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Jonny Appleseed

por Joshua Whitehead

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4501755,227 (3.69)40
"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 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.… (mais)
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Not really much of a story to this – Jonny is a gay indigenous boy growing up on the rez, and he moves to Winnipeg when he gets older, where he becomes a prostitute (my mistake – apparently not a prostitute, but a cybersex worker).

It was not in chronological order, and it was quite sexually graphic at times. The author narrated the audio – I rarely lost focus, but he did have a monotone voice. Turns out there might have been more of a “plot” than I thought (although, still kind of flimsy, I think), so maybe I did miss more than I thought. For some reason, I had it in my head that indigenous 2-spirit people were more accepted in indigenous cultures than gay people in white cultures, but (at least in this book) that doesn’t appear to be the case. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jan 19, 2022 |
Cannot cope with this much sex and sexuality right now when my health is shit and libido nonexistent so I'm abandoning this after chapter 2. The writing isn't bad and if Joshua Whitehead had some escapist lit to offer I'd be very down with that. (Oh look! Joshua's got some speculative fiction in a short story anthology available from the library. Bring it!)
  fionaanne | Nov 11, 2021 |
I did not like this book although the story itself is compelling. My problem with the book is that it’s not very well written and could have used a lot of editing.
The story is about Jonny a two spirit Cree youth from the Peguis nation near Selkirk Manitoba. He leaves the rez for Winnipeg and becomes a cyber sex worker. His best friend Tias is already there so that helps with his urban integration. His life is difficult but he scrapes by. The most important person in his life aside from Tias life is his grandmother or Kokum who loves him unconditionally. Her personality and stories make up for the other problems with the book. Jonny’s tales of life on the Rez are hard, sad, discouraging but also hopeful when families come together and look after one another. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Oct 20, 2021 |
This winner of the 2021 Canada Reads event is narrated by Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer Jonny, a sex worker who relates episodes from his life as he is making his way back to the reservation for his stepfather's funeral. There are brutally graphic and disturbing descriptions mixed with beautiful lyrical ones. The audiobook, which I recommend, is narrated by the author himself. ( )
  mathgirl40 | Aug 25, 2021 |
This book won the 2021 Canada Reads debate and I think it was the right book to choose for that accolade. It is well written, it has an interesting story and it is a book that will make everyone who reads it think about what it means to be indigenous in this country and particularly what it means to be LGBTQ+. This summer which has shown us how many children who went to residential schools didn't make it out of them is, I believe, a watershed in settler/indigenous reconciliation. However, those people who are survivors of the residential school system had a profound impact on how their descendants exist in this country and reconciliation with them has to be a primary goal for every Canadian.

Jonny Appleseed grew up on the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. It is the largest First Nation community in Manitoba and consists of people of Ojibway and Cree descent. Jonny knew from a young age that he was gay. Some people teased him about his behaviour but those who were important to him, his mother and his grandmother (Kokum), supported him. His best friend and occasional lover, Tias, was also an important source of support but Tias denied he was gay and had a girlfriend as well. When his Kokum died Jonny was deeply depressed for days and Tias helped him get back on his feet. When Jonny decided to move to Winnipeg Tias and his girlfriend helped him move. Jonny earns his living in Winnipeg by arranging (mostly virtual) sex encounters with other men. His earnings don't give him an elaborate lifestyle but he does manage to pay his rent, buy food and get the occasional bottle of liquor or hit of drugs. He hasn't been home to Peguis for some time but he has just received word that his stepfather has died and he needs to get home to support his mother. So he needs to earn extra money fast which he does by scheduling back to back sexual encounters. As he does this we learn about his past in Peguis and his present in Winnipeg. It couldn't be considered an ideal life but it is what works for Jonny. He is a survivor and by the end of the book we know he will be okay.

I am looking forward to seeing more from Joshua Whitehead. This book has the feel of a memoir but the moments of grace of poetry. I'll bet he has more to show us. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jul 2, 2021 |
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For nohkomak, kisakihitin; & for Terri Cameron, I miss you every day.
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I figured out that I was gay when I was eight.
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"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 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.

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