Krista Ashe'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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Sep 26, 10

bookshelves: my-110-of-2010-books
Read in September, 2010

** spoiler alert ** AMAZING!!! I wish there was 10 Stars b/c I would give it to this book. I'm baffled at how this is a challenged book. Although, I might need to thank the ridiculous, close minded asshats who challenged it b/c I might not have read it as quick!!!

I love Junior's character. He is so amazingly honest and real and hilarious. All that he went through being born as a waterhead baby...the surgeries, the seizures, the alleged developmental delays...but in the end, he was triumphant as the smartest one on the Rez with the most potential.

The scene where he chucks his geometery book(the subject he has most been looking forward to) at his teacher Mr. P is so heartbreaking. It reminded me of Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry when the kids kept getting the textbooks in "poor" condition and how angry it made them. Of course, Junior's reaction to this is the way he is able to overcome and get out of the Rez. Mr. P gives him the idea of going to the white school. The courage Junior has to do this admist all the anger of those on the Rez, plus the reactions of the white kids, is amazing.

And poor Rowdy, Junior's BFF, ...being born in an alcoholic family where his dad beat him and his mom and brothers and sisters...there was no way out for him but to be angry and volatile. It was heartbreaking when he beat Junior up and refused to be friends with him anymore b/c he decided to leave the reservation. He didn't know how to deal with his feelings so he was always angry and abusive to Junior, like at the basketball game where he landed Junior in the hospital. Of course, Junior got his revenge later when they really beat the team. But that was also a heartbreaking scene when Junior broke down and cried b/c he realized a lot of the Rez kids had parents in prison, were going hungry, were beaten, etc, and it totally took the joy out of his victory.

Saddest scenes for me was when the dad had to shoot the dog b/c they were too poor to take it to the vet. I was weeping b/c he's talking about how there's worse things than to go to bed hungry or not eat for 18hrs....agony! And then when the grandmother was killed by the drunk driver, but her final words were to forgive the man! And his sister Mary, who had secretly written romance novels and wanted a way to get out of the Rez, had gotten drunk and burned up in the trailer with her husband in Montana. It was equally tragic since Mary had begun writing and chasing her dream of publication. And finally, Eugene, the awesome friend of Junior's dad's got shot in the face and killed over the last drink of wine. So many tragedies he had to go through. I think he makes a great commentary when he disses the people for getting drunk after his sister's funeral for getting drunk and burning to death. It's also a social commentary that there's too much destructive vices like alcohol and gambling the government gives on the Rez.

Anyway, this was just an awesome book. You couldn't help rooting for Junior at every turn. There were other great characters at Reardon, the white school. Like Penelope, the white, bulemic girl who was so sick of perfection and wanted something different in life, that she dated Junior. And Roger, the big jock who at first teased Junior but then got the shock of his life when Junior hit him. Their friendship was inspiring. And Gordy, the computer geek that Junior befriends bc he's tired of being alone and lonely.
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