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, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
I knew absolutely nothing about this book before reading it, but I’m so glad that I gave it a try.
In a word, this book is one of those books that is everything.
That all starts with the characters. The main character, Junior, is determined and trying to pave his own way to success in a world where everyone is trying to hold him back or thinks less of him. He didn’t let anything deter him even though he ends up having to go through some horrible things like bullying and the loss of his best friend. I sympathized with him every step of the way, and I related to his voice and his story.
Honestly, the highlight of this book is Junior. He makes the entire narrative, and his perceptions of occurrences and settings that people may think is everyday or ordinary are simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious. He restores your faith in humanity and takes it away several times throughout the novel.
This book is important. That’s all there is left to say.
The first time I approached this book in a school setting, my class was in middle school, which is why I’m posting this here instead of RealityLapse, but I probably wouldn’t recommend this one for most middle schoolers. High school might be more accurate, considering that this book touches upon a lot of sensitive subjects.
4.5 stars. A great book definitely worth a read.
pg count for the hardback: 230