Karla'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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's review
Jul 30, 11

bookshelves: 2011, addiction, read-with-daughter, ya, native-american, favorites
Read from July 29 to 30, 2011

This is a story that took me well beyond my expectations. So profoundly tragic yet so beautifully comic that it well resonate with me forever. Written with a hilarious sharp wit that is poignant and will make your spirits fly. So many loveable quotes, I could read this over and over and find something new and powerful every time. A must read with a funny bone and relevance!!
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Quotes Karla Liked

Sherman Alexie
“When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing.

And so, laughing and crying, we said good-bye to my grandmother. And when we said goodbye to one grandmother, we said good-bye to all of them.

Each funeral was a funeral for all of us.

We lived and died together.

All of us laughed when they lowered my grandmother into the ground.

And all of us laughed when they covered her with dirt.

And all of us laughed as we walked and drove and rode our way back to our lonely, lonely houses.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I was studying the sky like I was an astronomer, except it was daytime and I didn't have a telescope, so I was just an idiot.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“If you're good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can't be wrong.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I draw because words are too unpredictable.
I draw because words are too limited.
If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning.
But when you draw a picture everybody can understand it.
If I draw a cartoon of a flower, then every man, woman, and child in the world can look at it and say, "That's a flower.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“Drinking would shut down my seeing and my hearing and my feeling,' she used to say. 'Why would I want to be in the world if I couldn't touch the world with all of my senses intact?”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“We all have to find our own ways to say good-bye.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I suddenly understood that if every moment of a book should be taken seriously, then every moment of a life should be taken seriously as well.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they're the four hugest words in the world when they're put together.

You can do it.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“Gordie, the white boy genius, gave me this book by a Russian dude named Tolstoy, who wrote, 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' Well, I hate to argue with a Russian genius, but Tolstoy didn't know Indians, and he didn't know that all Indian families are unhappy for the same exact reasons: the frikkin' booze.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I think all of us are always five years old in the presence and absence of our parents.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“You read a book for the story, for each of its words," Gordy said, "and you draw your cartoons for the story, for each of the words and images. And, yeah, you need to take that seriously, but you should also read and draw because really good books and cartoons give you a boner."

I was shocked:

"Did you just say books should give me a boner?"

"Yes, I did."

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah... don't you get excited about books?"

"I don't think that you're supposed to get THAT excited about books."

"You should get a boner! You have to get a boner!" Gordy shouted. "Come on!"

We ran into the Reardan High School Library.

"Look at all these books," he said.

"There aren't that many," I said. It was a small library in a small high school in a small town.

"There are three thousand four hundred and twelve books here," Gordy said. "I know that because I counted them."

"Okay, now you're officially a freak," I said.

"Yes, it's a small library. It's a tiny one. But if you read one of these books a day, it would still take you almost ten years to finish."

"What's your point?"

"The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know."

Wow. That was a huge idea.

Any town, even one as small as Reardan, was a place of mystery. And that meant Wellpinit, the smaller, Indian town, was also a place of mystery.

"Okay, so it's like each of these books is a mystery. Every book is a mystery. And if you read all of the books ever written, it's like you've read one giant mystery. And no matter how much you learn, you keep on learning so much more you need to learn."

"Yes, yes, yes, yes," Gordy said. "Now doesn't that give you a boner?"

"I am rock hard," I said.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“That's right, I am a book kisser.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That's right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,' I said. 'By Black and White. By Indian and White. But I know this isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: the people who are assholes and the people who are not.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“What's the difference between bulimics and anorexics?" I ask. "Anorexics are anorexics all the time," she says, "I'm only bulimic when I'm throwing up." Wow. She sounds just like my dad! "I'm only an alcoholic when I get drunk." There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away. Penelope gorges on her pain and then throws it up and flushes it away. My dad drinks his pain away. (107)”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“My grandmother's greatest gift was tolerance. Now, in the old days, Indians used to be forgiving of any kind of eccentricity. In fact, weird people were often celebrated. Epileptics were often shamans because people just assumed that God gave seizure-visions to the lucky ones. Gay people were seen as magical too. I mean, like in many cultures, men were viewed as warriors and women were viewed as caregivers. But gay people, being both male and female, were seen as both warriors and caregivers. Gay people could do anything. They were like Swiss Army knives! My grandmother had no use for all the gay bashing and homophobia in the world, especially among other Indians. "Jeez," she said, Who cares if a man wants to marry another man? All I want to know is who's going to pick up all the dirty socks?" (155)”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I know only, like, five Indians in our whole tribe who have never drunk alcohol. And my grandmother was one of them. "Drinking would shut down my seeing and my hearing and my feeling," she used to say. "Why would I want to be in the world if I couldn't touch the world with all of my senses intact?" (158)”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“Grief is when you feel so helpless and stupid that you think nothing will ever be right again, and your macaroni and cheese tastes like sawdust, and you can't even jerk off because it seems like too much trouble. (172)”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“Nervous means you want to play. Scared means you don't want to play.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I realized that I might be a lonely Indian boy, but I was not alone in the loneliness. There were millions of other Americans who had left their birthplaces in search of a dream. (217)”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I realized that, sure, I was a Spokane Indian. I belonged to that tribe. But I also belonged to the tribe of American immigrants. And to the tribe of basketball players. And to the tribe of bookworms. And the tribe of cartoonists. And the tribe of chronic masturbators. And the tribe of teenage boys. And the tribe of small-town kids. And the tribe of Pacific Northwesterners. And the tribe of tortilla chips-and-salsa lovers. And the tribe of poverty. And the tribe of funeral-goers. And the tribe of beloved sons. And the tribe of boys who really missed their best friends. It was a huge realization. And that's when I knew that I was going to be okay. (217)”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“I've learned that the worst thing a parent can do is ignore their children”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“What if someone picks on me?" I asked
Then I'll pick on them".
What if someone picks my nose?" I asked.
The I'll pick your nose, too" Rowdy said.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“You should approach each book -- you should approach life -- with the real possibility that you might get a metaphorical boner at any point.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“Listen you have to read a book three times before you know it.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
“We Indians really should be better liars, considering how often we've been lied to.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


Reading Progress

07/29/2011 page 92
40.0% "If you're good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can't be wrong."

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Karla The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know.


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