"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).
©2015 Antonia Murphy (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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"Laughed my @$$ off!"
Some of my enjoyment may have been due to the fact that I moved my own family to a small farm a little over a year ago, but I think that anyone could enjoy her writing and narrating style. - Although there are some parts that are pranks a little to explicit (maybe a lot too explicit) for the kiddos to enjoy, my wife and I found her blatant disregard for social correctness absolutely hilarious and enjoyable to listen to.
Now I'm just hoping for an eventual sequel.
"Just the right kind of crazy!"
this would have to be at the top of my list of Audiobooks. And it is a LONG list.
Antonia, herself, is my favorite because I totally related to her and her schemes.
Skin had to have been my favorite character of all.
Yes but I didn't listen all in one sitting. It took two days. A girl has to go to the bathroom eventually.
I read this book on Audible. If you are unfamiliar with audible it is a place to buy and listen to books. They have a fantastic selection in every genre. You should really head over and check it out. I happen to love to listen to book while I am driving. I find that audible is the solution to road rage for me in LA traffic.
So all that being said, here are the meat and potatoes. This book was read by the Author, Antonia Murphy, for Audible. I really like hearing an Author read the book they wrote. I have been fortunate to have had only good experiences in that area. Antonia did wonderful adding accents of her neighbors. She apologizes in the beginning for massacring their accents but my untrained American ear LOVED them. Ms Murphy should never allow anyone else to read her books for audible other than herself. It added a girlfriend feel to the book that was priceless.
This book is HILARIOUS. I never stopped laughing. Well except for the funeral. Only crazy people laugh at a funeral right? Having fantasy's myself of growing my own veggies and maybe having a chicken or two, I could totally relate to the "accidental" way Ms. Murphy ended up with 20 animals. Ms Murphy tells us how a California girl ended up in New Zealand. Her explanation of how getting on a boat and sailing to New Zealand happens. She admits to her mistakes and missteps along the way. Her introduction to her neighbors, her children and the story of how she ended up a with a zoo full of animals is charming, hysterical, and well almost enchanting. Not enchanting enough for this California Girl to move to New Zealand...well at least not today. But almost. Is that crazy? I hope not. But if it is, it is the right kind of crazy for me.
"Funny, clever, emotional and highly entertaining"
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, clever, 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.
Listening to or reading autobiographies is something I haven't done since I was a teenager, but when I had an opportunity to review Dirty Chick I had to grab it with both hands. You see, Antonia's adventures as a newly minted farmer is something I could relate to and was intensely curious to compare with my own experience.
Personal reasons aside, this book is funny, at times hysterically comical, smart, self-deprecating and bittersweet. Antonia narrates it herself and does a fantastic job depicting various accents and characters of her friends and family. It's also a very quick listen (I recall sawing wood while I was at it).
Antonia and Peter move to New Zealand from San Fransisco in search of more affordable life, and when their son is born with a rare genetic disorder, they decide to stay for the health system and a way of life which would afford him an existence as close to normal as possible.
Renting a farm house in rural New Zealand for a year, Antonia decides to have a go at being a farmer imagining this picturesque, wonderfully calm living where she potters round and create this wonderful artisanal produce for sale. The reality is far from what she imagined.
Soon she is overrun by a herd of animals who are more pets than valuable produce, the fence is collapsing, the goats ruin any cars parked nearby, there is crap everywhere, her kimchi is a disaster, her cheese is mouldy and her evenings are spent in a blissful haze due to the copious amounts of homemade wine.
However, the sense of community is wonderful, her friends are always ready to lend a hand or a roast chicken, and when disasters strike (and they do!) all people around her unite to help.
I mentioned that this book is bittersweet, and I admit, because it's mostly humorous, when something bad happens it cuts you worse than usual. I had tears in my eyes a few times, but I finished this book with sense of wonder and I felt inspired.
Very much recommended.
"This book was a delightful surprise!!"
I've already recommended to everybody I know, so a definite YES on this.
I don't really know; it's fairly unique. Although, the author's humor put me in mind of Bill Bryson at times...Bill Bryson when he's not whining about something.
The story of the Billy Goats Gruff...? Maybe? Hard to choose. I laughed until I snorted.
Uhhh...not so much moved me, as made me howl with laughter. It definitely moved me to tears of laughter.
Just loved it. I haven't had so much fun with a book for a very, very, long time.
"Funny, sometimes gross and crude, yet I *relate* ."
I laughed out loud a few times, smiled to myself often, and sometimes cringed in disgust. It's a book that is written as if you are listening to a old and dear friend share their latest over a cup of coffee. (Very little is held back for the sake of propriety - so if you are into propriety this book's not for you.)
I was milking my goats just as the audiobook went into a chapter covering the impending birth of a goat kid and the necessity of preparing the doe for being milked. Made me laugh as it related to my own experiences with dairy goats.
The various animal adventures were actually educational for me, I've have chickens and still learned something new, something I had never thought about . . .
The crafts described and artisnal foods, especially the cheeses mentioned, were fascinating and may . . . be . . . inspiring.
The conversational tone the book is written in made it easy and light fare.
"A great story about pursuing dreams"
As a special needs parent of a child with epilepsy, Antonia's story took on an especially personal nature. I applaud the family for following its dreams and taking risks to fulfill them.
"Outrageous good laughing ground"
Yes, it's a great read. For those of us who have negotiated the transition from urban professionals to lifestyle farmers this book reminds us how far we have come in recent years and makes us feel for others who have overcome hurdles greater than our own.
The breezy down to earth style of the narrative
It's great to be able to hear the authour's own interpretation of her book. As I know Antonia and Peter personally I can appreciate her use of journalistic licence in pursuit of a good story even when what she says about me reaches the point of grating a little.
occasional mild outrage but predominantly happy laughter
disclosure: I supplied the alpacas to Antonia and Peter and no they don't tear people's flesh!
"Clueless + Not so bright = Hilarious memoir?"
The story is an interesting look at obstacles faced when adopting a new country as your own, starting a family, and attempting a radical change of lifestyle all at the same time.
I listened to most of this at high speed, having developed an intense dislike for the author, who seems like a dorky dips#!t as she stumbles clueless through life, apparently finding her own dumb mistakes hilarious/adorable, and her own children annoying. The way she speaks to and about her kids, with so little respect, infuriated me. The annoying voice she used to represent her daughter's speech was a real mistake; someone in Production should have corrected her immediately.
This emigre's story is interesting in it's basic premise, but when I feel that the protagonist is a jerk, it's hard for me to enjoy a story. Skip this!
"Absolutely worth a credit!"
At first I wasn't sure whether I'd really get into it the story, based on the author's politics (left wing Bay Area), but that turned out not to be much of a problem. For the most part it's the story of settling down in a small community. Antonia (pronounced An-tone-EE-ah, as in the Cather story) is easy to relate to as a character; her husband works in an outside tech job (which is how they qualified to emigrate), so they aren't large scale farmers, more that they happen to have several critters. It might help to be an animal person a bit to appreciate the story fully, but I'm not and rarely wished she'd move along. There are stories involving friends and neighbors, as well as the challenges regarding their disabled son. Their three-year-old daughter I found a tad precocious at times, but that could have been partly due to her odd syntax (as though English were her second language). All in all, the book is definitely recommended!
The author's choice to read the book herself was a wise one. In spite of her disclaimer that her accents may not be the greatest, she seemed to do NZ ones quite well. As a matter of fact, she might even be a pretty good narrator if they were looking for another source of income.
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