The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-06-20 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"This book surprised me. It was actually a little shocking in its language considered it's for kids, at least teenagers. That being said, I think it's still a good book for teens even with the inappropriate language and subject matter as long as an adult or parent has read it too and is available to answer question and have dialogue about it. What I like most about the book was its take on racism where Native Americans are concerned. We seem to be distracted with and focused on Black and White today. It's much bigger than that and a lot of blame to go around for all. What I didn't like was that it came off as real at first then digressed into a little fantasy with the basketball story. " said.

"I wish I had written this, which is a ridiculous—and very white—thing to say for a 65-year-old white woman writer. But as 14-year-old Arnold Spirit says about white people who visit his “rez,” they like to like Indians a whole lot. However this story of a Spokane Indian boy who opts to leave the rez where he gets beat up all the time to go to a white school where he starts as an outsider, becomes an insider, thereby becoming even more an outsider in his own tribe, while remaining a part-outsider at the new school because he is an Indian in a white school—well it is so true and funny that it can become “a story I wish I’d written” to anybody who has felt like an outsider. In short, I loved it." said.

"4 1/2 stars

I guess I can see how someone who’s never read a single word of this book could look at a laundry list of the “issues” that are even loosely related to it and feel that it might be inappropriate for a young audience. Actually, to be honest…I really can’t see that at all. Who else BUT kids, who are facing all of the horrifying aspects of living for the first time, should be encouraged to read a book like this?

Even with all of the above mentioned issues (and for the record, there’s alcoholism, domestic violence, bullying, poverty, eating disorders, racism, death, and the scariest of all – masturbation!), this book never feels anything like an “issue book.” This is above everything else, the story of a person finding a way to navigate through all of the sadness and tragedy surrounding him, by stringing together all of the tiny moments of happiness and grace that he can find. It’s also about finding the courage to break free from everything that you’ve known with the small hope of finding something better. If that doesn’t describe the plight of being young, then I don’t know what does!

I loved the illustrations, and I can’t imagine this book without them (although I hear that the audiobook is great). Some of them contain a humor much darker than even I typically employ. I love so many of the characters, but I laughed quite a lot every time Gordy explained something to Junior. I think that living life with the expectation of getting a metaphysical boner is a great way to live!

There are so many things that I can relate to in this book, like the desperate anxiety to keep poverty hidden, even though as a child, that’s not something that one can control. Initially I felt that he was overly positive about certain things, or that this story felt a bit too much like a fairy tale. But then I read this in an article that he recently wrote:

”I can’t speak for other writers, but I think I wrote my YA novel as a way of speaking to my younger, irredeemable self.”

That made me think about all of the ways that I would want to speak to and comfort myself as a child. This book feels like something to curl up with and remember all of the painful childhood knocks with, while celebrating all the ways that I learned to cope. It’s like a balm.

Perfect Musical Pairing

Colin Hay – Beautiful World

I love this song from Colin Hay, former lead singer of Men at Work. It’s a celebration of all the little things that make life beautiful, despite the surrounding tragedies.
" said.

" Really enjoyed this! It was a rather interesting writing style. It had this very casual feeling to it. I will say that there are a few things here and there that irked me, but for the most part it was enjoyable. Full video review to come! :) " said.

"This was moving, and funny, and totally predictable but still handled difficult topics in a way that does not patronise its intended audience - the YA-ship.

I know, I keep bashing a lot of YA reads because I find them silly or overly emotive, and in a way the story of Arnold, too, suffers from both these elements, but there is also something fresh and raw in the way Arnold describes his world that is hilarious and sincere at the same time.

In short, I enjoyed all the elements that ensure this book ended up on the "banned books" list. Why ould you want to keep YA readers away from a story that focuses on the emancipation of the main character and his struggle with his sense of community?

Why ban a book on the grounds of language and perceived non-conformance to political correctness when the essence of the story really tries to deconstruct some of the myths of the cultural barriers that the book banning people seem to think are portrayed in an offensive manner?

Really makes you question whether the book banning people have read the book at all.
This reader would not be surprised if they had not.

It does remind me of one of my favourite scenes in the book (even though it is very similar to a certain scene in Dead Poets Society), at the end of which Arnold Spirit, Jr, concludes that he used to think that people were divided by their differences in tribes, or race, but that really there are only two kinds of people: those who are assholes, and those who are not.
" said.

"I consider Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven one of my favorite books, but as is often my way, I read it over 10 years ago and inexplicably haven't read anything else by Alexie since. Maybe I just worry no other books will live up to that first one. But The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has obviously garnered a lot of attention--it won the National Book Award, and here in my town it was the "One Book, One Philadelphia" selection a few years back. There's always a big pile of copies of it in my local bookstore, and I finally gave in to it--I don't read a ton of YA, but perhaps subconsciously I thought this would prevent me from directly comparing it to Lone Ranger and Tonto.

I'm not sure this strategy worked, exactly, because at first I was disappointed by the tone of this--it just seemed a little too goofy, and I began to wish I'd chosen some other Alexie for my second book. Fortunately, as I kept going, I warmed to the characters, all of whom were extremely well drawn, and I was very moved by Junior's experiences both on the reservation and at his new school off the rez. I also began to notice similarities between this and Lone Ranger and Tonto--mainly in the use of mild magical realism and the telling of (tall?) tales from the past.

I'm really impressed by what an achievement this is as a work of YA fiction. There are literally millions of kids in this country (and parents, let's be honest) who have no idea what life is like on a reservation and what the experience can be when you leave it. It's so valuable to have a book like this, which gets this (often grim) message across yet is funny, unpretentious, and entirely fun to read. I'm hoping this book is being taught in schools and finds its way into a lot of hands, because it deserves every bit of attention it gets.

This book is illustrated by Ellen Forney, and the art is fun and sometimes quite interesting. My edition had an interview with Forney at the end, and if your copy has it as well, don't skip it--it's a fascinating look at her artistic process in creating the illustrations, and it made me appreciate them even more.

" said.

"It seems I’ve taken my sweet time getting to Sherman Alexie’s work, and for that I’m kind of bummed. While I’ve heard the rave reviews of this novel in particular–with its National Book Award and all–I had my doubts. I don’t always read the YA books, but when I do, I hope that they are as finely written as this one with a unique narrative voice, an emotional reading experience, and plenty to think about, no matter what your age. — Andi Miller

from The Best Books We Read In June:
" said.

""Reservations were meant to be prisons, you know? Indians were supposed to move onto reservations and die. We were supposed to disappear."- Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I rarely enjoy YA books but I really liked this one. Narrated by Junior (Arnold) Spirit it tells the story of the life of a young Indian boy on and off a reservation

Junior, an unlucky boy living on an Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington,was born with too much cerebral spinal fluid in his skull and this brought about lots of physical problems. Poor Junior is already unpopular on the reservation but becomes even more so when he opts to transfer to a "white" school off the reservation.

I read the book in one sitting;I felt so much sympathy for Junior who has so many trials to deal with at such a young age. Even as a 14 year old, he manages to show us the problems that Native Americans face, for example the poverty, the alcohol, abuse. However, he also manages to show the positive aspects of the culture.

"But we reservation Indians don't get to realize our dreams. We don't get those chances. Or choices. We're just poor. That's all we are.'

"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."

I saw a lot of parallels with how American Indians were treated and what colonialism did to Africa. As Junior's teacher said: "We were supposed to make you give up being Indian. Your songs and stories and language and dancing.Everything. We weren't trying to kill Indian people. We were trying to kill Indian culture." Very tragic.

It was a sad book but it was also quirky and funny. Highly recommended.
" said.

August 2017 New Book:

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