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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  188,487 Ratings  ·  20,904 Reviews
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, ...more
Hardcover, Large print, 301 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Thorndike Press (first published September 12th 2007)
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Bekah I suppose it depends on the maturity of the child, but I think I would wait until they are 13 or 14. It's a great and inspiring story, definitely…moreI suppose it depends on the maturity of the child, but I think I would wait until they are 13 or 14. It's a great and inspiring story, definitely worth reading. But it's also squarely in the PG-13 range, due to language, mild sexual content, and other grown-up themes (family alcohol use).

I wouldn't say it's "ruining the minds" of any kids, especially not a child who has a better understanding of grammar than the person who made that comment.

It's about a young man living between two worlds, and taking the higher road, even when it isn't easy. It's not "reading a messed up kid's thoughts". It's reading about somebody who uses their gifts to choose a better path than the life he was born into. Too bad that message isn't "clean" enough for some.

Anyway, I am a 32-year-old college educated woman and a former high school teacher, and I definitely saw both the merit and amusement in it.

In a couple of years, I hope that your 11-year-old will, too!(less)
Mary Lou Instead of offering a subjective age, here are things in the book that might be of concern: prejudice; masterbation (lots of references to "boners");…moreInstead of offering a subjective age, here are things in the book that might be of concern: prejudice; masterbation (lots of references to "boners"); alcoholism; child/spousal abuse; bulimia; death. It's not written in an overly graphic way, but I'm all for letting kids enjoy their innocence for as long as possible. I'm sure kids as young as 6th grade read this, but as a parent you may prefer that they don't. (less)
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Brina
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a short novel labeled young adult but more appropriate for adult audiences. A mere 230 pages including comic sketches, Alexie details the plight of Arnold aka Junior, a 14 year old Spokane Indian living on a reservation. Born with brain damage to alcoholic parents, Junior was never given a chance by anyone to succeed. It did not help that in his tribe, no one left the reservation. The Spokane Indians would spend their entire liv ...more
Elyse
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Everyone on the rez calls me a retard about twice a day. They call me a retard when they are pantsing me or stuffing my head in the toilet or just smacking me upside the head."
"Do you know what happens to retards on the rez?
"We get beat up".
"At least one a month"
"Yep, I belong to the Black-Eye-of-the-Month-Club".

When you're 14 year old and treated like a leper....as much as being outdoors is where every kid wants to be....staying indoors feels safer. So, mostly Arnold Junior Spirit
hangs ou
...more
Jess
2018 update - with all of the women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment from Alexie, I'm no longer comfortable with the glowing review I originally wrote. I still think the book is fantastic, but I don't think the same of its author, and I can't promote his writing with any enthusiasm. I'll leave the original review below.
______________________________

I kinda got on the Sherman Alexie bandwagon, as an undergrad, when all freshmen were required to read his The Lone Ranger and Ton
...more
Lola  Reviewer
The best stories have truth in them.

Even if it’s a fictional story, if it feels realistic, if you can imagine these events taking place in real life, or if it reveals you something about human nature and the world we live in along the way, then it’s a golden truth. It’s even better if the book was shaped from the author’s own living experiences.

Indians don’t need your pity. They don’t want you to feel sorry for their lack of dollar bills or the aggression and racism directed their way.

In fact,
...more
Jodie
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book has sort of been on my radar, and yesterday I saw it on one of my student's desk. I excitedly asked him what he thought of it, and his face lit up. He told me he had just finished it and repeated, "It was a really good book" about three times, with the most genuine smile I've seen from this kid all year. When I told him it was on my list of books I wanted to read, he handed it to me and said, "take it." Huh? Then he showed me the sticker on the front cover that said, "FREE BOOK! Read a ...more
Emily May
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2011
Sooo... what do I know about Indians (aka Native Americans)? Well, apparently the average white American knows very little about them and, whether that's true or not, I can confirm that the average Brit knows NOTHING about them. That would include me. Or it would have included me before I read this book.

This book was one of the biggest eye-openers ever. A very funny, kinda sad, eye-opening experience. You see, Arnold Spirit was born on an Indian reservation and raised amongst Indians and educate
...more
TK421
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
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 hone ...more
Betsy
Dec 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can credit Junior with this much; he's not a complainer. Not really. I mean, sure he was born with an enormous head, gigantic feet, crazy eyes, ten more teeth than normal, a stutter, and a lisp . . . . but hey, have you ever seen the guy's cartoons? They're great! Junior isn't the most popular kid on his reservation but he does all right. That is, until the day he snaps after finding his mother's maiden name in an old junky geometry book. Oddly, the teacher he lobs the book in the face of is ...more
Meg
Oct 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I thought for a second I'd only give this four stars but, okay. I was schooled by teachers who were for the most part trying really hard to achieve a multicultural education in Whiteland. It must have been a daunting task, right? But you would run into a teacher here or there who had his or her own Thing, like, I had a history teacher really into critical thought who totally busted out Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories. And it didn't make up my whole education so of course there are portions I ha ...more
Justin
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the same way that John Green and Jesse Andrews use humor to deal with heavy issues like cancer, Sherman Alexie uses a similar device to tackle a variety of difficult subjects. He hits racism, bullying, addiction, death, poverty, and other topics all through his narrator's great sense of humor and his hilarious cartoons.

I don't read a ton of YA stuff (although I sure have been lately!), but I try to at least hit the highlights. I think this is the best YA book I've read since The Knife of Nev
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie (1966)
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و ششم ماه فوریه سال 2011 میلادی
عنوان: خاطرات صددرصد واقعی یک سرخپوست پارهوقت؛ نویسنده: شرمن الکسی؛ مترجم: رضی هیرمندی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، افق، 1390، در 277 ص، مصور، شابک: 9789643697471؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 21 م، سرخپوستان امریکای شمالی؛ عنوان دیگر: خاطرات کاملا حقیقی یک سرخپوست نیمه وقت، با ترجمه سعید توانایی مروی، در انتشارات افراز و در سال 1388 چاپ و نشر یافته است
راوی داستان، نوجو
...more
Bill Khaemba
I am sitting here just staring at the ceiling, I still can’t believe that this book packed such a punch. My sister just walked into the room and asked me what’s wrong and I threw the book at her…

Image result for Read it gif

“If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.”



I don’t know if I will manage to convince anyone to at least attempt to pick this up, but I will give it my best.

The story is told from The First person by Junior, a 14-Year-Old Spokane Indian boy born with a vari
...more
C.G. Drews
When you google "famous YA books"....this one comes up. So obviously I had to read it. It's like my mission in life to read all the famous-ish YA books. AND NOW I HAVE. I have to say...it was good but not great. The actual reading was an adventure though, because sheesh, first my library cancelled my reserve (WHY. DON'T THEY WANT ME TO BE EDUCATED) and then I finally got the jolly book and I'm pretty sure someone has bathed with it. Or spilled their drink on it. Or like read it 54 times and frol ...more
Manju
Looks like I am in minority here as this is a popular book with all those 4 and 5 star ratings and all those glowing reviews.

Let me start with a confession, when I'd came across this title I added it thinking that this would be about Indians of India but I was proved wrong within few pages of starting this. This book is about native American Indians. I was a teeny tiny disappointed but I kept on reading as it has one of my favorite themes i.e. coming of age.

Story is told from PoV of Arnold and
...more
Glenn Miller
Mar 04, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsey Rey
Highly recommend this one! Trigger warnings for alcoholism, depression, and eating disorders.
Aj the Ravenous Reader
4.5 well deserved stars!

This review contains helpful spoilers. :)

This book authentically tells us about the consequences of racism, stereotyping and isolation in the eyes of a 14 year old boy, Arnold Spirit Jr., a native Indian American who ironically suffered 14 years of bullying in the hands of his fellow tribesmen in their reservation. It's funny how Arnold only started to believe in what he can do and be accepted when he transferred to a school outside their reservation where all stude
...more
David Schaafsma
Alexie’s autobiographical YA novel features Junior, who escapes into comics (drawn in the manner of a kid, wonderfully, by Ellen Forney) from his often tragic life on the rez, particularly The Spokane Indian Reservation. It’s in a kind of diary format, and the “part-time Indian” part of the title refers to the move he makes to leave the rez school in Wellpinit to travel to an all-white school in Reardan, twenty-two miles away but it might as well be a continent away. That move, initated by a tea ...more
Whitney Atkinson
I'm removing my rating & review for this book until I reread it because I don't think I was at an age where I could truly comprehend it, and I know the insensitive phrasing of my original review calling it unrealistic may have hurt and/or misled people who previously saw the review.
Mario
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own-read
If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.


Now this book completely caught me off guard. I expected this to be just another light and easy read. I didn't expect it to become one of my favorite books of the year so far. But it did.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was such a heartwarming book. For some reason it (at least to me) felt like a mix of I Am the Messenger and Wonder, and I freaking loved both of those books.

This book was funny (I mean
...more
Ashley
Dammit, I knew I should have written this review when I first finished the book, but I decided to push it off because it seemed too hard to try and sum up all my feeeeelings, but joke’s on me, now it’s even harder!

Sherman Alexie has been one of my favorite writers since I was in college and one of my English comp teachers made us watch Smoke Signals, which is based off Alexie’s short story, “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” and for which he also wrote the screenplay. I thought the
...more
kian
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتابی بود که از اول تا آخرش، میتونی همزمان هم حس گریه و هم حس خنده داشته باشی.. هر دو با هم.....

گوردی کتابی به من داد نوشته ی یک نویسنده روس به نام تولستوی. تولستوی میگوید: «همه خانواده های خوشبخت شبیه هم اند. اما هر خانواده بدبخت، بدبختی خودش را دارد.» خب من دوست ندارم با یک نابغه روس وارد جروبحث شوم. چیزی که هست تولستوی سرخپوستها را نمیشناخته.یکی هم اینکه تولستوی نمیدانست عامل بدبختی تمام خانواده های سرخپوست، دقیقا یک چیز است؛ عرق خوری لعنتی!
Julie Ehlers
I consider Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven one of my favorite books, but as is often my way, I read it over 10 years ago and inexplicably haven't read anything else by Alexie since. Maybe I just worry no other books will live up to that first one. But The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has obviously garnered a lot of attention--it won the National Book Award, and here in my town it was the "One Book, One Philadelphia" selection a few years back. There' ...more
Tom Mathews
This is another book I took a long time getting around to reading. My desire to read it was driven partly because it has been banned in several school districts, most likely for references to masturbation and boners and other topics of interest to the normal 14 year-old boy. My thanks to the fine folks at The Banned Books Club group for giving me the opportunity to read and discuss this and many other fine books.

Alexie's book is a unique coming-of-age tale of Junior, a Spokane Indian boy growin
...more
Tatiana
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Tatiana by: Amazon Best book of 2007
I am ashamed to admit, I don't know much about Native Americans. What is even more shameful is that the little that I know is taken directly from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books. So you can imagine what an eye-opener this book has been to me.

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" narrates a story of Arnold Spirit, Jr., a Spokane Indian teenage boy who is determined to take his future into his own hands. The only way for him to do it however is to leave his troubled school on the rese
...more
Book Riot Community
It seems I’ve taken my sweet time getting to Sherman Alexie’s work, and for that I’m kind of bummed. While I’ve heard the rave reviews of this novel in particular–with its National Book Award and all–I had my doubts. I don’t always read the YA books, but when I do, I hope that they are as finely written as this one with a unique narrative voice, an emotional reading experience, and plenty to think about, no matter what your age. — Andi Miller



from The Best Books We Read In June: http://bookriot.c
...more
Mollie
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, own, september, ya
I really don't know how to write a review that will do this book justice. All I know is that I laughed, I cried, then I laughed some more. And this review will be my feeble attempt to convey the genius of Sherman Alexie's writing. While this is my first Alexie book, it most certainly will not be my last.

Junior is a Spokane Indian living on a reservation who takes a huge risk by transferring to the white high school twenty-two miles away from the "rez." This takes a lot of courage for a boy, who
...more
Rowena
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
"Reservations were meant to be prisons, you know? Indians were supposed to move onto reservations and die. We were supposed to disappear."- Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I rarely enjoy YA books but I really liked this one. Narrated by Junior (Arnold) Spirit it tells the story of the life of a young Indian boy on and off a reservation

Junior, an unlucky boy living on an Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington,was born with too much cerebral spinal fluid in his s
...more
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Really enjoyed this! It was a rather interesting writing style. It had this very casual feeling to it. I will say that there are a few things here and there that irked me, but for the most part it was enjoyable. Full video review to come! :)
Jenny (adultishbooks)
Amazing book. Kind of kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.
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Discussing the book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian” 4 20 Jun 11, 2018 09:54AM  
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Sherman J. Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA. Alexie has published 18 books to date.
Alexie is an award-winning and prolific author and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American. Sherman's best known works in
...more
More about Sherman Alexie

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“If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.” 2496 likes
“Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.” 565 likes
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