DIRTY CHICK | BOOK REVIEW

DIRTY CHICK, by Antonia Murphy, is easily one of the funniest books I have ever read. Antonio is batshit crazy and I love her. This is one of those books you will not want to end, it will have you chuckling at the craziness and whip-cracking witty observation. I was sold on the book cover and title before even seeing the blurb. It does not disappoint. DIRTY CHICK is out now from Text Publishing in both paperback and ebook – do yourself a favour and grab a copy – oh and if you have Tumblr – follow Antonia’s odd Tumblr page HERE. DIRTY CHICK was provided by publisher for review purposes. 

 

DIRTY CHICK BOOK COVER IMAGE
DIRTY CHICK | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | BOOK COVER IMAGE

 

San Francisco local Antonia and her husband set sail from San Francisco harbour and have never returned, how on Earth they ended up on a small farm in rural New Zealand is just one part of the interesting capers of this mad family. They agreed to farm-sit for a year, had two lovely kids, and started with a couple of animals, this grew and grew to a living menagerie of 12inch barbed penis rapist ducks, angry spitting alpacas, an escapist cow, multiple car bonnet dancing goats, dead chickens, a dog, cats, animals I have forgotten and worms, mostly in the stomach of the goat. On top of this the farm has many fruit trees and Antonia decided to also make cheese, her own fruit wines, kimchi and doing everything a rural farmer would do, but she/ they had no idea how to do it.

Frowned upon by the locals at the start, because they were suburban city-folk with no idea, they eventually came to be accepted by the people around them who could not help but fall in love with the crazy Antonia and her bobbly ear head bands and her loving family.

Why did they move here? Mostly for Silas, their son, who suffered from a form of autism and had disabilities that would be mostly ignored and pushed into a corner in a special school in the U.S. however in a rural town with a tiny school he would be allowed to enrol there and be a normal student, something that the Murphy’s were determined to achieve for their son.

Antonia’s writing style is superb, it is observational, self deprecating and she embraces taking the piss of herself, the entire story is about how unprepared they were but how she still jumped in and found her way in this different world. From nursing animals, allowing them to overtake the house, getting way too pissed regularly on homemade fruit wine to threatening to kill the animals she never relents in the absurdity of this situation.

 

ANOTNIA MURPHY PRESS IMAGE
DIRTY CHICK | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | ANTONIA MURPHY

 

“You want a piece of me?” I’d growl, wielding my red plastic armour. “Try it, rooster. I’ll pull your guts right out of your arse.” I meant it, too. Now that we were starting to learn some skills on the farm, I wasn’t so scared of the half-metre punk.Their entire world is out of control hectic and besides the crazy humour it is also a superb realistic, warts-and-all look into small time hobby-farming that as opposed to turning me off makes me more keen to live a lifestyle like this.

And not only the above it has a look at bringing up a disabled child, the way Anotonia discusses Silas is superb, it is the most real I have ever read or seen, and some people might be offended the way she describes him, “that kid’s an alien'” for example. I was also concerned at first that Silas got second hand attention after the animal horde, but then it hit me, the book isn’t about Silas, it is not a story about a disabled child, it is not something to be raised on a pedestal and preached about, it is the Murphy family life, Silas is just one of the family. Watching the family raising animals, children, and at times, Antonia herself, you can just see this is a family unit and these are their crazy tales. Silas is partly responsible for the way the family is, and you know what, this is a good thing. We see some of his highs and lows, and while sometimes sad and heart wrenching it is more times hysterical reading about his fondness for playing with his own pooh and decorating the inside of a car and everything he could find inside said car. Hearing Anotnia describe these situations is bloody hysterical.

She is unapologetic in her writing, the Murphy’s are who are they are, take them or leave them. Some people may not be overly fond of the graphic language or the bohemian border-like way of their life, but for me, they are my kind of people, I would happily get my arm up to my elbow inside a goat with them and I can imagine crutching a sheep with a glass of Antonia’s peach wine would actually be fun.

I long for a follow up book of their second year of farming. A must read. Now to finalise this review you must now Google “duck penis images.” Put it this way………………….

 

GORILLA AND DUCK PENIS COMPARISON IMAGE
DIRTY CHICK | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | GORILLA AND DUCK PENIS COMPARISON

 

4 and a Half Pops