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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  124,283 ratings  ·  13,986 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2007)
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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

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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You know when Paula Dean is cooking and she puts in a little butter?

My mother insists that our family's lineage includes a little Native American blood. When we were kids, she talked about Mother Earth and Father Sky. She collects Navajo rugs and decorates bones with turquoise. She's always telling me to do the genealogical research necessary to prove my Native American status and get a scholarship because of it.

Her family is European. They came mostly from Slovakia and Germany. I'm not saying t
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
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 hone ...more
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 ha ...more
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 a ...more
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 is ...more
Emily May

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
Lindsey Rey
Highly recommend this one! Trigger warnings for alcoholism, depression, and eating disorders.
Aj the Ravenous Reader
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
Glenn Miller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jenny (adultishbooks)
Amazing book. Kind of kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.
Aug 27, 2009 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
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
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
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...
"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
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
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
Azadeh sharifi
این طور شرافتمندانه درد کشیدن را دوست دارم... دلقک محبوب من اگر سرخ پوست بود همین شکلی می شد... و من جونیور را هم می گذارم کنار همان ها... دلقک محبوبم... دن کامیلو... و همه انهایی که تف کردیم/ شدیم توی صورت دنیا...

پ. ن : این نشر افق ویراستار نمی خواهد؟!
اونی که اسمش به عنوان ویراستار می خوره تو کتاب دقیقا چیه؟
اکسیژن نشر رو مصرف می کنه؟
مناسبه آیا....

ممنون از لیلی
لیلی عزیز
که هی دارد دوست داریم هایمان بیشتر می شود
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
I got this book for a reading group. I was going to read it and pass it to my almost-13 year old son. Although I thought the book was very well written and had a lot of positive things to say, I decided not to pass it on. I'm not sure at what age I will deem it appropriate for my son.

On the positive side, this book is a story about a 14 year old Indian boy who decides to go off the reservation to attend high school in the neighboring white farming community. It's not easy for him because his fe
Essential young adult, and adult reading alike. Sherman Alexie has staked his claim as one of the most impressive and talented story tellers of our time with his uncanny ability to weave pure and magical comedy into the harsh realities and difficulties of present-day Native American "Rez" life. His writings are not only extreemly enjoyble, but they are essential and important documents on widely ignored social issues on and off the reservation.
K.D. Absolutely
This bildungsroman about Arnold, a 14-y/o native American is something I could not relate with. It's a YA and I'm too old for that. It's about native Americans (not from Indians from India) and I basically grew up and still belong to homogenous groups. It's about finding difficulty fitting-in and there is no one to blame except yourself because it is your own decision and I just cannot understand why.

You see, why force the issue? I mean if people in the other side of the fence are not friendly
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Definitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!

I loved this story. It was a great pleasure to listen to it on audio, narrated by the author himself. He seems like a very interesting person to know and to talk with. All the heart of him, his soul, pain, laughter, confusion, and fire that he had in him when he wrote this story emanates from him as he narrates this novel, and I was along for the r
Heard on the news a couple of weeks ago that a group of parents in some school district somewhere in Oregon are trying to have this book banned. Fools. This is an achingly beautiful celebration of life that any adult would do well to read and any kid can relate to. It gets at the painful heart of being an adolescent, told in Sherman Alexie's irreverent, dead-true voice. A must-read.
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3* of five

I read because a LibraryThing friend made me, and of course I always do as I am told.


I've never been an Alexie fan. I don't like his precious, picky prose telling such whopping fat lies. I do like this book. I like it a lot. It's as good as I have read, storytelling-wise, and it's not precious or picky in its writing (most of the time). Some parts, like Ted the white billionaire at a funeral, are reversions to the tropes I've disliked most, but on the whole I can't recom
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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
More about Sherman Alexie...
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Flight Reservation Blues The Toughest Indian in the World Indian Killer

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“If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.” 2355 likes
“Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.” 373 likes
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