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Jonny Appleseed
2018
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Summary
"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 novel. 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 next seven days are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's world 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 Indigenous life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.
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Booklist Review
Whitehead, an award-winning poet and author of the wildly idiosyncratic collection full-metal indigiqueer (2017), is a member of the Oji-Cree, an indigenous group native to Manitoba, Canada, and identifies as Two-Spirit, a term used by some North American tribes for gender-nonbinary folks. From the opening line of his debut novel (I figured out I was gay when I was eight.) to the refreshingly candid depictions of online sex chats to unflinching portrayals of poverty and reservation life, Whitehead's groundbreaking talerevels in twenty-first-century, queer, Native culture. The titular Jonny Appleseed struggles to pay the bills by performing as a cybersex worker, transforming into innumerable fantasy characters for paying clients, even self-consciously fetishizing himself as Poqasquaw and Chief Wansom Tail. 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.--Báez, Diego Copyright 2010 Booklist
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