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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Sherman Alexie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,135553668 (4.34)402
Member:dordahsa
Title:The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Authors:Sherman Alexie
Info:Little, Brown Young Readers (2007), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Culture, Native American, Spokane Indian, Fiction, Semi-Autobiography, Young Adult, Coming of Age, Racism, Alcoholism, Death, Perseverance, Humor, National Book Award, Poverty, Basketball, Cartoons, Family

Work details

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007)

  1. 30
    Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Contemporary fiction about searching for identity
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    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (bbudke)
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    Looking for Alaska by John Green (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford (mysterymax)
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    Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky (Anonymous user)
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    Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo (meggyweg)
  8. 11
    Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: There are many similarities of theme, not the least of which are loss and identity.
  9. 00
    A Step From Heaven by An Na (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: Different in feel altogether from Diary, but also another good novel about entering and adjusting to predominantly white-American culture
  10. 00
    The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: A similar story for older teens/adults. Edgar is an American Indian orphan coming of age.
  11. 01
    Dakota Dream by James W. Bennett (meggyweg)
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» See also 402 mentions

English (547)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (551)
Showing 1-5 of 547 (next | show all)
This was such a great story! It totally kept me enthralled while driving 8 hours through the night hours. I loved the plot and characters but the author's narration truly made it special. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
"Packs a punch," as the description would have it, could be interpreted in so many ways. I think it's more effective to say that Alexie grabbed the front of my shirt and lifted me close to his face and yelled at me and shook me. Not subtle, ok? Not graceful, either. Kinda tiring. Yeah, I know, it'd be even more tiring to live the lives of Junior and his family & people. And yeah, there was some pretty funny stuff, and plenty of inspiration and hope etc.

So, I can see why it's won awards. I can see why it's hyped. And why it's beloved. But I just think it could have been more effective if it were, oh, I don't know, maybe a bit more like the work of [a:W. P. Kinsella|32549|W.P. Kinsella|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1212093640p2/32549.jpg], for example [b:The Moccasin Telegraph and Other Stories|57764|The Moccasin Telegraph and Other Stories|W.P. Kinsella|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387734051s/57764.jpg|1181691] or [a:Alice Walker|7380|Alice Walker|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1406752585p2/7380.jpg]'s [b:The Color Purple|11486|The Color Purple|Alice Walker|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386925078s/11486.jpg|3300573].

Quick read - 2-3 hours.

"I used to think the world was broken down by tribes. By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know this isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not."

Ok, is that wisdom? Is it plausible a boy just turning 14 would be able to articulate that, to a schoolteacher no less? Or is it a didactic oversimplification?

I did like "I'd never seen a sober adult cry" and "Indians have forgotten that reservations were meant to be death camps."

I did like that Junior was in some ways an ordinary kid, a young teen lusting after pretty girls and drawing of cartoons and worried about bullies. He wasn't just an Indian. There could have been more of that, because, as is, he seemed 'exotic' and 'other' and I personally think that attitude of otherness strongly contributes to an 'us vs them' mentality despite the statements like the one about tribes above.

Overall an important book, but not as wonderful as I'd hoped. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
This is a fantastic novel of a boy who changes school in order to better himself. It is both funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Every library should have this novel. This is one story all of my students love and can identify with. The theme of this novel is one of hope and the need for it. ( )
  erikmurri | Apr 13, 2015 |
Arnold, or Junior, faces hurdles such as physical limitations, untimely deaths of loved ones due to alcohol abuse, poverty, bullying, and discrimination. His decision to leave the Spokane Indian Reservation to go to an all-white school alienates him from his tribe and his only friend.
Alexie Sherman’s powerful autobiographical novel ultimately speaks about chasing hope. Sherman wittily couples laugh-out-loud moments with grim stark realities that will stick with readers. ( )
  thelittlestacks | Mar 27, 2015 |
Sherman Alexie always finds a way to bring his characters to life. This story is no different as we follow the childhood of Junior, a Native American with many physical problems, and his struggles to fit in.
If I'm not mistaken this book has been banned in many schools because of a brief sexual part. Were this not the case I would suggest this book for any student looking to read a YA novel or any book pertaining to reservation life. ( )
  LFerda | Mar 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 547 (next | show all)
Working in the voice of a 14-year-old forces Alexie to strip everything down to action and emotion, so that reading becomes more like listening to your smart, funny best friend recount his day while waiting after school for a ride home.
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sherman Alexieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forney, EllenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There is another world, but it is in this one. --W.B. Yeats
Dedication
For Wellpinit and Reardon, my hometowns
First words
I was born with water on the brain. Okay, so that's not exactly true. I was actually born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull. But cerebral spinal fluid is just the doctors' fancy way of saying brain grease.
Quotations
"No, I'm serious. I always knew you were going to leave. I always knew you were going to leave us behind and travel the world. I had this dream about you a few months ago. You were standing on the Great Wall of China. You looked happy. And I was happy for you."
During one week when I was little, Dad got stopped three times for DWI: Driving While Indian.
“Son,” Mr. P. said. “You’re going to find more and more hope the farther and farther you walk away from this sad, sad, sad reservation.”
I'd always been the lowest Indian on the reservation totem pole-- I wasn't expected to be good so I wasn't. But in Reardan, my coach and the other players wanted me to be good. They needed me to be good. They expected me to be good. And so I became good.
"I used to think the world was broken down by tribes," I said. "By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know that isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes. The people who are assholes and the people who are not."
Last words
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Some editions, like ISBN 9780316013697, include study guide
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Jr is struggling with being a poor Indian. He is given the opportunity to leave the reservation and start a new life outside of the Native American culture. And thus the story goes from chapter to chapter. This books crosses cultures of the Native American and Reardan, a white/christian culture in a rural setting. This story can be used on many fronts in a classroom. Racism, culture boundaries, friendship(Rowdy, Penelope), and having the ability to change your life. A great story with a lot of possibilities in a classroom.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316013692, Paperback)

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.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie's YA debut, released in hardcover to instant success, recieving seven starred reviews, hitting numerous bestseller lists, and winning the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:56 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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