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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Cover

 

Staff Pick

The engaging story and believable characters can pull in reluctant readers, but this novel has appeal for all ages. Alexie has a talent for expressing emotional truths without coming across as sentimental. This is the kind of book you want to keep handy so that you can pass it on to friends.
Recommended by Tracy H., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 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 thought he was destined to live. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie's YA debut, released in hardcover to instant success, receiving seven starred reviews, hitting numerous bestseller lists, and winning the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

Synopsis:

Alexie's National Book Award winner chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live. Includes poignant drawings that reflect the character's art.

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Average customer rating based on 23 comments:

Melinda Ott, April 29, 2015 (view all comments by Melinda Ott)
I was supposed to read this book about a year ago--it was one of the selections in my book club, but I wasn't going to be able to attend that meeting so I ended up not reading this book. Then, I needed something to read on my phone during National Library week (or whatever) and this book had come up as being the most challenged book in libraries. Well, I love a good controversy, so I finally got around to reading this.

And, here is my question...what is supposed to be so controversial about this book. According to the ALA, it is:

Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”

Anti-family? Really? If anything, this book is incredibly pro-family! Junior's parents are not perfect, but they are the best they can be and they love Junior and Junior loves him,. I'm not sure how that qualifies as being anti-family. Cultural insensitivity? This is one of the most culturally sensitive books I have ever read. And, yes there are some scenes of drugs/alcohol/smoking, a few f-bombs here and there, and a description of what Junior does in his alone time (I'll give you a hint--it's the same thing almost every single 14 year old boy on the planet does). However, none of that is presented in a gratuitous way. It's Junior's life and this book would not be true with a white-washed version of his life.

Look, I'm not going to go any further arguing the so-called "reasons" for challenging this book--it just makes me too upset. I'll get off my soap box now....

Obviously, I loved this book. Junior was a fantastic character and I fell a little bit in love with him (and then went head over heels for him in the scene where he's interviewed by local media). The depictions of life on the reservation are hard to read, but I believe that they are realistic. I know life is hard on the reservations, and Alexie does not shy away from that. Yet, at the same time, he does not fall into self-pity.

What I found unexpected was how Alexie contrasts Juniors reservation world and his "white" world. In short, neither world is perfect, but neither world is doomed. People are people and everyone has their own value and their own struggles. I don't know if I was expected for own group to come out ahead of the other in some way, but I am very glad that didn't happen.

I truly feel that this is an important book for young people to read. Yes, it examines the struggles of modern Native Americans but, more importantly, it is about finding your own place in the world. And to all those people who try and challenge this book....don't worry, when my children are older, they won't be checking this book out of the library. I'm going to buy them their own copies.
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AJ W, October 18, 2014 (view all comments by AJ W)
Being a 14-year-old boy, being different is one of the most challenging things to do. No one wants to be looked at differently or seen as an outsider. Many people don't realize how much courage it takes to be different and to do something you believe in. Arnold Spirit, a poor Indian boy, goes on a journey where discrimination poverty and hardship is constantly apparent. When his tribe has given up all hope, he decides to take matters into his own hands and goes to a new wealthy school filled with Caucasian children. This is almost unheard of as poor Indian boy and his actions begin to stir up commotion throughout the reservation where he lives. His dreams and goals are supported, but not always understood by his dysfunctional family and befriend. His best friend rowdy and him have a longtime bond and deep friendship, which causes them to greatly influence each other under circumstances and events that do not always favor their friendship.

This book is funny, relatable, and will keep you reading until the very end. Arnold’s courage and bravery really inspires me to take new risks in life. I recommend this book to kids at the ages of through 14-18.
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Carli T, October 21, 2013 (view all comments by Carli T)
Being a part of an Inuit Alaskan tribe is a truly unique thing. I am immersed in a whole different culture full of folktales passed down from generation to generation as well as different ways of life then now. When I saw that this book was among the many choices on my required reading list, I knew this was a must read.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie tells of a young boy born into poverty along with being born with "fluid of the brain". He has an over-sized head, hands, and feet; he also suffers from poor eyesight, seizures, lisps and stutters. Having these problems cause him to struggle in school, along with being bullied harshly. A week into school, being so fed up with his situation, he decides to move into an all white school. There he is further bullying and he has either two choices: to let himself continue to be mistreated by his peers or to stand up for himself to discover a new self-reliant part of him.
I really enjoyed this book and felt that past the Native American connection I have, I could relate to the characters situation. I myself have people who don't like me, but seeing Arnold's situation made me realized how blessed I am. I felt this book was well written and was an entertaining page turner.
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(6 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 23 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316013697
Author:
Alexie, Sherman
Publisher:
Little, Brown Young Readers
Subject:
People & Places - United States - Native American
Subject:
People & Places - United States
Subject:
Social Issues - Adolescence
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Subject:
Race relations
Subject:
Indian reservations
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
Humorous Stories
Subject:
Children s-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20090431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
12-17

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Used Trade Paper
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Little, Brown Young Readers - English 9780316013697 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The engaging story and believable characters can pull in reluctant readers, but this novel has appeal for all ages. Alexie has a talent for expressing emotional truths without coming across as sentimental. This is the kind of book you want to keep handy so that you can pass it on to friends.

"Synopsis" by , Alexie's National Book Award winner chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live. Includes poignant drawings that reflect the character's art.
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