Emily May'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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really liked it
bookshelves: 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 educated in Indian schools... and his life really just sucks. Big time. If the author didn't carry this story off with such witty humour, it would simply be a FML rant about poverty, death, alcoholism, abusive parents and just the sense that Hope is not even living in the same dimension as Native Americans.

The fact that all the book covers for this are incredibly childish is very misleading. It becomes apparent when you're reading it that the cover is a picture of Arnold's doodles that he does to entertain himself and to avoid going completely insane... but this is not a kid's book. In fact, I think it will be much more appreciated by the older end of the young adult audience and, of course, adults themselves. It's an education as well as an entertaining story.

I suppose that ultimately this book is about overcoming obstacles and finding hope in the darkest places (I obviously should write cheesy taglines for a living), or even just a bit of humour.
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Reading Progress

October 8, 2011 – Started Reading
October 8, 2011 – Shelved
October 8, 2011 –
page 49
21.3% "The childish title and cover are so misleading - this is awesome!"
October 9, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Ruben Thanks for the review of this book, I appreciate all your reviews. Alexie is one of my favorite writers. I work at a high school in California and we recommend this book to all, but especially for our 9th grade (14 year old)boys.


King I am an American Indian because as a Indian I have a treaty with the euro-American government. If this books teaches nothing more about Indians than that's what our legal title is I will be happy. I hate the title Native American, it throws me in with all the hyphenated titles African American, Asian American, Australian American. Most non-Indians refer to themselves as Americans. In reality they are either European Americans or Native American having been born in America. The word Indian came from the word Indious which meant spirit-like, which is the word Columbus used. There was no country of India in 1492, and he was going to China, not India. I am so tired of the false history that is taught in schools. Please learn more about the real history of this continent. Thank you for reading this book.


message 3: by Karl (new) - added it

Karl I live in SWFL, a half a continent away from where this book is set. My mother is full blooded Sliammon. Aside from knowing about the ubiquitous substance abuse issues, I knew nothing of the rez lifestyle, nor was I all that interested. My mother's mother abandoned her in a car. I have only asked her once if she was ever curious about her heritage. I, up until this point, dropped the whole subject entirely. I know ma had 13 brothers and sisters that at one point tried to reach out to her. Sadly, I wonder how many of them are left. I guess I'll have to play armchair detective. Facebook time?


Carol Storm Great review! What does FML stand for?


Kaitlin Marie-Brown Salter Please know, this book is not an accurate portrayal of the Native American experience


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