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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  98,039 ratings  ·  11,799 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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Cathy I've just discovered the Young Adult section of the library and I'm going there more often now that I have. This book and Purple Hibiscis by…moreI've just discovered the Young Adult section of the library and I'm going there more often now that I have. This book and Purple Hibiscis by Chimamanda Adichie were both in this section and they were both well worth reading. This Alexie book is the fictional (but perhaps a little biographical?) story of a student growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Eastern Washington State as he enters high school. it's about being an Indian, being a teenager, being a member of a community, and is fresh, funny at times, poignent at times, and just a wonderful page turner. I'd say about 8th grade as kids look toward high school. (less)
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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...more
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...more
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
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
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
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...more
Glenn Miller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
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...more
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...more
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......more
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...more
"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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
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...more
Emma (Miss Print)
Aug 27, 2007 Emma (Miss Print) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is the first book written by Sherman Alexie specifically for a young adult audience. I finished it in two days but have been holding onto my copy because I’ve been having a hard time articulating why I might love this book.

If you have read anything by Alexie, you know that he writes about life on the Spokane Indian reservation in Washingotn. In Reservation Blues Alexie described the misadventures of Thomas Builds-the-Fire and his friends as they tr...more
I admit that, from the very first page, I read this book with a skeptical eye. Prior to reading this novel, I had nothing against Sherman Alexie, but I'm not such a fan of adolescent literature as a genre. My suspicion stems from my encounters with a growing trend, popular among professors, colleagues and administrators I've worked with, that aims to supplement, and even supplant, classic literature on high school curricula with adolescent selections like this one. It's something my high school...more
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...more
Hanieh N
Nov 15, 2013 Hanieh N rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hanieh by: لیلی
تا نیمه یِ کتاب هم حتّا، نمی‌خواستم بیش تر از سه ستاره بدهم.
حالا امّا می‌بینم همه چیز واقعن خوب بود.
جونیور ساده و صادقانه حرف می‌زد و شاید همین بود که آدمُ با خود ش هم‌راه می‌کرد.
خوب آدمُ غافل گیر می‌کرد. [سرِ مرگِ مادربزرگ و یوجین و خواهر ش، لحظه یِ پشیمون شدن ش بعد از برنده شدن مقابلِ ولپی نیت، یا موقه ای که تو جنگل به راودی خورد.]
توصیف ها ش خوب بود و جزئیات رو خوب تعریف می‌کرد. [ص238] یا مثلن بازیِ بسکتبال رو طوری شرح داده بود که آدم جدّن هیجان زده می‌شد. [مثلِ شیر وسطِ میدان]
غم ش بد جوری واق...more
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...more
street corner tbr challenge
september pick #3 (i think???) per Janina

If you are like me and have been putting this off because of the cover or title or whatever, stop wasting time and pick this one up. For whatever reason I just could not force myself to start this one, so I am so very glad for the push Street Corner TBR challenge has given me!

Yes, this is about an indian boy as I so cleverly (sarcasm) interpreted from the title, but that's about all I got right.
Said Indian boy lives on a rese...more
4.5! I really enjoyed this book, and I wanted MORE!

Initial thoughts:
1. I empathized and sympathized with Junior right away. His voice is so REAL.
2. Hilarious (in parts). There were serious, and sad moments in the book, but it wasn't 'heavy'.
3. 'Punch in the face' surprises! Gah. What just happened?!
4. Really great story. Seriously. Conveys a lot of emotion in very few pages.
5. Fast-paced, engaging read.

Check out my full book review here!
Molly Jones
Although this latest Sherman Alexie book is written from the first-person perspective of a high-school-aged boy who is a misfit growing up on an Indian (Native American) reservation, I didn't realize that it's a YA novel until about 1/3 of the way through. It doesn't exactly matter that it's a YA novel, except that I think YA novels can get away with more (read: repeated language, dumbed-down ideas) than adult literature can. I found myself giving Alexie the benefit of the doubt when his young p...more
Arnold "Junior" Spirit possesses a plethora of problems 15 year old teenagers shouldn't have to deal with. Being born on the Indian reservation Spokane he has grown up in great poverty - his mom has never been able to fulfill her dream of attaining an education, his dad is an alcoholic, and his sister previously locked herself in the basement attempting to write romance novels to escape reality. After Junior somewhat purposely throws a textbook at his teacher he decides to go to a predominately...more
I'm so glad I finally got around to this one. The laughs were much needed. Of course, there were bouts of tears to go along with those laughs, so it probably evened out in the end. But that is the mark of the best kind of story. It made me feel genuine emotion, and not all one kind, so I feel fulfilled and stretched out, rather than left wondering if I'll ever be able to crawl my way up out of the hole.

Junior's life is unenviable. And that is putting it mildly. He lives on the Indian reservatio...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...more
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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