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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  147,543 Ratings  ·  16,209 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 September 12th 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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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Really enjoyed this! It was a rather interesting writing style. It had this very casual feeling to it. I will say that there are a few things here and there that irked me, but for the most part it was enjoyable. Full video review to come! :)
Caris
Jan 26, 2010 Caris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, young-adult
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
Brina
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 liv ...more
Jess
Nov 29, 2007 Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jodie
Jan 15, 2009 Jodie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 a ...more
TK421
Jan 24, 2013 TK421 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 hone ...more
Emily May
Oct 09, 2011 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Meg
Apr 22, 2008 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ha ...more
Betsy
Jan 09, 2008 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
...more
Lindsey Rey
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
Apr 19, 2008 Glenn Miller rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mario
Sep 11, 2015 Mario rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Jenny (adultishbooks)
Amazing book. Kind of kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.
Justin
Sep 21, 2015 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mollie
Aug 23, 2011 Mollie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Tatiana
Aug 27, 2009 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  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
Emily
Apr 20, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this, especially because of the perspective it's written from. In the middle of the book I had the (horrible) realization that I have never (at I don't think) read a book with an Indian/Native American main character. That's not good. Before the last year, I was not focused at all on reading widely and diversely--I just read what was popular. Now I am more aware of what I'm reading and buying, but this book was a nice reminder.

I read this for my Study in Children's Lit class, s
...more
BrokenTune
Mar 26, 2016 BrokenTune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rowena
Aug 07, 2013 Rowena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kyle Knight
Apr 06, 2016 Kyle Knight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 to ...more
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
...more
Julie Ehlers
Feb 21, 2016 Julie Ehlers rated it really liked it
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
Catie
Jun 10, 2011 Catie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Abby
Nov 28, 2007 Abby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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 tea ...more
Michael
May 10, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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“If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.” 2435 likes
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