Nonfiction – Memoir
Released January 22, 2015
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
After sailing the world for a few years, San Francisco urbanite Antonia and her husband, Peter, settle in a remote farm community in New Zealand (Purua) hoping to find a stable environment for their developmentally delayed son…and end up becoming amateur farmers.
Dirty Chick is a fun, eye-opening, hilarious romp through what happens when a city girl decides to become a “lifestyle farmer” (i.e. farming for the fun of it, not as an actual occupation). It’s a quirky book and is chock full of gross animal stories (i.e. if you can’t handle reading about the bodily functions of goats, this book is not for you!). And, I loved Murphy’s voice. I felt like I was listening to that best friend who manages to get into the most bizarre situations, but always has a great story to tell.
But, what really made Dirty Chick for me was all the totally weird things I learned about farm animals and country living. Here’s a sampling:
- A duck’s penis is HUGE (as long as the duck’s entire body!), “spiny”, and “shaped like a corkscrew”. I’m going to look at those sweet things my son feeds at the pond slightly differently now!
- Chickens complete all their bodily functions through the same hole (the “supervagina”, as Murphy calls it).
- Homemade wines (which can be made from fruit, sugar, water, and yeast) are extremely potent, but don’t give you hangovers! Apparently, hangovers are caused by all the chemicals found in commercially produced wine.
- Eating animal colostrum (a mother’s “first milk”, which contains tons of antibodies) is completely accepted and even encouraged in farm communities. And, it apparently makes a delicious pudding. Kourtney Kardashian, do you hear this?!
Amidst all this lightness and humor is the Murphy’s struggle with their developmentally delayed son, Silas. An error in his genetic code causes him to lag behind in almost all developmental areas, especially his speech. The Murphys try to give him as normal a life as possible and he seems to thrive in the country, but are constantly facing issues with his health. The story of Silas gives Dirty Chick an added dimension that takes it beyond quirky chic lit.
Dirty Chick is an unique, light read and a great pick if you’re looking for something short. It’s going on my “Great Books Under 300 Pages” (coming this winter) and 2015 Summer Reading lists (coming in May, click here for last year’s Summer Reading List).