The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indianby Published 12 Sep 2007
|The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.pdf|
|Publisher||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers|
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 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.
With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" Reviews
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?)
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 more 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 more 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.
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In the same way that John Green and Jesse Andrews use humor to deal with heavy issues like cancer, Sherman Alexie uses a similar device to tackle a variety of difficult subjects. He hits racism, bullying, addiction, death, poverty, and other topics all through his narrator's great sense of humor and his hilarious cartoons.
I don't read a ton of YA stuff (although I sure have been lately!), but I try to at least hit the highlights. I think this is the best YA book I've read since The Knife of Never Letting Go. It took me into a world with a type of racism I honestly didn't know much about. It hits hard at times with dozens of quotable one-liners, but then Junior drops in a fart joke and it softens the blow a little bit.
I thought the humor was great and consistent throughout the entire book. The cartoons really add to the story and at times made me laugh out loud. This is a book you can read in one sitting, too, because the pages turn quickly with all of the drawings and short chapters.
You will cover just about every emotion you have while reading this. In fact, I should have just made this entire review out of emojis. It hits you right in the feels, man.
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 more 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.