titianlibrarian, August 8, 2008 (view all comments by titianlibrarian)
I couldn't put this down for long, and it ended up being a wonderful read. It was very reminiscent of 1993 Jules Feiffer's The Man in the Ceiling (Such a good book; if you can track down a copy, you'll really like it and you'll never forget it). Both protagonists are boy misfits who draw cartoons to understand their worlds, surrounded by very few adults who understand what's really happening. ATDofaPTI seems perfect for a middle schooler, maybe seventh or eighth grade, but plenty of adults seem to be enthralled by it too, judging by the rave reviews it's gotten. I can't wait to start another of his books that's been on my shelf for a while: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
Arnold Spirit goes only by Junior when he is on the Spokane reservation, but when he chooses to transfer to a white school off the rez, being called Arnold is only one of the many changes he has to get used to. Everyone wonders how could he betray his people and his best friend by hitchhiking 22 miles to the school everyday. Is it betrayal, or is it escape?
This was well-written but very sad in parts--don't expect a happy-go-lucky kid with a dream in his heart setting off to face the world (and so on)... The tragedies of poverty, violence and alcohol abuse among the community are made real in Alexie's book.
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wagnerao, March 3, 2008 (view all comments by wagnerao)
Studded with Ellen Forney's crumpled-paper drawings, this book has lots of ways to love it--its humor, its painful sweetness, and its hurt. Having spent a lot of time in the Mississippi Delta (a place similar to the poverty and beauty of Alexie's Spokane Rez) it felt familiar. Like reviewers before me, I had trouble putting this one down. I'm going to buy 2 copies--one for me and one for the 8th graders I teach.
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reb, December 16, 2007 (view all comments by reb)
My father was reading this when I visited him. He looked up long enough to say hi and then didn't say anything else all evening. The next day he handed it to me as I was leaving. At home that night I read it in one sitting forgetting to go to bed until 3 am. In the morning I handed it to my sweetheart. When I checked in an hour later I was greeted by teary eyes, a pile of tissue and a mumbled, sure, when I asked how long she might be. I took pity and brought in coffee.
Just read it.
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Jena, December 2, 2007 (view all comments by Jena)
I love Junior and how brave he manages to be, leaving the rez (becoming public enemy #1) to go to a better school, to dream bigger than anyone else he knows. I started reading this the second period of a day of substitute teaching and finished twenty minutes before the end of the school day. I loved it, and recommended it to several students who looked a little interested when I laughed at the part I was reading. (A couple times it was really hard not to cry in front of them all.) The style reminded me a lot of Chris Crutcher's style, maybe because of the basketball.
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Michael Carter, November 25, 2007 (view all comments by Michael Carter)
A little sad, but very funny. A very good read and not just for kids. It brought me back to the stories my mother told me about growing up Native in a mostly white world. Highly recommended!
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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
0 stars -
Little, Brown Young Readers -
by Jill S.,
Once I started this book, I couldn't stop reading. Not only is this young adult book funny and touching it feels so real. Anyone of any age who has struggled to know themselves and has fought for happiness will find resonance in the words and pictures in this impressive work.
by Jill S.
by Jill S.,
Although based (mostly) on his own experience growing up on an Indian reservation, this seemingly depressing tale is anything but. Hilariously funny, lighthearted but wholly sobering, Alexie's story kept me absorbed through the night.
by Jill S.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Screenwriter, novelist and poet, Alexie bounds into YA with what might be a Native American equivalent of Angela's Ashes, a coming-of-age story so well observed that its very rootedness in one specific culture is also what lends it universality, and so emotionally honest that the humor almost always proves painful. Presented as the diary of hydrocephalic 14-year-old cartoonist and Spokane Indian Arnold Spirit Jr., the novel revolves around Junior's desperate hope of escaping the reservation. As he says of his drawings, 'I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.' He transfers to a public school 22 miles away in a rich farm town where the only other Indian is the team mascot. Although his parents support his decision, everyone else on the rez sees him as a traitor, an apple ('red on the outside and white on the inside'), while at school most teachers and students project stereotypes onto him: 'I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other.' Readers begin to understand Junior's determination as, over the course of the school year, alcoholism and self-destructive behaviors lead to the deaths of close relatives. Unlike protagonists in many YA novels who reclaim or retain ethnic ties in order to find their true selves, Junior must separate from his tribe in order to preserve his identity. Jazzy syntax and Forney's witty cartoons examining Indian versus White attire and behavior transmute despair into dark humor; Alexie's no-holds-barred jokes have the effect of throwing the seriousness of his themes into high relief. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Horn Book,
"The line between dramatic monologue, verse novel, and standup comedy gets unequivocally — and hilariously and triumphantly — bent in this novel about coming of age on the rez....Junior's spirit...is unquenchable, and his style inimitable..."
by School Library Journal,
"The teen's determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Alexie nimbly blends sharp wit with unapologetic emotion in his first foray into young-adult literature."
"Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience, and he doesn't pull many punches as he levels his eye at stereotypes both warranted and inapt....Younger teens looking for the strength to lift themselves out of rough situations would do well to start here."
Based on the author's own experiences, this first young adult novel by bestselling author Alexie features poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art as it chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy attempting to break away from the life he was destined to live.
With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and "unique learning profile," Danielle Levine doesn't fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a "social skills" class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle's resolve to keep everyone at arm's length starts to crumble.
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