Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you want to make an audience curious about a book, just put it on the "banned" list.

When I saw that this was one of the most objected to books on the list, I had to admit I was curious. I picked it up to see why it was banned and stayed for the fascinating characters and the moving story.

Arnold ‘Junior’ Spirit is a teenage native American living on a reservation. He attends the local reservation school until he’s challenged by a teacher to go to a more academically oriented school that may give him a chance to be something more. Arnold decides to follow that dream and ends up alienating his only friend on the reservation and becoming an object of scorn as well. He also struggles as he tries to find his place in his new school.

Moving, real and authentic, Arnold’s journey through the school year is compelling and frank. Told from the first-person perspective of a teenage boy, the story contains references to everything a teenage boy thinks about on a daily basis. Punches aren’t pulled and things aren’t sugar coated and the book is stronger for that.

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" is a coming of age story that will surprise you. There were moments in this book I laughed out loud and others where I had a lump in my throat. Often these two are within just a few pages of each other.

Experiencing the story, I realize that while Arnold swears and discusses coarse subjects, it’s all done because he’s being real with himself and the readers. That drew me in and kept me interested. And in one of the highest compliments you can pay to a book, I reached the final page and wasn’t ready for it to end. I’m not sure a sequel is necessary or demanded, but this is one reader who’d welcome another chance to spend some time with Arnold.

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One response to “Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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