Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Must Read: The Bucolic Plague - Josh Kilmer Purcell

Imagine, for just a moment, the last conversation you had with your best friend. More than likely it was intimate, I would bet there was laughter, & moments so serious your eyes would well up with tears. Am I close?

When you read “The Bucolic Plague,” the latest book from Josh Kilmer-Purcell, you will feel like you’re having a conversation with your best friend.

The story takes readers through the incredible journey of Josh and his partner Brent Ridge, as a weekend jaunt picking apples in upstate New York turns into developing a new lifestyle brand, Beekman 1802, based on a 205 year old mansion, the farm, and goats. Lots of goats.

We learn of the many challenges both Josh and Brent faced creating a new business at a time when the economy was crumbling around them (and the rest of us) and how balancing ‘city life’ with ‘farm life’ can prove to be almost impossible at times.

The conversational style of this book showcases JKP’s ability to ‘paint’ with words. Whether it’s describing something as seen from the back porch of the Beekman mansion, or describing the intensity of emotion at a particular moment in time, Josh masterfully crafts a canvas in our minds of what that moment was, and what it was like.


There are plenty of “Martha Moments” throughout the book that are honest and humorous. From the first time Josh and Martha met, to attending Martha’s annual Peony Party at her farm in Bedford, I was laughing hysterically. I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at a peony in the same way, ever again. As Josh describes his first meeting with Martha, I couldn’t help but laugh at loud. The first time I met Martha, I remember the same type of nervousness:

Given Martha’s reputation as a stern taskmaster, I was a little nervous about standing around doing nothing while she cooked.

“Can I help with anything?” I asked.

“Yes, thank you,” Martha replied in her adopted Connecticut clipped enunciation. “Would you cut up that celery for the salad?”

I stared at the stalks of celery lying perfectly and crisply prone on the counter before me. I was frozen with fear as the questions started a pileup in my mind.

How big? Diced? Chopped? Do I string it first? Didn’t I see her string celery on a Thanksgiving special once? Do I cut straight across? On an angle? Which angle?! Forty-five degrees? Twenty degrees? A slight but decorative slant? Isn’t this a paring knife? Don’t I need a chef’s knife? Can celery be pared? Is this a cutting board or a platter? What if this is the meat cutting board (which must be washed with a light bleach solution – Martha Stewart Living, January 1992) and not the vegetable one (which should be rubbed with a cut lemon to deodorize a lingering onion smell – November 1996)? Is the proper way to slit one’s wrist across the veins or along the veins? Can I die without getting any bloodstains on Martha’s spotless kitchen floor? I closed my eyes and went for broke.”
“The Bucolic Plague” is a relaxing summertime read. With the new Planet Green series, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” debuting on June 16th, this book is a great precursor to the start of the series. The official release date is June 1 and can currently be pre-ordered at your favorite on line book seller. To pre-order, go to Amazon.com.

On a five-star scale, this book gets 10 stars. I loved it.

4 comments:

Christopher R said...

I've read the other books my Kilmer-Purcell and I can't wait to read this one! It sounds great!

Barbara said...

I was able to meet Josh on Saturday at the special book signing. He's fantastic! (Handsome too) I started the book and finished it in a couple days. I loved it!

Elaine said...

It sounds like it will be the perfect summer read!

atayala said...

WOW! I want to have a photo too in this beautiful house.

Deirdre G
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