Katy'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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Aug 06, 10

bookshelves: ya
Read in August, 2010

Reading this book was what got me into YA fiction. Interestingly, it wasn’t even a book I had intended to purchase, or really had even heard of. But I saw it randomly on the shelf at the library, then randomly on a shelf in a bookstore, and then randomly on the shelf at a used bookstore. Finally, by third time I randomly encountered it, I decided that the book was somehow finding me, and I should just listen to the book, buy it and read it. And I am SO glad that I did. This is an awesome book, and I have lost count of how many times I have recommended it to others. But enough about me…

Part of what makes this booksuccessful is the character of Junior. He is a very unique character, and a character that you encounter infrequently in a literary market that is saturated with characters who are all cookie cutter versions of each other. Similarly, the other part that makes this book engaging and interesting is Junior’s voice. Junior doesn’t mince words, he calls it like he sees it, and he has this endearing ability to mix the desperateness of his situation with humor. Junior’s voice is not always likable but he's a 15 year-old boy. What 15 year-old boy would have a 100% likable voice?

And while Alexie addresses, and Junior faces, some very hard-hitting, important, and powerful topics, such as racism, bullying, death and loss, they are handled in a very age appropriate way for Junior, and the reader is not beaten over the head with morality or guilt. Junior’s just presenting it the way he sees it, and the reader can either think about it and dig a little deeper, or not. But Alexie and Junior aren’t going to tell you what to think about it, or how you should feel about it.

Overall, it's a powerful coming of age story, that reminded me of the importance of being brave, continually asking, and hopefully answering, the question "Who am I?", and standing up for myself and what I believe in. After all, if I can't stand up for myself, how can I expect anyone else to?
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