The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

January 26, 2011 Book Review 3

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: September 2007
Pages: 240

About the Book: (from the author’s website)
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. This heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written tale, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, is based on the author’s own experiences and chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he seems destined to live.

My Thoughts: Sherman Alexie is a genius. Period. End of review.
Okay, not really the end but, seriously. The man needs to write more YA books! I can’t tell you the number of students who come in asking for “that book that’s kinda inappropriate but funny.” Even more exciting is the high number of students who tell me that this is the first book they’ve ever finished and/or enjoyed. Thank you Sherman Alexie!

I love that this book can take serious issues and present them in a way that appeals to young adults without being preachy. It’s a HILARIOUS book but as you’re laughing you’re also thinking, “This is so heartbreaking!” With Junior as narrator Alexie tells the story like it is. The amazing illustrations add depth as well as comic relief. I loved this book so much that I bought the special edition which has a number of color illustrations like this one:

It also comes in a cool box and has a forward by Marcus Zusak. I certainly think it was worth the extra money!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book you should make a point to read. It’s a hilarious and honest look at the life and options typically available to Native American youth growing up on “the rez.” If you’re not sure about reading it after seeing what I have to say then consider this… Neil Gaiman (That’s right NEIL GAIMAN) called it “Excellent in every way.” (If you don’t know who Neil Gaiman is I’m not sure I want to talk to you! Kidding, kidding… but seriously, he’s an amazing author too!)

3 Responses to “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”

  1. Annerb

    I’ll admit I’ve never heard of it. . . but if you AND Neil Gaiman say it’s good, I’m going to have to check it out.

  2. Irm Brown

    This is Maryland’s One Maryland One Book offering this year and I’m looking forward to book talking it for teens this week. All our local programs will be in the fall of 2011.

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