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Publisher's Summary

Winner, Lambda Literary Award; Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction

Finalist, Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction; Amazon Canada First Novel Award; Indigenous Voices Award; Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award; Firecracker Award for Fiction

Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

A tour-de-force debut novel about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man and proud NDN glitter princess who must reckon with his past when he returns home to his reserve.

“You're gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine” is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling debut novel by poet Joshua Whitehead. 

Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the “rez” - and his former life - to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The seven days that follow are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's life is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages - and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life. 

Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of First Nations life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams. 

Bespeak Audio Editions brings Canadian voices to the world with audiobook editions of some of the country’s greatest works of literature, performed by Canadian actors.

©2018 Joshua Whitehead (P)2019 Bespeak Audio Editions

Critic Reviews

"If we're lucky, we'll find one or two books in a lifetime that change the language of story, that manage to illuminate new curves in the flat vessels of old letters and words. This is one of those books. Jonny Appleseed gifts us with clarity in the shape of sharp, and medicine in the guise of soft - and a sexy, powerful, broken, beautiful hero who has enough capacity in the dent of a clavicle to hold all the tears of his family. This book gives us back the land of curb and field, trailer and ledge, and the community - in all its rusted and complicated glory. Most importantly, this book gifts us with the opportunity to hear the innovative and the ancient in the prose of a new literary goddess, Joshua Whitehead." (Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves)

"Jonny Appleseed weaponizes story to bring the rez (and urban rez) to life, shrouding its characters in luminous layers so they're neither good nor bad but immersed in worlds and words. Unflinching and intimate, Joshua Whitehead takes his readers on a journey to the heart of an NDN glitter princess with generous, swooning prose. Unforgettable." (Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster)

"With only seven days until he returns home for his stepfather's funeral, Appleseed spends a pyretic week attempting to reconcile the competing factions of his life: sex, friends, work, sex, family, identity, sex. Throughout, memories of his kokum (grandmother) intrude upon the chaos, and these unexpected moments of remembrance prove most striking. A radically original new voice." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Jonny Appleseed

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • doug jarvie
  • 08-05-2021

Open Door

Think of this book as an invitation into the way of life of someone you have just met. The door has been opened and you can cautiously enter into the home of a culture and belief system that exists in parallel with the teachings and beliefs of your home and culture. Be brave and open your mind to learn.

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  • Kris De Leon
  • 17-03-2021

Incredible!

This is a beautiful & inspiring book filled with love & pain & moments that will open you up, make you laugh & cry & will stick with you long after the story has finished.

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  • John M Sneezy
  • 11-11-2020

My first Two Spirit themed book/Audible! Awesome!

I can relate to so many of the situations in this book! took me back to my younger days and conquering my own stigma of being Two Spirit!

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  • Nix
  • 16-10-2020

Meegwetch che Meegwetch

I wept more within this book than I have in a long time, Meegwetch.

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  • Alexander Relihan
  • 13-07-2020

a perfect and healing story

Johnny Appleseed is a story that needs to be shared. It's one that holds so much love and humor and power, even as it tells of pain and grief and loss. it's about the power of 2S and queer love to heal and to help reconcile the pain of the past and the love of the present. please read it okay?

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  • Paul
  • 06-02-2020

Amazing

Joshua tells a many stories in one story that offers truth-telling and acceptance to all who enter.

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  • raymond
  • 26-11-2019

this is what story is long and self-hating

I listen to as long as I can but it's all about hitting oneself and selling your body and just old negativity.

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