Title: Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer
Author: Antonia Murphy
Narrated by: Antonia Murphy
Genre: Autobiography, Memoir
Publisher: Audible Studios
Source: Review copy from publisher
Length: 7 hrs and 20 mins
“One month into our stay, we’d managed to dispatch most of our charges. We executed the chickens. One of the cats disappeared, clearly disgusted with our urban ways. And Lucky [the cow] was escaping almost daily. It seemed we didn’t have much of a talent for farming. And we still had eleven months to go.”
Antonia Murphy, you might say, is an unlikely farmer. Born and bred in San Francisco, she spent much of her life as a liberal urban cliché, and her interactions with the animal kingdom rarely extended past dinner.
But then she became a mother. And when her eldest son was born with a rare, mysterious genetic condition, she and her husband, Peter, decided it was time to slow down and find a supportive community. So the Murphys moved to Purua, New Zealand—a rural area where most residents maintained private farms, complete with chickens, goats, and (this being New Zealand) sheep. The result was a comic disaster, and when one day their son had a medical crisis, it was also a little bit terrifying.
Dirty Chick chronicles Antonia’s first year of life as an artisan farmer. Having bought into the myth that farming is a peaceful, fulfilling endeavor that allows one to commune with nature and live the way humans were meant to live, Antonia soon realized that the reality is far dirtier and way more disgusting than she ever imagined. Among the things she learned the hard way: Cows are prone to a number of serious bowel ailments, goat mating involves an astounding amount of urine, and roosters are complete and unredeemable assholes.
But for all its traumas, Antonia quickly embraced farm life, getting drunk on homemade wine (it doesn’t cause hangovers!), making cheese (except for the cat hair, it’s a tremendously satisfying hobby), and raising a baby lamb (which was addictively cute until it grew into a sheep). Along the way, she met locals as colorful as the New Zealand countryside, including a seasoned farmer who took a dim view of Antonia’s novice attempts, a Maori man so handy he could survive a zombie apocalypse, and a woman proficient in sculpting alpaca heads made from their own wool.'
Part family drama, part cultural study, and part cautionary tale, Dirty Chick will leave you laughing, cringing, and rooting for an unconventional heroine.
The blurb summarizes perfectly what Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer by Antonia Murphy is all about. I will just add a few things to convince you to read/listen to this book.
This is my first time listening to an autobiography. If I’m honest I never thought I would enjoy a book like Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer, but after I read the blurb and listened to the sample I decided to step out of my comfort zone and give this book a chance and I’m soooo glad I did it. Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer is funny, informative, self-depreciating, emotional, and highly entertaining. I not only had an amazing time listening to this audiobook, I also learned a lot of things about farming, farm animals and more… Let me tell you, after listening to this audiobook I have new respect towards ducks… I used to like them, now… I’m kind of afraid of them… I won’t be able to see them with the same light as I used to… Why? You need to read/listen to this book, but I give you a two-world clue… Rapist ducks. Something else I won’t be able to see in the same light again are Alpacas noses.
Another very interesting tidbit I learned with this book is that homemade wines don’t give hangover. Why I didn’t know this? *runs to look for homemade wine recipes*
Apart from all the interesting facts we learn about country living, Murphy also shows us the difficulties of raising a disable son and a precocious daughter. I admire Murphy and the way she lives her life. Some people may think the way she refers to her son as an alien is deprecating, but I found it honest and cute in a nerdy way. He is really like an alien, he is different from all of them, have problems communicating, and lives in his little own world; but at the same time he is also respected, valued and loved.
Another thing I really liked about this book were the secondary characters and the sense of community in which they live. Knowing they are real people only made it more special. At moments I felt as if I also knew them. I laughed with them and in one occasion I felt pain for them too.
Murphy does a terrific job with the narration. Her different voices were easily distinguished; her different accents were good and funny. I also think that because this is her book, her life, it was easy to feel the emotion behind her words whether they were funny, sad or moving moments.
Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer was a very different book from what I’m used to, but it was a great experience. I enjoyed every single minute of this audiobook; so much I hope Antonia Murphy decides to write a follow up book describing her experiences in her new home.
I recommend this audiobook to all of you. Even if this genre is out of your comfort zone; believe me, you are going to like it.
My Story Verdict: 4 Paws
My Narration Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
My Overall Verdict: 4 Paws
Other reviews Goodreads