Friday, November 22, 2013

Book review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Description from Amazon (below, because the Goodreads description sucked) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

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 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 thought he was destined to live.

I heard of this book from the best of sources -- all the Young Adult (YA) authors I follow on twitter were tweeting about this book. Then, I started my master's program with a woman who went to a tribal college and learned more about Native Americans, who recommended the book. Plus, I knew it had won a billion awards (approximately). So, all good things.

The story starts when Junior realizes that his school, which is on a Native American reservation (the res), is still using science books from when his mother went through school. Through a series of events, he ends up leaving the res to go to a suburban school -- a primarily white suburban school -- a primarily white suburban school in the wealthiest part of town whose mascot is an Indian.

Obviously, life gets a little rough for Junior. He's the Other in his new school (as in, us against them), and folks back at the res don't take too kindly to him leaving the res for a white school. The book follows Junior as he tries to make a better life for himself than the one he had always expected.

All in all, this was an eye-opening, entertaining, hopeful and sad book. I highly recommend it.

Have any of you read this one? What did you think?

PS - I've heard that the physical book is illustrated, but I listened on audio, which was narrated by Sherman Alexie, and it was wonderful.

1 comment:

Katrin said...

I have this book on my wishlist for a couple of weeks now. Need to check it out soon! Thanks for the review!


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