Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads):  In his first book for young adults, 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, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, 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 was destined to live.

Review: Wow.  I do not know how Alexie managed to write a book that is both heartbreaking and hysterical at the same time, but somehow he did.  Junior is a teenaged Native American boy who is trying to overcome his sad family life and make something of himself by going to high school off the reservation.  He's scrappy, brave and self-deprecating, with a wickedly funny sense of humor.  The things he suffers through should fell a normal kid, but he perseveres, drawing wacky cartoons to illustrate his emotion.  The book does deal with a huge number of issues for a young adult book (alcoholism, bulimia, domestic violence, masturbation, bullying, death of close relatives, and I'm sure there are more), and I can't comment on how accurately it depicts Native American reservation life.

Rating: 4 stars

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