Courtney's Reviews > The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
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Dec 10, 07

bookshelves: ya-lit
Read in December, 2007

Having lived in Washington for ten years, Sherman Alexie is a celebrity as much as an author to me. When the film Smoke Signals based on his book The Long Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heavenwas released, it became the de facto must watch for every class at the Evergreen State College. His love of basketball was reflected not only in his fiction, but in the articles sometimes he wrote for Seattle's The Stranger alt-newspaper.

As a YA novel, I haven't come across any other books that deal with what life is like as a modern teen Native American living on a reservation. Once when I had a job as a reading tutor I spent three weeks on a reservation in North Dakota, and I felt like this book was reliving some of the reality of hopelessness and poverty that community on the res experienced for years. Additionally, the complex relationship tension of being an educated white teacher trying to connect with this community was something I felt Alexie dealt with honesty.

So this teacher convinces Arnold "Junior" to get off the res and switch schools, he struggles to fit in with his new rich white peers. He initially has trouble accepting their friendship but finds his place at the school as a star basketball player.

That's all for the spoilers now, but I wanted to remember just how good this book was for portraying what life is like for modern Native Americans.
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