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Part-Time Lover of Part-Time Indian
on March 30, 2008
Filled with Alexi's trademark beautiful and straightforward prose, Part-Time Indian tells the story of Arnold, a Spokane Indian trying to better his life beyond the confines of his race and his circumstance. This is a moving story filled with wonderful storytelling moments and thrilling scenes. While I finished the book wanting more, which is a good thing, although I also felt that some of the most interesting aspects of Arnold's character (dealing with his disability, his physical "difference" from kids in his new school, his determination to get beyond the rez, his being an artist, etc.) were dropped in favor of a tidier conclusion. In the end, the book leaves us centering on his relationship to his best friend, his ability to move on and at the same time leave the reservation behind. However effective the symbolism, I wanted more in the way of Arnold's coming of age. This is a gratifying read, in part because there are such beautiful moments, but I prefer books in which the character details affect the narrative more powerfully. Arnold is a fascinating character, and I felt that he was reduced, simplified by the end's tidy message. This may be knit-picking, but although I love Ellen Forney, I thought the "voice" of the cartoons was not exactly in sync with that of the main character. The cartoons are very clever and they add to the humor in this otherwise very funny book, but they felt like they were authored by someone other than Arnold.