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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian [Kindle Edition]

Sherman Alexie
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (901 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $6.99
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Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7–10—Exploring Indian identity, both self and tribal, Alexie's first young adult novel is a semiautobiographical chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. The bright 14-year-old was born with water on the brain, is regularly the target of bullies, and loves to draw. He says, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats." He expects disaster when he transfers from the reservation school to the rich, white school in Reardan, but soon finds himself making friends with both geeky and popular students and starting on the basketball team. Meeting his old classmates on the court, Junior grapples with questions about what constitutes one's community, identity, and tribe. The daily struggles of reservation life and the tragic deaths of the protagonist's grandmother, dog, and older sister would be all but unbearable without the humor and resilience of spirit with which Junior faces the world. The many characters, on and off the rez, with whom he has dealings are portrayed with compassion and verve, particularly the adults in his extended family. Forney's simple pencil cartoons fit perfectly within the story and reflect the burgeoning artist within Junior. Reluctant readers can even skim the pictures and construct their own story based exclusively on Forney's illustrations. The teen's determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie's tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Arnold Spirit, a goofy-looking dork with a decent jumpshot, spends his time lamenting life on the "poor-ass" Spokane Indian reservation, drawing cartoons (which accompany, and often provide more insight than, the narrative), and, along with his aptly named pal Rowdy, laughing those laughs over anything and nothing that affix best friends so intricately together. When a teacher pleads with Arnold to want more, to escape the hopelessness of the rez, Arnold switches to a rich white school and immediately becomes as much an outcast in his own community as he is a curiosity in his new one. He weathers the typical teenage indignations and triumphs like a champ but soon faces far more trying ordeals as his home life begins to crumble and decay amidst the suffocating mire of alcoholism on the reservation. Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience, and he doesn't pull many punches as he levels his eye at stereotypes both warranted and inapt. A few of the plotlines fade to gray by the end, but this ultimately affirms the incredible power of best friends to hurt and heal in equal measure. Younger teens looking for the strength to lift themselves out of rough situations would do well to start here. Chipman, Ian

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
108 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I almost cried a few times and I laughed a lot October 5, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For a story about an impoverished teen on an Indian reservation who has an alcoholic father and faces bullies and racism and the deaths of several close relatives, I sure laughed a lot. I loved the written humor and the wonderful cartoons throughout the book, as well as learning something about life on a reservation. I finished this fast-paced book in two days and was sorry to see it end. This is one of my favorite young adult novels of 2007.
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168 of 190 people found the following review helpful
"Mr. President you ought to know that this nation is more a 'Tale of Two Cities' than it is just a 'Shining City on a Hill.' "
-- Mario Cuomo, 1984 National Democratic Convention Keynote Address

"It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor. You start believing that you're poor because you're stupid and ugly. And then you start believing that you're stupid and ugly because you're Indian. And because you're Indian you start believing you're destined to be poor. It's an ugly circle and there's nothing you can do about it.

So opines high school student and sometime cartoonist Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, who is despondent as his father prepares to shoot Arnold's suffering dog because there is no money to pay for a veterinarian's services. But a math teacher -- whose nose is broken when Arnold, in his frustration, angrily throws his generations-old math book --endeavors to change Arnold's sense of helplessness:

" 'You can't give up. You won't give up. You threw that book in my face because somewhere inside you refuse to give up.'
"I didn't know what he was talking about. Or maybe I just didn't want to know.
"Jeez, it was a lot of pressure to put on a kid. I was carrying the burden of my race, you know? I was going to get a bad back from it.
" 'If you stay on this rez,' Mr. P said, 'they're going to kill you. I'm going to kill you. We're all going to kill you. You can't fight us forever.'
" 'I don't want to fight anybody.' I said.
" 'You've been fighting since you were born,' he said. 'You fought off that brain surgery. You fought off those seizures. You fought off all the drunks and drug addicts. You kept your hope. And now, you have to take your hope and go somewhere where other people have hope.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arnold Spirit's Spirit Soars September 24, 2007
By Leah
TATDOAPTI may be a teen fiction book and I have been out of that awkward phase of life for five years, but I could not resist this story of a contemporary Walter Mitty transplanted in the heart of a Washington reservation. In Sherman Alexie's narrator, there's a boundless energy and a high-strung desire to prove the system--and the world--wrong when it comes to Native Americans.

Arnold (known as Junior) Spirit is an aspiring cartoonist (samples of his work can be found throughout the book) has a plethora of problems: he has medical issues ranging from poor eyesight and a past onset of seizures, one friend, and a troubled yet loving family. His world gets upturned when a teacher tells him to get off the reservation, not figuratively, but psychologically and spiritually. Junior's never had someone inform him of his full potential to be something other than "another troubled drunken Indian," so when the chance comes to transfer to a good school in the middle of a racist town outside his home, Junior leaps at the chance.

While there, Junior struggles with the mere fact that he's a Native American in a sea of white students and teachers; this fact continues to plague him when his friend turns his back on him and his whole reservation thinks he's a sell-out. But Junior, Lord bless him, is determined to make a name for himself, and even finds a little romance, convoluted as it is, and makes a few friends who help him expand his mind and reach his goals.

Narrated like random passages from a journal (hence the title), I have nothing but love for this funny, sweet, and conflicted boy. If he were older, I would totally go out with him. But, since he is a character in a novel, all I can say is he is a wonderful voice for a life that no one notices.
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69 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The reservation called America May 8, 2000
"Deep in the heart of the heart of every Indian man's heart, he believes he is Crazy Horse," Sherman Alexie writes in "The Toughest Indian in the World," his new collection of renegade short stories. And that might mean, um, you are Custer.
Or it might just mean Alexie wants you to understand the pride and rage behind these nine lyrical, rebellious, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking stories, where Indians find themselves between worlds, between lives, and between loves.
Fiction writers simulate real life, they don't really bottle it. Alexie is one of the best American writers of any color today, but not because he writes about Indians as an Indian. Rather, it's because he observes the multi-colored light of *human* existence through indigenous eyes. His prism is a valuable cultural artifact on this reservation we call America.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meeting "The Toughest Indian in the World" July 12, 2004
I'd been hearing a lot about Sherman Alexie prior to reading this. His work has been talked about frequently, and The New Yorker has selected him as one of the best American fiction writers under 40. As an aspiring writer myself, I decided to pick up one of his books to judge for myself. And I'm glad I did.
In Alexie's collection of short stories, The Toughest Indian in the World, he takes a look at the world from the perspectives of various Native American characters from all walks of life. From Assimilation, the story of an interracial couple, an Indian woman and a white man, trying to wade through societal pressures and cultural differences to rediscover their love for one another, to Dear John Wayne, the amusing and touching story of an elderly Native American woman recounting her alleged, brief love affair with the "real" John Wayne, these stories are about everyday people trying to find their place in this multicultural, yet divided world.
If you have fragile sensibilities, you may find this book a bit overwhelming at times. Many of the stories in this collection deal with controversial subjects such as race and sexuality with a bluntness that can be surprising to say the least. Mr. Alexie writes about these things with such frankness, never treating them with any hint of the shame or stigma often attached to them, that the reader is given the opportunity to explore them from a perspective he or she may not have considered before. Alexie treats them naturally, as normal aspects of our daily lives. And this is how it should be.
I noticed a surrealistic, sometimes tongue-in-cheek quality to Alexie's work. Some stories will leave you with a gentle smile, while others will linger in your mind long after, perhaps causing you to look at the world around you differently.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars He lost his best friend and he has struggling with so many...
Junior is an Indian boy who lived in reservation is moved his school. After moving his school, his everything is going to be challenged and new. Read more
Published 3 days ago by JusungHo
5.0 out of 5 stars HILARIOUS!
I would read this book during my commute to school and literally laugh out loud! The people sitting around me on the subway must have been very uncomfortable...
Published 3 days ago by C.J.
4.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend this book
I highly recommend this book. If you are looking for something funny but meaningful to read this is the book for you. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Mariela sanchez
4.0 out of 5 stars book review
The book “the Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian” is a novel, which has been written by Sherman Alexie on September 2007. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Sheng Zhao
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 5 days ago by Jiahe Lin
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely hilarious but sad too. He came and spoke at the local ...
Absolutely hilarious but sad too. He came and spoke at the local college. I felt like I was in a comedy club, and while it was
lots of laughs, don't think it was the right... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Kyle
4.0 out of 5 stars It is a great
Some marks,as said in the description before you buy it. The product arrived in a decent amount of time. It is a great book
Published 7 days ago by Lily Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I've heard of this book for a while. I'm so glad I took the time to read it. It was selected as our book of the month for our HS this month. Didn't disappoint. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Tulsa World
4.0 out of 5 stars Da Eun Yoon
Da Eun Yoon :
This book is about a boy who is named Junior, and it is diary with drawings by Junior. Read more
Published 10 days ago by David Han
5.0 out of 5 stars James Kang: This book has good story.
James Kang
∙ A short summary/background of the book
This book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian was written in a frankly colloquial style and is set in the... Read more
Published 10 days ago by James Kang
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