Jess'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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Nov 29, 07

it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, high-school, sports, mock-printz-2008, national-book-award
Recommended for: everyone
Read in November, 2007

Okay, okay, fine, I give in.

I’ll get on the bandwagon.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is, well, made of awesome.

I kinda got on the Sherman Alexie bandwagon, as an undergrad, when all freshmen were required to read his The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven. I liked it. Put it next to Plato’s Republic and it was pretty damn exciting. But I didn’t go out and gobble up all this other books. Plus I’m not the hugest fan of short stories. But you know me, I’m a sucker for YA. And for YA that everyone’s been raving about. And that wins the National Book Award.

Here’s one of my favorite things about the book: almost everything that makes you laugh is also heartbreaking. This in no way makes it less funny, or less sad. It’s both, perfectly, at once. Just like the times when Junior is heartbroken but can’t. stop. laughing.

Also, Junior is a book kisser.

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’m a book kisser.
Maybe that’s kind of perverted or maybe it’s just romantic and highly intelligent.


While it certainly packs a punch, it’s a quick, engaging read and I think it would be equally engaging to high schoolers and adults. It’s one I could pick up and read through again, if I didn’t have so many others waiting for me.

Also, the 1 and 2 star reviews on Amazon are pretty diverting. “The protagonist is too similar to all of those annoying protagonists in young adult fiction today,” says the 1 star. Yes, they’re all so annoying aren’t they? They’re not, you know, struggling with figuring out who they are and what their place is in the world. They don’t have problems with friends or family or school or themselves. They’re simply annoying. Oh, teenagers. Both reviews pick on the Catcher in the Rye similarities, but honestly I never thought of Catcher until Junior mentioned it on his list of favorite books. Along with The Grapes of Wrath. And Feed. And Fat Kid Rules the World. And Invisible Man. And some others that I haven’t read. But really, I was more struck by the inclusion of Steinbeck and Ellison than the others - you have poverty and you have race, pretty squarely represented. Issues that are much more emphasized, I would say, than any similarities to Holden.
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Reading Progress

02/29 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by cat (new)

cat excellent review! sometimes i rue the day we decided consumer reviews were the way to go-i often get frustrated at the amazon.com reviews for books (although also some are great!)

thanks for the cyber recommendation!


Jess I like the consumer review model if only because it lets me make fun of other people.


Theresa I'm reading it to my homeroom kids right now and they love it! The humor is great - and because they're blind, my kids can all relate to Junior being a social outcast. Well done, Sherman! I need to watch Smoke Signals again:)


Jeffrey Made of awesome. I've been saying that a lot lately too. It's coming from Brotherhood 2.0 I think. ;-)


Jess I must confess to picking up "made of awesome' from the Greens.


Bookie Your review and comments are vastly more eloquent than anything I could say. Thanks you for wonderful comments on a terrific book.


Jess Thank you!


message 8: by Ro (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ro Cepellos "Here’s one of my favorite things about the book: almost everything that makes you laugh is also heartbreaking. This in no way makes it less funny, or less sad. It’s both, perfectly, at once. Just like the times when Junior is heartbroken but can’t. stop. laughing."

How brilliantly put. YES!!!!


Robin Yup this book is deceptively powerful and when you finish it, it clobbers you.


message 10: by Jake (new)

Jake Uzee The humor in the book stood out to me. Alexie did a good job of making you laugh, then making you heartbroken the next chapter. The detailed two life scenario the character lives in is great, really showing how hard it can actually be being a teenager. I think this is a for sure read for all young high schoolers.


Bonita This book was absolutely wonderful and I think the title of this book was a great metaphor:)


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