Review Detail

4.3 12
Heartfelt and entertaining
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
I picked this book up for reasons I’m not sure of. I’d heard it mentioned—neither positively nor negatively, just mentioned—and it was on a table at Barnes and Noble, so I looked at it and said “Okay, I’m buying this” and headed to the checkout. All told, not one of my most rational or thoughtful book purchases.

Irrationality aside, I’m really glad that I have The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian on my shelf. Sherman Alexie told his story with humor and realism, as well as obviously strong emotion. I found myself liking this book much more than I expected.

Junior (AKA Arnold) is a wimp. There’s really no other way to describe him. He’s spent his whole life as a punching bag for every other kid on the rez, he never wins a fight, he cries all the time, and he throws up whenever he’s nervous. Yet in spite of that, Junior proved, over the course of the novel, that he was a strong, likable kid. I don’t relate to him very much, but I enjoyed what he had to say and how he said it.

Normally I’m not a fan of breaking the fourth wall; it just doesn’t work for me. However, even though Junior’s way of speaking directly to the reader wasn’t my favorite, I found that I didn’t mind it. His way of presenting things was often funny, and always truthful and raw. And that, in the end, made up for a lot of my problems.

There are books out there that are awesome. Or, rather, they would be awesome, but for one tiny thing. Something that seems insignificant, but really isn’t. Those books make me a little sad, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was one of them.

Because as emotional and gripping and visceral as this book was in spots, I think Alexie may have missed out on where it counted most.

A lot of things happen in this book. My favorite part was basketball, because I love basketball, and those scenes were done well. But there were also a lot of funerals in this book too, a lot of deaths. And, for me, those scenes didn’t read well. They were flat, straightforward, and routine. Especially toward the end, I felt that I lost connection with Sherman Alexie’s prose, for whatever reason.

I guess that what I’m saying is: in spite of myself, I hoped for more from this book. And sadly, I didn’t get more.
But, I mean, this is still a really good book. And like I said, I’m really happy I own a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It’s a good book, worth reading, with a unique story to tell.
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