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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  154,366 Ratings  ·  17,295 Reviews
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 Absolut
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Hardcover, 230 pages
Published September 12th 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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David In general I would say no. Sherman Alexie is funny and creates characters that are real people. Some of themes require greater maturity than most 11…moreIn general I would say no. Sherman Alexie is funny and creates characters that are real people. Some of themes require greater maturity than most 11 year olds possess. However I don't think it will ruin anyone's mind. This is probably in reference to the main character's (developmentally appropriate) candid expressions regarding his preoccupation with sex and girls.
I am way past being a young adult and enjoyed it immensely.(less)
Renee Probably best for middle schoolers and up if used as a read-to-self book.. My kids are both upper elementary aged and we read it aloud to them. They…moreProbably best for middle schoolers and up if used as a read-to-self book.. My kids are both upper elementary aged and we read it aloud to them. They loved it. In addition to the humor, it has a rare honesty that resonates with kids. (less)

Community Reviews

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Brina
Aug 03, 2016 Brina rated it it was amazing
Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a short novel labeled young adult but more appropriate for adult audiences. A mere 230 pages including comic sketches, Alexie details the plight of Arnold aka Junior, a 14 year old Spokane Indian living on a reservation. Born with brain damage to alcoholic parents, Junior was never given a chance by anyone to succeed. It did not help that in his tribe, no one left the reservation. The Spokane Indians would spend their entire ...more
Jess
Jan 08, 2014 Jess rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Okay, okay, fine, I give in.

I’ll get on the bandwagon.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is, well, made of awesome.

I kinda got on the Sherman Alexie bandwagon, as an undergrad, when all freshmen were required to read his The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven. I liked it. Put it next to Plato’s Republic and it was pretty damn exciting. But I didn’t go out and gobble up all this other books. Plus I’m not the hugest fan of short stories. But you know me, I’m a sucker for YA. A
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Jodie
Jan 15, 2009 Jodie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This book has sort of been on my radar, and yesterday I saw it on one of my student's desk. I excitedly asked him what he thought of it, and his face lit up. He told me he had just finished it and repeated, "It was a really good book" about three times, with the most genuine smile I've seen from this kid all year. When I told him it was on my list of books I wanted to read, he handed it to me and said, "take it." Huh? Then he showed me the sticker on the front cover that said, "FREE BOOK! Read ...more
TK421
Jan 06, 2014 TK421 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary
Confession time: I’ve been a bit of a snob when it comes to YA literature. The idea that this type of writing was beneath me, not able to give me what I wanted from a story were my main excuses. I’m not going to say that YA fiction is ever going to replace “literary” adult fiction, but I will say that it has opened my eyes. THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN is a magnificent read. The story centers around Junior, a Spokane Indian, and his family who live on a reservation. To be ...more
Emily May
Jan 08, 2014 Emily May rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, 2011

Sooo... what do I know about Indians (aka Native Americans)? Well, apparently the average white American knows very little about them and, whether that's true or not, I can confirm that the average Brit knows NOTHING about them. That would include me. Or it would have included me before I read this book.

Okay, well maybe not nothing, I knew they can paint with all the colours of the wind, right?

Actually, on a serious note, this is honestly where my previous knowledge of Native Americans comes fro
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Meg
Apr 22, 2008 Meg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I thought for a second I'd only give this four stars but, okay. I was schooled by teachers who were for the most part trying really hard to achieve a multicultural education in Whiteland. It must have been a daunting task, right? But you would run into a teacher here or there who had his or her own Thing, like, I had a history teacher really into critical thought who totally busted out Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories. And it didn't make up my whole education so of course there are portions I ...more
Betsy
Jan 09, 2008 Betsy rated it really liked it
You can credit Junior with this much; he's not a complainer. Not really. I mean, sure he was born with an enormous head, gigantic feet, crazy eyes, ten more teeth than normal, a stutter, and a lisp . . . . but hey, have you ever seen the guy's cartoons? They're great! Junior isn't the most popular kid on his reservation but he does all right. That is, until the day he snaps after finding his mother's maiden name in an old junky geometry book. Oddly, the teacher he lobs the book in the face of ...more
Justin
Sep 21, 2015 Justin rated it really liked it
In the same way that John Green and Jesse Andrews use humor to deal with heavy issues like cancer, Sherman Alexie uses a similar device to tackle a variety of difficult subjects. He hits racism, bullying, addiction, death, poverty, and other topics all through his narrator's great sense of humor and his hilarious cartoons.

I don't read a ton of YA stuff (although I sure have been lately!), but I try to at least hit the highlights. I think this is the best YA book I've read since The Knife of Nev
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Aj the Ravenous Reader
Jan 19, 2015 Aj the Ravenous Reader rated it really liked it
Shelves: reality-bites
4.5 well deserved stars!

This review contains helpful spoilers. :)

This book authentically tells us about the consequences of racism, stereotyping and isolation in the eyes of a 14 year old boy, Arnold Spirit Jr., a native Indian American who ironically suffered 14 years of bullying in the hands of his fellow tribesmen in their reservation. It's funny how Arnold only started to believe in what he can do and be accepted when he transferred to a school outside their reservation where all stude
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Lindsey Rey
May 23, 2015 Lindsey Rey rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this one! Trigger warnings for alcoholism, depression, and eating disorders.
Cait (Paper Fury)
When you google "famous YA books"....this one comes up. So obviously I had to read it. It's like my mission in life to read all the famous-ish YA books. AND NOW I HAVE. I have to say...it was good but not great. The actual reading was an adventure though, because sheesh, first my library cancelled my reserve (WHY. DON'T THEY WANT ME TO BE EDUCATED) and then I finally got the jolly book and I'm pretty sure someone has bathed with it. Or spilled their drink on it. Or like read it 54 times and frol ...more
Glenn Miller
Dec 25, 2013 Glenn Miller rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mario
Sep 11, 2015 Mario rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.


Now this book completely caught me off guard. I expected this to be just another light and easy read. I didn't expect it to become one of my favorite books of the year so far. But it did.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was such a heartwarming book. For some reason it (at least to me) felt like a mix of I Am the Messenger and Wonder, and I freaking loved both of those books.

This book was funny (I mean
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Ashley
Dammit, I knew I should have written this review when I first finished the book, but I decided to push it off because it seemed too hard to try and sum up all my feeeeelings, but joke’s on me, now it’s even harder!

Sherman Alexie has been one of my favorite writers since I was in college and one of my English comp teachers made us watch Smoke Signals, which is based off Alexie’s short story, “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” and for which he also wrote the screenplay. I thought the
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Jenny (adultishbooks)
Amazing book. Kind of kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.
Mollie
Dec 16, 2013 Mollie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, 2010, september, own
I really don't know how to write a review that will do this book justice. All I know is that I laughed, I cried, then I laughed some more. And this review will be my feeble attempt to convey the genius of Sherman Alexie's writing. While this is my first Alexie book, it most certainly will not be my last.

Junior is a Spokane Indian living on a reservation who takes a huge risk by transferring to the white high school twenty-two miles away from the "rez." This takes a lot of courage for a boy, who
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Rowena
Aug 07, 2013 Rowena rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
"Reservations were meant to be prisons, you know? Indians were supposed to move onto reservations and die. We were supposed to disappear."- Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I rarely enjoy YA books but I really liked this one. Narrated by Junior (Arnold) Spirit it tells the story of the life of a young Indian boy on and off a reservation

Junior, an unlucky boy living on an Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington,was born with too much cerebral spinal fluid in his s
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BrokenTune
Mar 26, 2016 BrokenTune rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This was moving, and funny, and totally predictable but still handled difficult topics in a way that does not patronise its intended audience - the YA-ship.

I know, I keep bashing a lot of YA reads because I find them silly or overly emotive, and in a way the story of Arnold, too, suffers from both these elements, but there is also something fresh and raw in the way Arnold describes his world that is hilarious and sincere at the same time.

In short, I enjoyed all the elements that ensure this book
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Tatiana
Aug 27, 2009 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Tatiana by: Amazon Best book of 2007
I am ashamed to admit, I don't know much about Native Americans. What is even more shameful is that the little that I know is taken directly from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books. So you can imagine what an eye-opener this book has been to me.

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" narrates a story of Arnold Spirit, Jr., a Spokane Indian teenage boy who is determined to take his future into his own hands. The only way for him to do it however is to leave his troubled school on the rese
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Book Riot Community
It seems I’ve taken my sweet time getting to Sherman Alexie’s work, and for that I’m kind of bummed. While I’ve heard the rave reviews of this novel in particular–with its National Book Award and all–I had my doubts. I don’t always read the YA books, but when I do, I hope that they are as finely written as this one with a unique narrative voice, an emotional reading experience, and plenty to think about, no matter what your age. — Andi Miller



from The Best Books We Read In June: http://bookriot.c
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Catie
Jun 10, 2011 Catie rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars

I guess I can see how someone who’s never read a single word of this book could look at a laundry list of the “issues” that are even loosely related to it and feel that it might be inappropriate for a young audience. Actually, to be honest…I really can’t see that at all. Who else BUT kids, who are facing all of the horrifying aspects of living for the first time, should be encouraged to read a book like this?

Even with all of the above mentioned issues (and for the record, there’s alco
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Julie Ehlers
I consider Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven one of my favorite books, but as is often my way, I read it over 10 years ago and inexplicably haven't read anything else by Alexie since. Maybe I just worry no other books will live up to that first one. But The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has obviously garnered a lot of attention--it won the National Book Award, and here in my town it was the "One Book, One Philadelphia" selection a few years back. There' ...more
Kyle Knight
Apr 06, 2016 Kyle Knight rated it really liked it
This book surprised me. It was actually a little shocking in its language considered it's for kids, at least teenagers. That being said, I think it's still a good book for teens even with the inappropriate language and subject matter as long as an adult or parent has read it too and is available to answer question and have dialogue about it. What I like most about the book was its take on racism where Native Americans are concerned. We seem to be distracted with and focused on Black and White ...more
Wendy F
Books like this make me realize that I've become complacent. Others that I've read that I thought were worthy of a 5 star rating I now realize I over rated. It's literature like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian that really sets the mold for the books that truly deserve five stars.

I'm not sure what to say, and partly that's because trying to talk about it sends more tears streaming down my face. Books like this one, or Crazy, Jellicoe Road, The Piper's Son or Looking for Alaska...
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Abby
Nov 28, 2007 Abby rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I loved Ellen Forney's illustrations, but I felt like the narrative only retrod ground that Sherman Alexie's been down many, many times before. Sure, he's really good at it, but I want something different now. Plus, I was not entirely convinced by the voice of the teen narrator. It felt to me like Alexie was just reworking the voices of previous characters from Reservation Blues -- the nerdy, slightly outcast Spokane Indian who loves books & basket ...more
·Karen·
Jan 19, 2013 ·Karen· rated it it was ok
Shelves: usa
Read under duress.

So this is that mythical beast, a Young Adult novel. I'd often wondered what one would look like. In my initial naiveté I had imagined it would probably deal exclusively with teenage angst: zits, parents, first love, peer pressure to conform, identity, friendships. But then I thought naaaaah, surely not? That would be too boring, too predictable.
Er, no.
Apparently nothing is too predictable - let us all now embrace predictability, predictability is our friend, it's comforting
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David Schaafsma
Alexie’s autobiographical YA novel features Junior, who escapes into comics (drawn in the manner of a kid, wonderfully, by Ellen Forney) from his often tragic life on the rez, particularly The Spokane Indian Reservation. It’s in a kind of diary format, and the “part-time Indian” part of the title refers to the move he makes to leave the rez school in Wellpinit to travel to an all-white school in Reardan, twenty-two miles away but it might as well be a continent away. That move, initated by a ...more
Michael
Jun 24, 2014 Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-lit
There are lots of fine moments in this breezy account of one teen's life on and off the rez, but it sometimes struck me as a bit random and too breezy. "Unreflected upon," say.

For example, Junior learns that an acquaintance is bulimic pretty early on. Does this come up again or really affect the character in question? Nope. It's merely a device to allow Junior to be momentarily sympathetic to the girl, and his sympathy wins her heart and they become boyfriend and girlfriend. At that point, he s
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Michael
May 10, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
If you want to make an audience curious about a book, just put it on the "banned" list.

When I saw that this was one of the most objected to books on the list, I had to admit I was curious. I picked it up to see why it was banned and stayed for the fascinating characters and the moving story.

Arnold ‘Junior’ Spirit is a teenage native American living on a reservation. He attends the local reservation school until he's challenged by a teacher to go to a more academically oriented school that may gi
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John Winston
Oct 21, 2015 John Winston rated it really liked it
I had mixed feelings on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (TATDPI). It was a good story with good writing, and it kept my attention throughout. Sherman Alexie is witty, and his work made me laugh often. My small concerns with the story were that only the protagonist’s character was well-developed, which makes sense as it is a diary. Another was that the drama, though compelling, seemed contrived, over the top, and unlikely, in particular the main character, Arnold’s rise from wimpy ...more
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Sherman J. Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA. Alexie has published 18 books to date.
Alexie is an award-winning and prolific author and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American. Sherman's best known works in
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“If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.” 2450 likes
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