Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
Pocket. Arsenal Pulp Press. 2018. New Condition
“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 world 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 Indigenous life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.