife was a gift from the author's parent and has never been used, c) the balcony door is open and the boyfriend was going to leap to his own death after stabbing the author and d) the only thing stopping the boyfriend from murder-suicide was that Pedro was the on-duty doorman and he would have been very upset to see these events transpire. Before you have a minute to come to terms with any of this, the boyfriend states that his wasn't "a very elegant plan" and Kilmer-Purcell admits that it is his boyfriend's turning of phrases like this that makes him stick around. Then, the book begins. It only gets better/more terrifying from there. I highly recommend if you need something different and aren't easily offended by depictions of the New York club scene.


KC said...

I like Dan Savage, too. Do you know who introduced me to him?? LH!

Do you listen to his podcast? He says the most crazy stuff there in a total nonchalant way. One that especially got me was when he was talking about "enema play."

ENEMA PLAY?!?!?!? That's how I would have said it.