Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian – Sherman Alexie

Summary: 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 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 thought he was destined to live. Summary and cover photo from

My Review: This is the coming-of-age tale of Junior Spirit, a 14 year-old boy growing up on an Indian reservation. As Junior enters high school he makes the difficult choice to attend a school outside the reservation in order to receive a better education. This decision is seen as a betrayal to most of his tribe and Junior is the odd-man out at the school in the neighboring small farm town, leaving him to feel he is a part-time Indian.
Written in Junior’s adolescent voice, the raw emotion of the character seeps out of the pages. Full of emotional ups and downs you can’t help but feel for Junior as he strives to make something of himself, a goal unheard of on the reservation where no one ever leaves. Junior’s reveals his story with humor and wit despite all the hardships life has handed him. In combination with his hilarious cartoons one can’t help but read this with a smile on the face. 

Though I enjoyed the story of the most part, I did have a difficult time with the language. I felt that parts were overly crude for a young adult book. I also could have done without all the swear words. Surely Junior’s feelings could have been portrayed as effectively with some toned downed terms. Overall it was a good story about overcoming life’s obstacles while remaining true to yourself, yet unfortunately it’s not one I would feel comfortable recommending to the young adults in my life. Read the first 30 pages and decide for yourself. 

My Rating: 3 Stars

To Sum it up: A humorous coming-of-age tale better appreciated by a mature audience.

1 comment:

Gaby G said...

Thanks for your honest review! I'm really interested in this one!


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