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Josh Kilmer-Purcell [Hardcover]

Candy Everybody Wants Edition: First
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harper (2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0739498754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739498750
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,115,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as cute as it thinks 4 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is entirely possible to enjoy a book with an unlikeable main character- Humbert Humbert or Patrick Bateman spring to mind. But the book needs to be well written and subtle. This novel is painted in broad strokes and is intended, I think, to be heartwarming. So the repellent nature of the protagonist is a bit of a problem. Jayson Blocher is obsessed with television and wants nothing else in life than to become famous. With his madcap family he has some wacky adventures in New York and Hollywood and along the way he learns Important Lessons About Life. I find him to be shallow and irritating without anything very interesting or witty to say for himself and far too self-consciously cute, and the book is not written with enough skill or substance for his celebrity aspirations to be taken as a comment on these modern times.

There are some juicily enjoyable characters, like ageing television star Helen "La" Lawson who's a vulgar and outrageous drunk, and it almost paints an interesting picture of New York in the early 1980s, when parts of it were still wild and lawless (though that's a bit clumsy and overdone with its guest appearances from Andy Warhol, Studio 54 and Madonna). But mostly this novel seems to be a strange kind of wish fulfilment, where even the squalor is something to brag about. It all seems to fall into place too neatly, and Jayson is the only one who can save the day, of course.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not very original or whacky or zany just cliched 16 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The book was very cliched for me. A view of gay people attracting zany, whacky sidekicks by virtue of their alternative lifestyle just doesnt ring true anymore. Homosexuality isnt an alternative lifestyle, it is valid. I felt Id read all this 20 years ago and even then it was a bit dated. I struggle to see whats new or exciting about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mint candies 4 Oct 2009
By untitled no. 4 VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Candy Everybody Wants is a book about a year in the life of Jayson, a gay teenager aspiring to become a celebrity and his supporting co-stars which include everything from a dysfunctional mother to a devout Christian neighbour. This was also my main problem with the book -- it's full of so many freaks that the author doesn't have the time to develop any of their characters and there are so many things going on that the main thing missing is a plot. The author has clearly never heard that more is sometimes less -- he should have really saved half of the characters and the plot-lines for another book.

The most disappointing bit for me was that after we are repeatedly told that it's Jayson with a Y for an extra flair, towards the end of the book the author lets it slip a couple of times and refer to him Jason. If so far into the book the author, his editor, the proof-reader and the printer have all missed this, it makes me question if they found Jayson to have extra flair in him than I did. Actually, Jayson is, in my opinion, the most boring character in the book.

Now for the good bits about the book:
1. It can be funny, sometimes. I especially found Tara, the pregnant teenage girl to have the best lines.
2. It's enjoyable. It doesn't really require you to think and it's very readable. Would make a great companion on medium-haul flight or as a great alternative to watching paint dry.
3. It's printed on 65% FSC certified paper, so at least it's only a waste of time, not a waste of trees (and don't get me wrong, I think that sometimes wasting time is a good thing).
4. It's already half price on Amazon, which is a fair price for this book.

Oh, one last thing. In the book nobody really wants or likes the candies, they just have no choice. So really, this book should have been titled Candy Nobody Wants.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing fiction debut 29 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jayson Blocher is from small-town Wisconsin but wants to make it big in showbiz in NY. This novel charts his attempt to gate crash the world of trashy TV and become a celebrity.

I chose this book because the advertising blurb compared it to a cross between Armistead Maupin and Beautiful People. I really liked the first few pages, consisting of a tv script written by Jayson for an episode of "Dallasty" but it was strictly down hill from then on. Whereas "Tales of the City" had bucket loads of charm and you really cared about Michael Tolliver and his friends, here the characters are cardboard thin and just act as mouthpieces for a series of not very funny jokes. It's hard to care about any of them.

Josh Kilmer-Purcell is obviously a talented writer as his memoir "I Am Not Myself These Days" won heaps of praise and is being made into a film, but this is his fiction debut and he seems to have stumbled at the first fence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet & Sour Candy? 4 Aug 2009
By techpuppy TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Thankfully the book's much more enjoyable than the 10,000 Maniacs song that gave it its name, but it has a similarly outdated feel. Of course it starts in the early 80's so the retro feel is deliberate but reading it now in a moment where gay adolescence is being increasingly portrayed in a more positive and less dysfunctional way, in TV series like Ugly Betty or the BBC's Beautiful People, it seems to hit a slightly bittersweet note.

Or maybe 'sweet and sour' is a better description, given the ups and downs of the main character Jayson Blocher in his journey toward celebrity. Josh Kilmer-Purcell doesn't quite handle the outlandish coincidences of the plot with the wit of Armistead Maupin - but he's not far off.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Campy and funny
Set in the 1980s, Candy Everybody Wants is a campy and funny read about the quest for fame, and the protagonist Jayson's determination to make his dream come true. Hilarious.
Published 7 months ago by Sharil Dewa
3.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet Candy
Candy Everybody Wants is an okay book. It's very easy to read and you do end up caring about most of the characters. Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2010 by JJ Denny
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable.....but not terribly memorable
Ok this is enjoyable, I will admit that. But in general this is as others have stated a rather Cliched filled, sickly kind of book that doesn't remain with you for more than a few... Read more
Published on 17 Dec 2009 by M. R. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars OK, I enjoyed this - just don't tell anyone!
Sometimes, you find yourself with nothing to read of an evening, and reluctantly - grudgingly - you pick up a book that your wife or girlfriend has chosen. Read more
Published on 26 Nov 2009 by Russell Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars gay teenage rags to riches romance
Josh Kilmer - Purcell's novel set in 80's america is a joyous romp telling the story of gay teenager Jayson Blocher who longs to be a star. Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2009 by J. Aitken
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun and different
Witty and different, this book is entertaining from start to finish. It's hardly a literary masterpiece, but Jayson makes a flawed, but engaging protaganist giving the reader an... Read more
Published on 16 Oct 2009 by Cat
3.0 out of 5 stars decent
The first thing of note is that this book is a bit childish but it is pretty enchanting all the same,it is a rags to riches story where one lad takes on his own world and does all... Read more
Published on 16 Oct 2009 by sean paul mccann
4.0 out of 5 stars Three and a Half candy?
I grew up gay in a small town so some of the situations are painfully familiar however some of the situations don't ring true. Read more
Published on 15 Oct 2009 by Benjamin J. Whitehouse
2.0 out of 5 stars *-*-*Amusing look back at growing up gay in small town America*-*-*
Poignant look back at growing up gay in small town USA during the years of Soft Cell, Nancy Reagan and AIDS. Read more
Published on 15 Oct 2009 by Mr. Philip Harkins
2.0 out of 5 stars Erm, I dont think so!
Erm? I really have no idea what to make of this book. The character development was appalling and to be quite honest, "Jayson with a Y" got on my nerves the whole way through... Read more
Published on 14 Oct 2009 by Claire, Lulu
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