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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Cover of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
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  • ATOS:
    4.0
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    7 - 10

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Reviews-
  • DOGO Books hanli - I really enjoyed reading the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part – Time Indian. In the novel, the main character Arnold Spirit, Junior, is traveling throughout his journey of self-discovery. It was a combination of tragedy, drawings, humor, despair, and hope that made me so engaged with reading this book. My heart was simultaneously broke into a million pieces and made me laugh as the pieces are put together over and over again. I was impressed by how the tragic events that took place in the story did not come across as a shock, but instead as natural things that happen in life. The author, Sherman Alexie, was born a Spokane Indian just like Junior, and I believe he wanted his readers to understand how Native American teens that live in reservations struggle to escape the future that was already determined for them. I was inspired by Junior’s hopes and dreams of self-discovery by the people around him, his struggles, and success, to work hard for my own dreams for them to be accomplished. After I read through the novel, I learned that I should never determine a person without getting to know them first, as Sherman had stated in his book, “If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.”
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 20, 2007
    Screenwriter, novelist and poet, Alexie bounds into YA with what might be a Native American equivalent of Angela’s Ashes,
    a coming-of-age story so well observed that its very rootedness in one specific culture is also what lends it universality, and so emotionally honest that the humor almost always proves painful. Presented as the diary of hydrocephalic 14-year-old cartoonist and Spokane Indian Arnold Spirit Jr., the novel revolves around Junior’s desperate hope of escaping the reservation. As he says of his drawings, “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.” He transfers to a public school 22 miles away in a rich farm town where the only other Indian is the team mascot. Although his parents support his decision, everyone else on the rez sees him as a traitor, an apple (“red on the outside and white on the inside”), while at school most teachers and students project stereotypes onto him: “I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other.” Readers begin to understand Junior’s determination as, over the course of the school year, alcoholism and self-destructive behaviors lead to the deaths of close relatives. Unlike protagonists in many YA novels who reclaim or retain ethnic ties in order to find their true selves, Junior must separate from his tribe in order to preserve his identity. Jazzy syntax and Forney’s witty cartoons examining Indian versus White attire and behavior transmute despair into dark humor; Alexie’s no-holds-barred jokes have the effect of throwing the seriousness of his themes into high relief. Ages 14-up.

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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