After reading "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie, I was left feeling hopeful and satisfied in general. It didn't intrigue me in the beginning, but I had read an excerpt of the book in a writing class and I felt like it'd be interesting to read the rest of it. The content of the book was much more interesting after I read more and more. I loved the theme of hope and tenacity throughout the book and the vibe got stronger and stronger. If I were to be honest, I'd confidently recommend this book to anyone who's interested in reading a nice piece of work.
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie was about an Indian kid, named Junior, who lives on a reservation. That reservation is very poor and his family is a bit random, starting with his parents who can be alcoholics at times. His sister was supposedly on the road to being successful, but ends up living in the basement of their house. He goes to a school that doesn't show any hope for any of the student's future. After a meaningful conversation, he comes to the understanding that he needs to go to another school that shows possible hope for a bright future. It sounds great, but the only issue is that he's the only Indian kid in a complete white populated school. He must face the decision of leaving his reservation and becoming "one of them" or following the custom of accomplishing nothing in life. Throughout the book, he has these comics that show you his point of view. Along this insane journey, he meets people that will have changed his life.
This book was so inspiring in many ways more than one. I loved the humor that developed the hope and with every page, I wanted to read more. It's amazing how this one boy finds the will in himself to leave the customs and find his own path because he knows he can reach his full potential. The beauty in the book lies beneath the sarcasm and story, but in his experiences and what he's fully learned from them. He shows his vulnerability and his desire to succeed in life and not become what everyone wants him to become. I'd recommend this book for ages 12 and up.
Banned Books Week was recently upon us, and in honor of this outrageous and shocking week (note the sarcasm) I wanted to take a look at some of these hideously offensive titles that saintly Americans everywhere have been trying to take off the shelves.
According to bannedbooksweek.org one of the most challenged titles in 2011 was "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie. The reasons cited for challenging the book were “offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.”
In my expert and academic opinion I’ve got to say: That shiz is whack! I’m so utterly surprised that this is still the world we live in. A world that challenges writers for trying to open the minds of young teenagers to minority voices who for so long have been ignored and/or silenced in our country. This whole idea of banning a book because of “reverse racism” is really just repulsive. First and foremost, there’s no such thing as reverse racism because racism can never be reversed. It’s either racism or it isn’t. Second, stating fact about the difficult situation white populations have put Native American communities in isn’t racism, it’s just truth. Ignoring this fact only allows for the repetition of such acts. Therefore, why not teach American youth about minority cultures through semiautobiographical works, like "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," through a relatable teen who not only has to deal with zits, girls and popularity but tribe identity as well? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Absolutely True.
Opens the eyes of young readers to minority characters and their struggles in America.
Junior is perceptive enough to realize that his parents are unhappy. He is also smart enough to acknowledge that he does not want to end up living their lives, so he decides to do the unthinkable and go to a non-reservation high school, though it means losing his only friend. At school, he meets a beautiful girl named Penelope and Gordy the Genius White Boy, two people who have nothing in common besides the fact that they're both nice to him.
As I had never heard a negative word spoken about this book, I decided to read it, and I am glad I did- from the first page, I could not stop laughing, yet even as I found Junior and his friends hilarious I recognized a lot of myself in them, especially Gordy. He was my favorite character; he had the best lines. Somewhere in the middle of the book he says that PCs are vulnerable to viruses like French people living during the bubonic plague, which has to be the best simile ever written.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA, as Sherman Alexie captures the genre better than anyone- it's sometimes edgy, always entertaining, and it makes you think, as all good books should.
Junior is just another unlucky kid living on an Indian reservation, but unfortunately, hes even unluckier than most. He was born with brain damage and a strangely disproportioned body, which causes him to be alternately beat up and ridiculed by all the other kids on the reservation except his only friend Rowdy. Junior might be smart and a good artist, but growing up in poverty and surrounded by alcoholics and broken dreams makes him believe that hes destine to the same life hes always had. But the wise advice from a teacher prompts Junior to take control of his life and fight against what little is expected of him. And despite animosity from nearly every side, this unlucky kid is determined to succeed.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is both profound and humorous, making for a very enjoyable read. Juniors frank voice made for plenty of deep thoughts and giggles. Junior was so interesting to read about, both because of his character and circumstances. I found Junior to be surprisingly mature for his age, and it made him seem older than he actually was, but then again, this maturity may have arisen from his difficult life. Life on the reservation was realistically portrayed, as heartbreaking as it was. Drawing and art did not play as large a role in Juniors life as I wouldve thought; instead, sports, particularly basketball, were central to Juniors struggle for success. This novel definitely left me with that warm fuzzy feeling that can inspire anyone to strive to accomplish their dreams, no matter how far-fetched. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a fun and heartwarming read about life and death, friendship and family.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a feel-good novel while still retaining its authenticity. Fans of this storys message will also enjoy Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith.
I am a loooooong time fan of Sherman Alexie - his Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a favorite of mine. Any new Sherman Alexie book is worth a celebration, one billed specifically as ya only makes the party bigger.
Loosely based on Alexie's own life, this fictional account of a piece of Junior's life growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation is funny, sad, intelligent, and most of all telling. Telling of being a teen, of being a teen with dreams (cartoons included, yay!), of being a teen with dreams in a place that isn't so great for the fulfillment of dreams.
American Indian issues are not always at the forefront of our minds - there's so much other god-awful stuff going on and its hard to keep all of it going all the time if you want to live a generally optimistic life - but this book put the questions back in mine while in no way being didactic or depressing. And I felt, afterward, I had a much better emotional sense of what is going down on reservations.