Dirty Chick

  • by Antonia Murphy
  • Narrated by Antonia Murphy
  • 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"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).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Loved 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.
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- kara-karina "A reviewer on Nocturnal Book Reviews since 2011. Love fantasy of any kind, contemporary fiction, kick butt heroines & antiheroes."

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.
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- Jeremy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-22-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios