Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir

This is another Book Giveaway on Goodreads.com that I entered on a whim. It turned out to be much funnier than I had anticipated. The author had me midway through the prologue where he describes transporting five baby goats from his farm in upstate New York to Manhattan, a trip that takes several hours, during which time the goats develop diarrhea and he is forced to drive with his head out the window to get away from the smell.

I practically fell out of my chair laughing. I knew exactly how he felt. I once transported a kitten from a breeder two hours distant from my house, a kitten that was so nervous he began pooping forcing me to drive two hours with the car windows wide open in January. Unlike the author, whose passengers were confined in a cage in the backseat of his vehicle, in my case the kitten was loose in my car and being a typical feline, sought the highest elevation on which to perch. That elevation being the top of my head, with his claws firmly implanted in my scalp for balance.

I found this book both entertaining and disappointing. Mr. Kilmer-Purcell makes frequent references to his former career as a drag queen and to his partner’s career on Martha Stewart’s show. Too many references. I understand that being a drag queen and within the orbit of Martha Stewart were two defining experiences for him and his partner, but there is whole other world outside of that small universe that he seems almost unaware of.

After a lengthy set-up in which the author and his partner, find, fall in love with and purchase a “mansion” in upstate New York as a weekend house that eventually becomes a goat farm, I felt let down with the rest of the book. There is almost no discussion of their friends and activities in Manhattan, where they lived five days a week. He manages somehow to devote most of the book to the mansion cum goat farm while revealing almost nothing about the surrounding area or the inhabitants.

I would like to have learned more about his rural neighbors and his urban friends. How did those two worlds compare and contrast? What was their life like before they bought the weekend house? They had been a couple for almost a decade. What did they do during that decade? How did their lives in Manhattan change after buying the weekend house? Did they attempt to mingle the two worlds by inviting friends to visit them at their upstate retreat?

This is a great human interest story, but I feel that a big part of it is missing. It is a quick, entertaining read that is more sequins and boas than compost and canning.

Review copy courtesy of Harper Collins

1 comment:

Abbey from Goodreads said...

Laughing with you about your kitten story!