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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  249,913 ratings  ·  25,431 reviews
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, and beautifully written, The Absolut
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published September 12th 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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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 wort…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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Miranda Reads
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook

Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.
Junior, a teenager on the Spokane Indian Reservation (the "rez"), spent his entire life trying to blend in.

He was a smallish kid who used to have seizures. He was picked on and bullied almost constantly.

And then...something snapped.
There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away.
Junior realized that he was going nowhere fast and the onl
Nov 27, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: everyone
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
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: native-american
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
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor.”

Heart-breaking, yet heart-warming and uplifting.
So authentic, very humane and touches deep in the heart.

This story presents, in general, the difficulties of living through poverty, all the impoverishment associated with family and societal issues, and the will and desire to continue to follow the heart and endeavour to fulfil one`s aspirations. The sp
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a novel by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Ellen Forney.

The book won several awards, and was the first young adult fiction work by Alexie, a stand-up comedian, screenwriter, film producer, and songwriter who has previously written adult novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays. Alexie stated, "I [wrote the book] because so many librarians, teachers, and teenagers kept asking
Elyse  Walters
"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 much as being outdoors is where every kid wants to be....staying indoors feels safer. So, mostly Arnold Junior Spirit
hangs ou
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Robin Hobb
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this as an audio book. The version I had was from my library, and is, I believe the tenth anniversary edition.
It was read by the author.

I started out listening to this on my own. I like having a story running in the background while I'm doing routine tasks. But very soon I saw that my husband Fred was also closely tuned into the story. So I timed my listening times so that we could enjoy it together. And enjoy it we did.

I loved Alexie's voice and inflection for this telling. I lov
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
Funny, poignant and heartbreaking, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian is a must read for everyone.

Dealing with hydrocephalus, poverty, constant bullying and frequent deaths in a family of drunks, Arnold aka Junior goes through an undeniably hard life growing up in the Spokane Indian Reservation. The journey of this 14 year old trying to manifest his dreams into reality by shifting to an all white school *after alienating his bestfriend and the entire community* and gearing up to fac
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Julie G
Reading Road Trip 2020

Current location: Washington

After I finished Crazy Brave for my “Oklahoma” pick this year, I had the revelation that a woman who reads as much as I do should have far more books by Native writers under her belt. (Don't call me “woke,” or I'll throw a water balloon at you).

Sure, I've read John Ehle's Trail of Tears and Scott O'Dell's middle grades fiction that often features a Native protagonist. I also included John Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks for my “South Dakota” pick thi
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
2011 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.

There were several laugh out loud moments that caught me by surprise. There’s some very dry humor happening amongst this very serious and sometimes sad story. Ultimately, this is definitely a male adolescent type book, so keep that in mind. But the overall message was good: that you can rise above expectations and become more than expected, if you dare to be different and step outside the box.

Note: this book is listed as one of the most popular books to b
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, gems
Back when I was a freshmen in high school I was given this book by my English teacher to read over the weekend for an assignment. I ended up finishing the whole novel in under a day and I loved it. I even remember giving it multiple reads after finishing it. The use of illustrations by the protagonist made this book especially funny. The reason I am an avid book reader now is thanks to this book. I know my testimony isn’t the first of it’s kind and many others were turned into avid readers as a ...more
Em Lost In Books
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
Dave 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
Bill Khaemba
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-2017
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,
Lindsey Rey
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this one! Trigger warnings for alcoholism, depression, and eating disorders.
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
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! :)
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 stu
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. ...more
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
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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
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
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Tom Mathews
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
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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

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