Joseph'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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Apr 24, 08

Read in January, 2008

Essential young adult, and adult reading alike. Sherman Alexie has staked his claim as one of the most impressive and talented story tellers of our time with his uncanny ability to weave pure and magical comedy into the harsh realities and difficulties of present-day Native American "Rez" life. His writings are not only extreemly enjoyble, but they are essential and important documents on widely ignored social issues on and off the reservation.
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message 1: by Emily (new)

Emily joseph, i read this but i thought it was the publishers review! you are such a good writer. i should have known that was YOU!


Joseph haha. thanks!
so, funny story: I was looking through my books and started reading my own review and I thought it was a critic too until I remembered that i had written it. haha!

do you want me to mail it to you before I leave for Africa?


Oliver Thomas Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is the story of Arnold Spirit Jr., a triumphant 14-year-old.

The geeky kid otherwise known as Junior is forced to overcome brain disorders, bad eyesight, poverty, a family history of alcoholism and even tragedy.

Growing up on a reservation, Junior confronts these obstacles head on. Yet in the process, he also has makes a critical decision when it comes to his American Indian heritage. Alexie explores the loyalty of Indian reservations, as well as the life chances children have when living upon them.

The pages turn easy in this self-narrated fictional novel. Alexie’s short chapters and quick pace helped me finished the book in two days, which never happens. Emma’s review shared the same sentiment:

Link: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
“I finished it in two days but have been holding onto my copy because I’ve been having a hard time articulating why I might love this book.”

I also have been unable to pinpoint why I enjoyed this book. While it was easy to read and was told well by its main character, I don’t find Junior to be a very believable protagonist. He’s broke, he gets the girl, he gets popular, and he’s becomes a gifted basketball player despite little athletic ability. While all plausible, it just doesn't seem likely that all of this would occur in only 230 pages. Michael’s review echoed my thoughts:

Link: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
“This is all fair material--native Americans do have, after all, a terrible heritage of alcoholism, depression, poverty, and more--but somehow the confluence of all of these terrible events in this skinny little book ends up feeling easy and contrived.”

Ultimately, I still found the story compelling, humorous and sad all at the same time. Yet in a sense, I don’t think Junior’s personal journey is as important as the cultural background of the story itself. It’s what people don’t acknowledge about the prejudices and challenges facing American Indians that makes this first-person account so inviting. All in all, it’s well worth the read for that premise alone.


message 4: by Eric (new)

Eric Loth At first, finding a book for me was hard and I usually go with what my teacher/peers recommend to me. My teacher recommended the Book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie to my class and said this is a very funny and good book. In my mind I said to myself “That’s just what I needed”. When I first started reading this book I kind of got bored of it. Even though it was the first page that didn’t pull me in, soon as I kept reading and flew up to page 10, the pictures, the text and just the story, I fell in love with this book. I usually read because I am forced to for school. But when I picked this book up I saw a different world of books. I never thought I could have fun while reading. My friends looked at me weird because I did laugh a couple of times as I read the book, which also influenced them to read the book too. I’m a teenage guy, so the plot of this story is something I can connect to. I felt like I was reading about my own life but from a different perspective. I enjoyed this book a lot but there are something things I do dislike about it. Like for an example, the main character Arnold and his old friend from the “Rez”, there relationship reminds exactly of the two friends in the book “The Dairy of A Wimpy Kid”. I disliked it because since I read a book about it before, I felt like I was re reading a book that I barley liked. But the way that the author added to the story was what made me like the book. Also how the author gives descriptions of the characters and settings. Over all I thought it was a well-written book.


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