Sunday, July 6, 2008

Candy Everybody Wants by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

In Candy Everybody Wants, Jayson wants to be a star. He is convinced that his low-budget, self-directed video, Dallasty (a combination of primetime soaps/TV series Dallas and Dynasty popular in the 80s) will be embraced by Hollywood and he will be on his way. Well, not quite. With his wacky neighbours and even stranger family members to contend with, Jayson travels the country in search of fame and fortune.

I LOVED this book. Kilmer-Purcell presents a host of unique and quirky characters with a fascinating, hilarious, almost surreal story line with locales that span the country and morals that run the gamut. The story is set in the 1980s and is filled with references to TV series of that decade. I was thrilled when he mentioned one I was familiar with. He often compares Jayson’s life to a TV series and uses lots of TV lingo. I laughed out loud many times while reading the book; I didn’t want to put it down. It’s not just funny; it’s smart, interesting, entertaining and thought provoking.

While my life is nothing like Jayson’s, I did at times I feel a connection to him in that I, too, feel like I’m surrounded by “crazies”. Some days I wish I could get a “cast change” in my life. One of favourite quotes from the book regarding this:
Jayson had always thought that he was the normal one in the circus that surrounded him. He’d always, in the back of his mind, felt that Toni, and Willie, and Garth, and Franck, and Gavin and everyone else who’d ever found themselves part of the Blocher menagerie were the mutants, and that it was he who put the thin veneer of normalcy out in front of the world. But it was so clear to him now. He belonged in his queer family. He was one of them. One of the freak show.

The P.S. section at the end of the book was equally entertaining. If you read one only P.S. section in any of the HarperCollins books, make it this one. You won’t be sorry.

I definitely want to read Kilmer-Purcell’s memoir I Am Not Myself These Days.

Highly recommended.

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