I loved this book. Sherman Alexie is a terrific writer, and really made me feel the angst of the teen years again, which while not a pleasant memory entirely, does make this account very enjoyable and humorous. At the same time, this is not a light book. The issues that Junior experiences and wrestles with are not funny at all. He deals with death, loss, discrimination, poverty, bullying, rejection, alcoholism, and many other things that it seems like no teen should have to go through. But through it all, the spirit that he shows is truly uplifting. He is not foolishly hopefully, or in denial, or unmoved by any of it. He feels deeply all the hardships in his life. But, he is never defeated by it, and he never stops pressing on, and trying to make a better life than what he has been given. And that was what made this read so good, despite the awfulness of the situations, Junior triumphed. And Alexie dealt with things in often a humorous way that made me laugh and feel for Junior at the same time.
Another big plus in reading this book was that it was from a perspective I don’t recall ever hearing from before. Junior comes from a Native American reservation, and his life is drastically different from the American ideals that exist around him. Seeing things from this perspective opened my eyes somewhat to this group of people that are often overlooked. That, in addition to the story and writing, makes this book a definite recommended read.