Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy

 

Antonia Murphy and her family move from San Francisco to New Zealand expecting a quiet, peaceful life in the country where their children can thrive. Dirty Chick is an expat memoir of their first year as “hobby farmers” in a place where the local families have a centuries-old history of serious farming.

Murphy provides a hilarious dose of reality: If you’ve ever had a romantic urge to move to the beautiful countryside and raise some sweet, adorable animals, you’ll think again after reading this book. I laughed out loud a lot. She had me googling “duck penis” (warning: NSFW) within the first six pages!

But—and this was a huge issue for me—I grew more and more uncomfortable with how casually she was with the rape humor. Is it necessary to anthropomorphize animal mating rituals and equate them with sexual assault, over and over again? Even worse, attempt to make it funny? I couldn’t help but feel that her irreverent sense of humor crossed a line: Rape isn’t a joke. Period.

I love a good expat memoir. I enjoy reading about making new friendships and putting down roots, and the unexpected adventures that come along with that. I know nothing about farming, at all, so that was pretty fascinating. Unfortunately, I grew so tired of the raunchy humor that by the end, I felt ambivalent toward the book overall.