WINNER, Lambda Literary Award
“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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APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Nobody is telling the stories Joshua Whitehead is. The narrator of Jonny Appleseed is a self-proclaimed “NDN glitter princess”—queer, Indigenous, and unashamed. Jonny works in the sex industry, intentionally capitalizing on men who fetishize his culture, and as he prepares to head home to “the rez” for the first time in years, short chapters detail his upbringing, which was largely informed by strong women. We will not soon forget Whitehead’s complex and proud protagonist, a Two-Spirit person balancing a traditional First Nations life with his übercontemporary urban existence.