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Paperback The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Book

ISBN: 0316013692

ISBN13: 9780316013697

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Bestselling author 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,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Alexie creates a page turner

I couldn’t put this book down! I loved the perfect mixture of humor, art, history, and sensitive issues. I highly recommend that if you are considering reading this book, just do it.


I've always been a fan of Sherman Alexie, so when I saw this book was written for the young adult marketplace, I took a chance. Without reading it myself first, I brought it in and read it to my class (7th and 8th graders). They loved it. They were excited, enthralled, amused and heartbroken by it. More importantly, after reading it, I had a line of kids (most of whom are generally non-readers) wanting to borrow the book to read it again. To Mr. Alexie, a teacher's highest praise: You made my students want to read.

I almost cried a few times and I laughed a lot

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.


"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.' "I was starting to understand. He was a math teacher. I had to add my hope to somebody else's hope. I had to multiply hope by hope. " 'Where is hope?' I asked. 'Who has hope?' " 'Son,' Mr. P said. 'You're going to find more and more hope the farther and farther you walk away from this sad, sad reservation.' " I'd certainly heard of Sherman Alexie. Back in my bookstore days, a young college student with whom I worked spoke of him as a god. But I'd never read any of Alexie's books since he hadn't yet written anything for children or YAs. THE ABSOLUTE TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN is a semi-autobiographical tale by Sherman Alexie, written for teen readers, that is in turns wacked-out, funny, heartbreaking, and jubilant. It is the story of an Indian kid who has survived a precarious infancy and is growing up on a reservation outside Spokane. It is a powerful story of friendship between two teenage guys who have grown up together on the reservation. It is the story of Arnold's journey after he is persuaded by the math teacher to escape the rez school and transfer to a high school 22 miles away. And it is a tale of two cities. "So what was I doing in Reardan, whose mascot was an Indian, thereby making me the only o

Amazing book--razor sharp and totally on point

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is the first book written by Sherman Alexie specifically for a young adult audience. I finished it in two days but have been holding onto my copy because I've been having a hard time articulating why I might love this book. If you have read anything by Alexie, you know that he writes about life on the Spokane Indian reservation in Washingotn. In Reservation Blues Alexie described the misadventures of Thomas Builds-the-Fire and his friends as they try to start a band (and deal with the relative fame that follows). Like Reservation Blues, this novel is filled with equal parts humor and tragedy along with some memorable characters thrown in to taste. What surprised me about Diary is that it is also more biting that Reservation Blues. At times Alexie's descriptions of white-Indian relations and life on the rez are so scathing that they're painful to read. And yet . . . I couldn't put the book down. Now that you are sufficiently intrigued, let's talk about the plot. This story revolves around Arnold "Junior" Spirit, his family and his best friend, Rowdy. We join Arnold at the beginning of the novel at the age of 14. Born with a variety of physical ailments, Arnold is used to being picked on. He doesn't mind, though, because he knows he has his art and his intelligence and his family. Things get complicated for Arnold when he realizes that he has to leave the reservation in order to get a good education and succeed where most of his family and friends have failed. So Arnold starts going to the all-white school in a neighboring all-white town. As the story progresses, Arnold grapples with his decision and trying to figure out his identity in his new surroundings. With the additions of love, rivalry, and basketball Alexie has enough twists to keep the most impatient readers enthralled. The illustrations by Ellen Forney also really add to the text. In Reservation Blues and some of his other works, Alexie brings up the issue of alcoholism and heavy drinking on the reservation. The subject comes up again here. I can't say that I understand heavy drinking as a past time in general-it remains equally perplexing here. At the same time, Alexie aptly shows the damage that one too many bottles of . . . whatever . . . can cause, which is part of why I think this novel is really important. But you won't be reading this book just because I happen to think it's important. No. I expect that you will find yourself charmed by Arnold and his unique outlook on life and opportunity. I know I did. Like Alexie's other writing, this book is poetic and beautiful but still razor sharp. When I finished reading, I didn't know what to say-so much so that I wanted to immediately re-read it. (It's the kind of book that you can do that with.) I think that's the best response you can have to a book: when it's so good it leaves you speechless.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Mentions in Our Blog

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in Celebrating Banned Books During Banned Books Week
Celebrating Banned Books During Banned Books Week
Published by Karen DeGroot Carter • September 27, 2020

Since its launch in 1982, Banned Books Week has helped raise awareness of the many literary works that have been banned and/or challenged by individuals and groups across the U.S. through the years. To start the week off, let's take a look at some of the most frequently-challeneged or removed books from the last 20 years.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in In Honor of Banned Books Week, Let's Ban Banning Books Once and for All
In Honor of Banned Books Week, Let's Ban Banning Books Once and for All
Published by Beth Clark • September 24, 2018

Okay, maybe we can’t eliminate censorship (yet...#goals), but we can celebrate Banned Books Week with gusto by reading all of the stories that someone (or someones) tried to silence, destroy, or restrict access to. Here are 50 of the most frequently banned and/or most recently challenged books, along with the "who, why, and how" of literary censorship in America.

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