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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian Paperback – 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown; First Printing edition (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316013692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316013697
  • ASIN: B00A2LZDEA
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,053 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,304,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Debra Garfinkle on 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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189 of 212 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on September 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"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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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Leah on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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76 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Ron Franscell, Author of 'The Darkest Night' on May 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"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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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Mary D. Haper on January 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this was a kid's book and bought it for a 10 year old's birthday, but he is not getting it (yet). It is NOT for kids as some subject matter is not appropriate--masturbation, looking at girls' breasts, for example, are mentioned briefly but may be upsetting to some parents. For us old folks (I am 61) this was a good read. A little simple, but dead on about life, what we did to the American Indians, teen life, life between parent and child, child and best friend, the importance of education, the importance of being weird and the importance of fitting in, etc. I've never read the author's work before so the technique of writing as a 14 year old and interspersing cartoon sketches was new to me. If you are too young, you won't get a lot of the references, so better to be older.
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