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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Collector's Edition Hardcover – December 9, 2009
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"A Native American equivalent of Angela's Ashes."―(starred review), Publishers Weekly
"Sure to resonate and lift spirits of all ages for years to come."―USA Today
"Few writers are more masterful than Sherman Alexie."―Los Angeles Times
"This is a gem of a book....may be [Sherman Alexie's] best work yet."―New York Times
About the Author
A National Book Award-winning author, poet, and filmmaker, Sherman has been named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists and has been lauded by The Boston Globe as "an important voice in American literature." He is one of the most well known and beloved literary writers of his generation, with works such as The Long Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Resevoir Blues and has received numerous awards and citations, including the PEN/Malamud Award for Fiction and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award.
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This book hits home about the real world and real life among Native Americans. The options are: Stay on the Rez with the status quo or move out to "white man's land" and become part of that society. Covering as a light comedy, this book offers insight to the reader that isn't normally given. Sherman Alexie writes as though he's been there - that's because he has.
I was hooked immediately. The author made you feel like you were part of his world even though most us have never been closer to a reservation than seeing advertising for a casino on TV. I recommend this book to anyone with teenagers. They would benefit from seeing the perspective of someone they might not encounter in their everyday life and maybe reevaluate how they treat people from other cultures.
The book is funny, sad, moving and hilarious - often in the same sentence - describing the despair and hopelessness of growing up disabled, isolated, and in poverty on an Indian Reservation and one boy's triumph.
I will read other books by Sherman Alexie and highly recommend this one for anyone who wants to bond with sympathetic characters and learn a bit about Native American life on a reservation. If you want your ninth graders to discover the joy of reading, this book will capture them.
This semi-autobigraphical YA novel follows the adventures of Arnold Spirit, AKA Junior. Junior is a Spokane Indian who lives on the reservation. Born with hydrocephalus, Junior is a 14-year-old boy who dreams of being a cartoonist, and uses cartoons to deal with his feelings regarding his dysfunctional family, poverty, community, and the world at large.
Arnold’s life changes when he decides he wants to leave the reservation and attend a different school, where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
This book is fairly short, but touches on a lot of topics such as poverty, race relations, alcoholism, enforced governmental segregation, and how one person seeking to better themselves can feel like a betrayal to others in a tight-knit community. It manages to make its points without being preachy, and while maintaining a sense of humor even while navigating losses and tragedies.
The book does dip into (what I would consider typical) 14-year-old boy issues, such as masturbatory skills and the sometimes awkward timing of erections, but isn’t unnecessarily explicit.
4 out of 5 stars.
What a great story, it is an emotional roller coaster. This book makes you laugh and cry, makes you feel bad for those on the rez but want to be a part of them and their tough life, makes you glad to be part of the white community and their privilege but embarrassed by our racism and how alone we are in a world full of people.
I want to write more but I do not want to give spoilers even if they are vague. I have a feeling that I will be thinking of this book often and will read it again in the near future.
My best summary I could give is a quote from Junior in the chapter titled "And a Partridge in a Pear Tree"...
"It was a beautiful and ugly thing"