TK421'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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Jan 24, 13

bookshelves: literary
Read in September, 2011

Confession time: I’ve been a bit of a snob when it comes to YA literature. The idea that this type of writing was beneath me, not able to give me what I wanted from a story were my main excuses. I’m not going to say that YA fiction is ever going to replace “literary” adult fiction, but I will say that it has opened my eyes. THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN is a magnificent read. The story centers around Junior, a Spokane Indian, and his family who live on a reservation. To be honest, I was leery coming into this book. I had read FLIGHT and RESERVATION BLUES and INDIAN KILLER and THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN, and I was expecting little from this book. Mainly I read it because it won the National Book Award. But Sherman Alexie makes a very straightforward narrative electrifying. Being a South Dakotan, I understand the tenuous relationship between Whites and Native Americans, and to think that I would be moved by a Spokane Indian was never really plausible in my mind. Alexie moved me. His words and ideas and descriptions gave me an insight that I previously lacked. Reading Junior’s story gave me the chance to see what it is like to know as a young person what your future will hold if raised on a reservation. The word bleak does not adequately describe these people’s futures; it is much darker than that. But Alexie doesn’t just paint a grim picture of reservation life; he also illuminates the aspects of life that should be cherished within all colors: family and hope. Junior doesn’t have a lot of hope, at first. But as the story progresses, his family provides him with the needed hope to see that the borders of the reservation are meant to be broken, that it is okay to explore life without knowing what the outcome is going to be. At times hilarious, heart-wrenching, and provocative, this quick read is anything but simple. Well, done, Mr. Alexie, well done. (Plus, who doesn’t like reading about basketball every once in awhile in a novel?)

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Reading Progress

09/16/2011 page 135
59.0% "Wowzers, Sherman Alexie can get me laughing, angry, and contemplative all in the same sentence...what a great read!"
09/17/2011 page 230
100.0% "Wow. I think that's all I can say. Wow."

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Jack (last edited Sep 18, 2011 12:48PM) (new)

Jack Well reviewed, Gavin. My wife is a middle school counselor and keeps up with YA literature. There isn't much good stuff for YA males out there. We have not read this one, but it has been on our radar. Mr. Alexie will be in town on October 19th speaking at our local Community College. He is said to be very sharp and funny in person. I'll check him out.

Jenny (Reading Envy) I like his short stories too.

message 3: by Carol. (new) - added it

Carol. I just heard about this one. Your review cements it!

Elizabeth I loved this book. Cried at least ten times. Sherman Alexie is a great speaker. If you get a chance definitely take the time to see him!

TK421 Elizabeth wrote: "I loved this book. Cried at least ten times. Sherman Alexie is a great speaker. If you get a chance definitely take the time to see him!"

I would love to hear him speak! Lucky you!

Minasuec i agree with you!! and i also loved how it was like a diary and how it just talked about Jr's daily life who lives in the reservation... Plus+ this book is so humorous and it made me want to read it again and again!! such a good book<3

LoveLea I agree, but to be fair most YA literature is not like this. Some of it is as bad as you'd think. John Green's new book is also better quality YA, I just don't like it as much as this book.

message 8: by Jake (new)

Jake Uzee I agree with this review. Alexie does a great job of showing tension between whites and spokane americans. The courage junior had to turn his back on the reservation and pursue something new warmed my heart. I think most YA books are looked down on by most readers, but masterpieces like this will change peoples opinions.

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