‘Dirty Chick’ by Antonia Murphy of Purua, Northland

(words courtesy of AntoniaMurphy.com)

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An uproarious memoir chronicling the misadventures of a born-and-bred San Franciscan who leaves city life to become an artisanal farmer in New Zealand

After a traumatic experience caring for her father’s chicken, Antonia Murphy vowed to never again take responsibility for a living creature besides her children. That all changed when Antonia uprooted her urban family and moved to Purua, New Zealand, a small rural community where many of the residents lived as their forebears had done for centuries, raising livestock, growing their own food, and making cheese.

It was an odd place for American yuppies to settle, but after Antonia’s five-year-old son was diagnosed with a developmental delay, she feared that he would struggle at a fast-paced city school. She and her husband wanted him to grow up in a place where he could thrive and be part of a community. How great it would be to get back to the land! How responsible and progressive and eco-friendly, she thought. So what if she had zero farming experience? How hard could it be?

As Antonia later noted, “You don’t see dairy farmers moving to the city with big ideas about being cardiologists for fun.” Soon, she found herself carrying poop in her purse, trying to wrangle a rogue dairy cow, and impregnating a goat. But Antonia soldiered on, slowly becoming addicted to farm life—even if she’ll never be a natural.

Part touching story of a family starting over and part raunchy send-up of the burgeoning artisan farming movement, Dirty Chick will make readers laugh, cringe, and root for its incredible, unlikely heroine.

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