Sherman Alexie s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is a short novel labeled young adult but appropriate for adult audiences A mere 230 pages including comic sketches, Alexie details the plight of Arnold aka Junior, a 14 year old Spokane Indian living on a reservation Born with brain damage to alcoholic parents, Junior was never given a chance by anyone to succeed It did not help that in his tribe, no one left the reservation The Spokane Indians would spend their entire lives on the rez in poverty Most kids would attend funerals mainly alcohol related by the one they start high school than most adults do in a lifetime But Arnold wanted something Arnold wanted a chance at achieving his dreams A quarter of the way into his freshman year of high school, Arnold tells his parents he would like to attend Reardan High School 22 miles away Just like that, his parents agree to this request even though they realize that it will be a hardship on them Most of the time, his parents have no money to get him to school and he hitchhikes Yet, Arnold is determined to succeed even if it means being labeled white by his tribe including his best friend Rowdy and Indian or outsider by the rest of his school Arnold had two things going for him his brains and basketball His coach took notice of him and placed him on varsity as a freshman Earning the respect from head jock Roger and head brain Gordy as well semi girl friend Penelope, Arnold slowly becomes part of Reardan s inner circle Through his good grades and stellar play on the basketball court, the other students do not label Arnold as that Indian kid by the end of the school year Filled with teenage angst and dealing with mature themes such as death to loved ones and alcoholism, this book has been banned in many communities Despite the comics that made me laugh, this is not a book that I would want my kids to read until they are mature enough to handle it Yet, this is a powerful book for adults, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a glimpse into contemporary life on an Indian reservation, which is unfortunately not only the glitz of the casinos that we hear about Alexie from this short book appears to be a gifted writer, as this won a notable book award I look forward to reading of his works, as well as his documentary film Smoke Signals. The best stories have truth in them Even if it s a fictional story, if it feels realistic, if you can imagine these events taking place in real life, or if it reveals you something about human nature and the world we live in along the way, then it s a golden truth It s even better if the book was shaped from the author s own living experiences Indians don t need your pity They don t want you to feel sorry for their lack of dollar bills or the aggression and racism directed their way.In fact, native peoples have come a long way They have survived, they have resisted, and they have fought They are resilient and smart Today, there are self governing First Nations than a few decades ago Having taken a course on reconciliation and rebuilding of native communities in Canada, I know this to be important and remarkable But unfortunately, in the majority of cases, the reserves are poorly managed, without well developed services and, at times, dangerous places Arnold Spirit, the hero of this book, lives on one of those reserves.All he wants is to get out of it He is convinced that s the only way he ll survive and have the slightest of chances to become someone So far, so good he s transferring to an all white high school and trying to fit in, or at least not cause any trouble, but he can t escape the place he grew up in so easily, especially since he has to go back there every day, and he certainly can t escape his skin colour The author s writing is thoroughly engaging I wasn t expecting to finish this one in one sitting, and yet I didn t want to interrupt my reading for any reasonable reason The humour is on point, the tone a mix of light and serious, and Arnold s experiences extremely relatable I may be a born Romanian Canadian girl who has only been the target of racist comments a maximum of four times in my life, but we all understand what it means to have insecurities and to be unsure if we could ever fit in somewhere And pain This is a notion foreign to no one Unless you ve lived a completely sheltered life, you ve had your heart broken once or twice or a dozen times Rest assured, many await you This novel should be a mandatory read for teenagers in every school It s not only eye opening, insightful and relatable, it s also very reassuring Whatever ails your soul, you ll get through it After all, the human body was programmed to stay alive Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin 2018 update with all of the women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment from Alexie, I m no longer comfortable with the glowing review I originally wrote I still think the book is fantastic, but I don t think the same of its author, and I can t promote his writing with any enthusiasm I ll leave the original review below.I kinda got on the Sherman Alexie bandwagon, as an undergrad, when all freshmen were required to read his The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven I liked it Put it next to Plato s Republic and it was pretty damn exciting But I didn t go out and gobble up all this other books Plus I m not the hugest fan of short stories But you know me, I m a sucker for YA And for YA that everyone s been raving about And that wins the National Book Award.Here s one of my favorite things about the book almost everything that makes you laugh is also heartbreaking This in no way makes it less funny, or less sad It s both, perfectly, at once Just like the times when Junior is heartbroken but can t stop laughing.Also, Junior is a book kisser I grabbed my book and opened it up.I wanted to smell it.Heck, I wanted to kiss it.Yes, kiss it.That s right, I m a book kisser.Maybe that s kind of perverted or maybe it s just romantic and highly intelligent.While it certainly packs a punch, it s a quick, engaging read and I think it would be equally engaging to high schoolers and adults It s one I could pick up and read through again, if I didn t have so many others waiting for me.Also, the 1 and 2 star reviews on are pretty diverting The protagonist is too similar to all of those annoying protagonists in young adult fiction today, says the 1 star Yes, they re all so annoying aren t they They re not, you know, struggling with figuring out who they are and what their place is in the world They don t have problems with friends or family or school or themselves They re simply annoying Oh, teenagers Both reviews pick on the Catcher in the Rye similarities, but honestly I never thought of Catcher until Junior mentioned it on his list of favorite books Along with The Grapes of Wrath And Feed And Fat Kid Rules the World And Invisible Man And some others that I haven t read But really, I was struck by the inclusion of Steinbeck and Ellison than the others you have poverty and you have race, pretty squarely represented Issues that are much emphasized, I would say, than any similarities to Holden. Everyone on the rez calls me a retard about twice a day They call me a retard when they are pantsing me or stuffing my head in the toilet or just smacking me upside the head Do you know what happens to retards on the rez We get beat up At least one a month Yep, I belong to the Black Eye of the Month Club When you re 14 year old and treated like a leper.as much as being outdoors is where every kid wants to be.staying indoors feels safer So, mostly Arnold Junior Spirit hangs out alone in his bedroom and reads books and draws cartoons He draws everyone around him his mom, dad, sister, grandmother, and best friend, Rowdy Junior had felt like an outcast from as far back as he could remember within his own tribe starting with some medical problems When he leaves the Spokane Indian reservation to attend an all white school 22 miles away he is still an outcast To choose not to drink alcohol or live a life of poverty is going against the grain on the reservation To be happy and successful feels threatening to his friends back home Being the only Native American in an all white school also has its challenges Plus..dealing with deep personal loss and grief on top of the normal hardships of parents who drink too much some parents hit their kids bullying best friends break off devastating..but find the power to forgive healing..but also real painful loss death a wasteful death MY GOD..you just want to CRY YOUR EYES OUT Junior did I did too At the same time through the sadness tears Junior inspires us with his Humor and strength A few great laughs Junior is one of the bravest and most courageous young men I ve ever met through ANY NOVEL in my LIFE Is it possible to love a 14 year old boy character And it goes without saying whew, my own tears just keep on coming.That Sherman Alexie is a BEAUTIFUL MAN His contributions have been HUGE I ve heard Alexie speak a few times in Berkeley last summer and every time I ve heard him speak I always come away feeling INSPIRED MOVED THE MAN is LOVE REAL His contributions have come from his passions and love I heard him talk about how excruciating hard painful it was to write this book.facing the old demons emotions from his childhood This IS a NOVELbut only Alexie could have written it A very special Thank You for my special SIGNED COPY hard copy of this book by a group of very special friends in San Francisco they know who they are THANK YOU with all my heart for this book Their gift is very special.with great memories I put off reading it for almost a year because I knew I was going to cry I did couldn t be avoided A FAVORITE Should be required reading not banned lol But 1 banned books in the United States was kinda cool too Funny anyway Got people interested 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 MascotHeartbreaking, 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 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 LiveWith A Forward By Markus Zusak Interviews With Sherman Alexie And Ellen Forney The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Sherman AlexieThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is a novel by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Ellen Forney The book won several awards, and was the first young adult fiction work by Alexie, a stand up comedian, screenwriter, film producer, and songwriter who has previously written adult novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays Alexie stated, I wrote the book because so many librarians, teachers, and teenagers kept asking me to write one 2011 1390 277 9789643697471 21 1388. Sooo what do I know about Indians aka Native Americans Well, apparently the average white American knows very little about them and, whether that s true or not, I can confirm that the average Brit knows NOTHING about them That would include me Or it would have included me before I read this book.This book was one of the biggest eye openers ever A very funny, kinda sad, eye opening experience You see, Arnold Spirit was born on an Indian reservation and raised amongst Indians and educated in Indian schools and his life really just sucks Big time If the author didn t carry this story off with such witty humour, it would simply be a FML rant about poverty, death, alcoholism, abusive parents and just the sense that Hope is not even living in the same dimension as Native Americans.The fact that all the book covers for this are incredibly childish is very misleading It becomes apparent when you re reading it that the cover is a picture of Arnold s doodles that he does to entertain himself and to avoid going completely insane but this is not a kid s book In fact, I think it will be much appreciated by the older end of the young adult audience and, of course, adults themselves It s an education as well as an entertaining story.I suppose that ultimately this book is about overcoming obstacles and finding hope in the darkest places I obviously should write cheesy taglines for a living , or even just a bit of humour. This book has sort of been on my radar, and yesterday I saw it on one of my student s desk I excitedly asked him what he thought of it, and his face lit up He told me he had just finished it and repeated, It was a really good book about three times, with the most genuine smile I ve seen from this kid all year When I told him it was on my list of books I wanted to read, he handed it to me and said, take it Huh Then he showed me the sticker on the front cover that said, FREE BOOK Read and Release He shrugged his shoulders and said, I m supposed to pass it on As it turns out, there is a Whatcom Reads program, and this title is circulating throughout the county The whole idea is that you read it and pass it, and I had the good fortune of being handed this beautiful book The fact that one of my students passed it makes it that much cooler I sat down on my couch tonight and laughed and cried and wished there was someone here besides the cats to share it with I thought it was amazing. Confession time I ve been a bit of a snob when it comes to YA literature The idea that this type of writing was beneath me, not able to give me what I wanted from a story were my main excuses I m not going to say that YA fiction is ever going to replace literary adult fiction, but I will say that it has opened my eyes THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART TIME INDIAN is a magnificent read The story centers around Junior, a Spokane Indian, and his family who live on a reservation To be honest, I was leery coming into this book I had read FLIGHT and RESERVATION BLUES and INDIAN KILLER and THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN, and I was expecting little from this book Mainly I read it because it won the National Book Award But Sherman Alexie makes a very straightforward narrative electrifying Being a South Dakotan, I understand the tenuous relationship between Whites and Native Americans, and to think that I would be moved by a Spokane Indian was never really plausible in my mind Alexie moved me His words and ideas and descriptions gave me an insight that I previously lacked Reading Junior s story gave me the chance to see what it is like to know as a young person what your future will hold if raised on a reservation The word bleak does not adequately describe these people s futures it is much darker than that But Alexie doesn t just paint a grim picture of reservation life he also illuminates the aspects of life that should be cherished within all colors family and hope Junior doesn t have a lot of hope, at first But as the story progresses, his family provides him with the needed hope to see that the borders of the reservation are meant to be broken, that it is okay to explore life without knowing what the outcome is going to be At times hilarious, heart wrenching, and provocative, this quick read is anything but simple Well, done, Mr Alexie, well done Plus, who doesn t like reading about basketball every once in awhile in a novel HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Funny, poignant and heartbreaking, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part time Indian turned out to be an amazing read.Dealing with hydrocephalus, poverty, constant bullying and frequent deaths in a family of drunks, Arnold aka Junior goes through an undeniably hard life growing up in the Spokane Indian Reservation The journey of this 14 year old trying to manifest his dreams into reality by shifting to an all white school, after alienating his bestfriend and the entire community and gearing up to face a judgemental racist society is intrepid and inspiring After a considerable period of struggle, fistfights and basketball games, he carves a place for himself in the school earning the respect of his peers, albeit grudgingly and gets his bestfriend back.The writing is laconic and the comic sketches are endearingly witty Enmeshing adult themes in an adolescent background, this book is a real page turner.
Sherman J Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966 A Spokane Coeur d Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA Alexie has published 18 books to date Alexie is an award winning and prolific author and occasional comedian Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American Sherman s best known works in
- 230 pages
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
- Sherman Alexie
- 10 May 2019 Sherman Alexie