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Jonny Appleseed
Cover of Jonny Appleseed
Jonny Appleseed
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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...
"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...
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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.

Excerpts-

  • From the book I. I figured that I was gay when I was eight. I stayed up late after everyone went to bed and watched Queer as Folk on my kokum's TV. She had a satellite and all the channels, pirated of course. At the time, my mom and I were living with my kokum because my dad had left us thinking he was Dolly Parton or Garth Brooks or something. Queer as Folk aired at midnight on Showcase; I muted the channel, added subtitles, and watched as four gay men lived their lives in Pittsburgh. I wanted to be like them, I wanted to have lofts and go to gay bars and dance with cute boys and blow and get blown in a Philly gloryhole. I wanted to work in comic shops and universities, be sexy and rich. I wanted that. I often jacked off to Brian Kinney's junk and paused on Justin Taylor's bare white ass to finish. I was meticulous about the whole endeavor: I'd turn down the brightness so as not to wake anyone with the glaring light from the television shining under their doors like Poltergeist. To keep my kokum's brown floral couch clean and to hide myself in the event someone caught me, I brought my blanket and wiped myself with a tube sock. I had to hush my breath and curl my toes tightly to avoid gasping whenever I was about to come. When I finally did, and gushed over my chest, I thought, this must be what beauty feels like: my skin tight and burning and the body morphing into a hole that wants to morph into another. When I got a little older, I think I was fifteen, I remember seeing Dan Savage and Terry Miller telling me that it all gets better on the internet. They told me that they knew what I was going through, that they knew me. How, I thought? You don't know me. You know lattes and condominiums—you don't know what it's like being a brown gay boy on the rez. Hell, I'd never even seen a Starbucks and I sure as hell couldn't tell you why a size small is called 'tall'—that's also around the time when I began to collect clients like matryoshka dolls so I suppose at least my income got better. This was of course before the photo sharing apps that I like to use to conduct my business now, but at that time, the Internet was vibrant with people wanting to connect with other people, especially there in Peguis. We had Facebook and cellphones to keep us in the loop. I used to sext with people in this gaming website's chatrooms. I went by the name Lucia and pretended to be a girl to flirt with other boys. Often we'd play virtual pool or checkers and begin with small talk. Then, once I became Lucia, I'd put ideas of sex into their minds by playing naïve and directing the conversation towards dirty questions. I always liked to let them think they were the ones in control. I'm a sadist like that, I guess. I may be the fantasy but I'm also the shackle. Once the image of breasts and pubic hair was in their minds there was no going back. Sex does strange things to people—it's like blacking out or going on cruise control. Your body knows what it wants and goes for it. This can be dangerous, as I'd learn later, but if you can manipulate the urge, you can almost control a person. I felt like Professor Xavier—like I was telepathic. That was how my webcam career began, with virtual pool and cybersex. That was how I met Tias. He was my first cybernetic boyfriend—I was the Russian princess Lucia and he was the five-years-older-than-he-really-is Native boy who dreamed of losing his virginity. We were quite the digital couple. At the time I wasn't out, but the school knew I was different in some sense. They called me fag, homo, queer—all the fun stuff. But I never let it bother me. I sometimes caught girls and boys...

Reviews-

  • Booklist "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."
  • Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves "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."
  • Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster "Unflinching and intimate, Joshua Whitehead takes his readers on a journey to the heart of an NDN glitter princess with generous, swooning prose. Unforgettable."

Title Information+

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    Arsenal Pulp Press
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