Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
I've been wanting to read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie for like, ever. Ok, so it was only published a year ago... but a year is a long time to wait for a novel of this magnitude. It's only won about a billion awards, or 18 by my count. Impressive. In all, a perfect choice for the Young Adult Reading Challenge.
The novel tells the story of Junior, a 14 teen year old cartoon drawing basketball playing Spokane tribal member. Life on the reservation is bleak. Junior realizes that his only hope is to attend high school off the rez... at the white school. Faced with his tribe practically disowning him and his white peers ostracizing him, Junior experiences some of the lonelist days of his life. Slowly, Junior builds rapport with his schoolmates and eventually experiences limited acceptance. Like he says, he's a "part-time Indian".
The amazing thing about Junior is that he's faced with so many obstacles... brain damage, poverty, his father's alcoholism, the death of 3 very important people in his life, (I could keep going), but he maintains his drive, determination, and sense of humor. Did I mention this book is based on Alexie's life? Good golly.
Recommendation: An easy poignant read that will leave you wanting to give Junior a big hug.