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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time…

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (edition 2009)

by Sherman Alexie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,484703577 (4.31)536
Title:The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Authors:Sherman Alexie
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

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

  1. 30
    Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Contemporary fiction about searching for identity
  2. 30
    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (Othemts)
  3. 42
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (bbudke)
  4. 10
    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.
  5. 21
    Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: There are many similarities of theme, not the least of which are loss and identity.
  6. 10
    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
  7. 00
    Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford (mysterymax)
  8. 22
    Looking for Alaska by John Green (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  9. 00
    Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo (meggyweg)
  10. 00
    Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky (Anonymous user)
  11. 01
    Dakota Dream by James W. Bennett (meggyweg)

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» See also 536 mentions

English (698)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (702)
Showing 1-5 of 698 (next | show all)
One of the most unique books I’ve read recently. True Diary is a semi autobiographical novel of a young American Indian teen’s coming of age on the reservation. Funny, heartbreaking and entertaining all at the same time. We root for Junior as he sets out for a white school off Rez. Set against a background of endemic alcoholism, physical violence and bullying, Junior’s life and family are still filled with love. I can’t really imagine this is a YA book. I enjoyed it. ( )
  Zumbanista | Feb 1, 2019 |
This is the story of a 14 year old boy named Arnold who lives on an Indian reservation in Spokane. He is a good student, so his school on the reservation is troubled, so his parents send him to the local school off the reservation. He doesn't fit in there either, because he is the only kid who isn't white at the school. Arnold had been born with a lot of fluid on his brain and was constantly bullied on the reservation. When he gets to his new school he does start to make new friends and even joins the basketball team. During the story, he has to deal with the death of his grandmother, his dog, and his sister. He has parents that spend more time drunk than not, and often forget to pick him up at the bus stop - which is 20 miles from his house. But his humor and resilience help him continue to believe someday he could leave the reservation and make something of himself. He feels caught between the world he grew up in and the white world he joined when he went to high school. He struggles to figure out who this makes him.

This was a pretty good book. I listened to it, and I really don't like when the authors read their own books. This is one of those books, and the author did an okay job, but it was a little choppy and no changes in voices for characters which made it a bit weird. But beyond that - it was a pretty good story. It is a short book, and written for the teenage crowd (but be wary - there is talk of sex and masturbation in the book, even though it is very little).

Check it out. The author took some details from his own up bringing as a Native American on a reservation to develop this story, and it gives a good look into the life of being a Native American who lives on a reservation but attends school and exists in a world outside of that as well. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
This book is equally humorous and dismal. It book relates how Indians who live on the reservation struggle to make ends meet. It also reveals how those same Indians, for some reason, cannot find the strength to leave their desperate lives.

Then we meet fourteen-year-old Arnold who becomes a part-time Indian and a part-time white boy when he decides to leave the reservation and attend the white school in an effort to gain a better life. He experiences disappointments and successes. He learns that wealthy people aren’t always happier than poor people. And he builds his self-esteem and makes friends in spite of all of the obstacles that he faces. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
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 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.

With a foreword by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike. (amazon)
  zahanse1 | Nov 4, 2018 |
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a semi-mythic coming of age story of a Native American boy’s freshman year. Arnold Spirit Jr. lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation, an intelligent yet quiet youth whom no one notices much, and whose family is so poor that when they can’t afford a trip to the vet for their sick dog, they shoot it. He has a best friend, Rowdy, and a family that cares for him yet is crippled by alcoholism and apathy. At the beginning of his first year at the Rez’s high school Arnold receives a textbook and is excited to start learning. When he opens it, he sees his mother’s name inside, and realizes the textbooks have not been updated for twenty-five years. Angered, he hits his teacher in the face with it!

Thus starts his journey, in which he decides to attend a regular public high school in the nearest town rather than the Native community’s. This decision bears consequences: his friends and community turn their backs on him for betraying their own, for seeking a better education and better life.

Of course, Arnold doesn’t phrase it like this, because he’s a 14-year-old boy; he thinks instead in omens and intuition. His narration is the most charming part of the book, even if it’s a lot like Alexie’s “regular” writing tone. Yet, it feels like a 14-year-old, and he draws you into his world. I wish every YA writer attempting a first person teen voice would read True Diary, or something like it. It’s a wonderful how-to on writing a story true to a teen’s age and a teen’s narrative style, with none of the present voice over-scriptedness that’s so prevalent in YA published recently.

But, it is a strange book. It’s categorized as YA, but it is really more of a confessional autobiography, with a dash of magic realism. I enjoyed Alexie’s first short story collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven, a lot, and True Diary has many of the same story themes of that earlier collection. The strongest of these is identity, how young Natives navigate a White world that still has many stereotypical notions about them, or a patronizing, bleeding-heart sympathy that is almost as bad.

The book had a lot of twists and turns that I liked; it always surprised me. A chapter would start out in one tone, then switch to another when the narrator springs some revelation on us. I particularly like how the Geometry teacher who Arnold hits with the book becomes his savior and mentor, and a seemingly-clueless White basketball star a true friend. The cartoons by Seattle artist Ellen Forney scattered about the text added to my enjoyment and gave the text an extra oomph, as Arnold intends to pursue a career in comics when he graduates. In the span of the book he experiences more than his share of tragedies and a few triumphs, and by the end he understands his accomplishment and what that will mean for his future. For he does intend to continue in the public school, which, despite being in a small town in Central Washington State, will give him a better education and more exposure to the world than the one on the Rez. Yet, he does not reject his roots. He embraces them still, for all their flaws.

Other parts of the book I was not crazy about. There was a bit about masturbation which went on too long and gleefully for a YA book, though I suspect that kids would love it. There’s also a throwaway line of “Indians like to talk dirty” which squicked me, considering recent criticisms against the author. I also felt the tone was belligerent at times, as if rubbing White noses in the dirt over the situation their ancestors created. But overall, it helped me understand my Native friends better. It also made me wonder if the author would be as lauded if he did not write about the subject matter that he does, which is a peek for Whites into a very private and guarded world which contains a lot of trauma.

In the end, I found it hard to separate the author from the art. I know I don't want to be the kind of writer that mines (or uses, or transforms, or justifies....) their tragedies into subject matter. I’m too private for that. Perhaps that's a shortcoming. I don't know.

The new material for the 2017 edition includes interviews with both Alexie and Forney, an afterword by Alexie, bonus drawings, an alternate version of the first chapter, and a few chapters from the viewpoint of Arnold Spirit's best friend Rowdy. It enhances the book and pulls it together as a whole, so I recommend reading the special edition if you can get it. ( )
  Cobalt-Jade | Nov 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 698 (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 editionscalculated
Forney, EllenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There is another world, but it is in this one. --W.B. Yeats
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.
"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."
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:14 -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 7 descriptions

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