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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (original 2007; edition 2009)

by Sherman Alexie (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,930536704 (4.34)376
Member:gjchauvin504
Title:The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Authors:Sherman Alexie (Author)
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Non Fiction, Multicultural, Chapter Books
Rating:*****
Tags:Indians, America

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
  2. 20
    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (Othemts)
  3. 31
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (bbudke)
  4. 21
    Looking for Alaska by John Green (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  5. 00
    Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford (mysterymax)
  6. 00
    Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky (Anonymous user)
  7. 00
    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 376 mentions

English (530)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (534)
Showing 1-5 of 530 (next | show all)
This young adult novel about a boy who chooses to leave the reservation where he lives to attend school is in turns heartbreaking and surprisingly funny and is a must-read for teens and lovers of young adult fiction. The story is narrated by Junior, a member of the Spokane Indian tribe who decides that his best chance to improve his life is to attend a white high school. As a result, he is rejected both by the other Indians and by his white peers. Amid the challenges of reservation life and his struggle to acclimate to his new school, he joins the basketball team, but more problems arise when he is forced to play against the team from the reservation. Alexie masterfully couches his tangible anger and cutting observations about the lives of Native Americans in the guileless voice of a young teen, adding to the poignancy of the story. The book’s honesty can be unsettling at times, and some adults may find parts of it objectionable, but those parts are necessary. Cartoonish illustrations are integrated into the story and effectively convey meaning, often better than the text itself. The story’s themes carry through to an ending that feels satisfying, but not too neat. The dialogue feels stiff at times, but not distractingly so. Alexie has created a rare novel that is not just entertaining or educational, but important, and any public or high school library would be incomplete without it. Highly Recommended. Grades 9-12. ( )
  kottenbrookk | Nov 17, 2014 |
Hilarious and heart-wrenching personal diary of "Junior"/Arnold Spirit, a disabled (hydrocephalic) adolescent boy living in poverty, living with alcoholic depressed parents on Spokane Indian reservation, where he is constantly the target of bullies, yet he is full of promise, wit, smarts, bravery, willing to travel 22 miles to go to the "rich white" school to try to escape the dismal odds of his family and friends on the reservation.
  lrubin75 | Nov 8, 2014 |
63. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Audio) by Sherman Alexie, read by the author (2007, 4 hrs 53 mins, 259 pages in Paperback, Listened October 27-29)

From The Swerve I switched randomly to young adult fiction (actually, it's catalogued at juvenile fiction), partly because I wanted a new book right away without taking the time to look. But these kinds of comments don't give this book it's proper respect.

The Absolutely True Diary is a partly autobiographical look the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state from the point of view of an awkward but intelligent 14-year-old Indian who makes an unusual decision to go to an off-reservation white high school.

There is a lot of fact in the basic story. Like Junior, the narrator, Sherman Alexie was born with "water on the brain", did grow up in Wellpinit, did leave the reservation to go to Reardon High School where he did become a star basketball player. He later went to college for medical school and apparently broke down under the pressure to succeed as he was one of very few Spokanes to attend college. Whether it's true that he attended exactly 42 funerals by age 14 is beside the point.

A few things comes across here. First, Alexie is a great reader, reading the whole book in a slightly exaggerated but charming Indian accent. Second is the book has a lot of charm, and it builds as the book moves on. The combination of these two, the book and Alexie's reading, made this memorable and an experience. Like many modern fictional and factual biographies, he strengthens the book by keeping it short and simple.

The third thing that comes out of there is the dreadful atmosphere of the Spokane Indians, wholly overwhelmed by alcohol, poverty and hopelessness. There is a lot of love in this book, which makes this all the more poignant.

I seem to recall the book gets mixed reviews. I have no criticisms for it. I enjoyed it and still think about it. ( )
  dchaikin | Nov 6, 2014 |
This was a young adult book that I picked up. It was a fast read with illustrations that would appeal to teenagers. Good message and realistic characters. ( )
  janismack | Oct 2, 2014 |
This is the book I was looking for earlier in the year when I bought Flight instead. Purchased at Grand Rapids downtown Schuler's when I was going out of my mind with boredom after spending all day at the Children's Museum with Jefferson. Luckily, I remembered seeing this store when we parked so I left Jefferson with Andrew and made a quick dash for some intellectual salvation. Unfortunately, while it was a Schuler's it was primarily a downtown bookstore -- the selection sucked. Heavy on book club fare and current events, very light on everything else. Nothing interesting in any featured section, so I started on my list of reliable authors. Was very pleased to find this in paperback.

Anyway, so Diary is a young adult novel about a bright boy who -- to put it bluntly -- is having his soul beaten out of him by the atrocious quality of the rez educational system. Finally a teacher tells him he has to get out before he gives up like everyone else on the rez. Which is how he ends up going to an all-white school 20 miles down the road (also his school's athletic arch-rival.)

It's a great introduction to Alexie and his sharp class and race observations -- and I've been using it as such, trying to get more reading friends hooked on him. Easy to read, the illustrations are wonderful (the narrator is a cartoonist), and dark, but not too dark -- it's really the perfect introduction. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 530 (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
Disambiguation notice
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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