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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

44 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com

I'll admit -- I put off reading THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN for well over a year, in favor of more "exciting" books. Boy, what a mistake I made!

Told from the perspective of thirteen-year-old Arnold Spirit, an intelligent, observant, sarcas...
I'll admit -- I put off reading THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN for well over a year, in favor of more "exciting" books. Boy, what a mistake I made!

Told from the perspective of thirteen-year-old Arnold Spirit, an intelligent, observant, sarcastic Indian born with encephalitis and a love of cartooning, Sherman Alexie takes us along with him as he moves away from a circumscribed, oppressive life on the Spokane reservation towards a more promising future by attending an all-white school thirty miles away.

Never one to get bogged down in sentiment or self-pity, Mr. Alexie refuses to present Arnold's friends and family as one-dimensional stereotypes, nor is the world beyond "rez" borders portrayed as the Great White Hope. Arnold's family has problems, to be sure: an alcoholic father, an enabling, codependent mother; a near shut-in older sister. But their love for each other is evident through their words and actions. And despite the ostracism and ridicule heaped upon him by former friends and other tribe members, Arnold reacts with biting wit rather than total despair.

This has to be one of the best books I've ever read in my life, so I hope everyone gives it a try.

posted by TeensReadToo on October 25, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

38 out of 134 people found this review helpful.

Inappropriate for Children of All Ages

When the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was brought up in a curriculum committee meeting as recommend reading material for 10th graders I decided to proof read the book. To my surprise the book is full of swears, crude language, b...
When the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was brought up in a curriculum committee meeting as recommend reading material for 10th graders I decided to proof read the book. To my surprise the book is full of swears, crude language, blaspheme, and filthy references.

If you like South Park humor than this is the book for you. Most of the funny situations only make you laugh because of a carefully placed swear word or racial slur. I understand teens are going to hear or use these words but even if it is a learned behavior it should NOT be a taught behavior. There are thousands of young adult books available that have to be better for your children than this one.

Barnes & Noble's filters won't even allow me to post a censored version of the books content but you can see a list of the vulgar words at amazon dot com. (The f-word a-word s-word and all sorts of other words that the FCC won't even allow on broadcast television.

posted by R_Brandt on October 4, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Fair book, but worth reading

    Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time-Indian" is honestly not a bad novel but it wasn't......GOOD. Arnold "Junior" Spirit, is a Native American born on a reservation in Spokane, born with water in his brain. To make a long story shirt the book entells inappropriate references that I feel should only be presented to a truly mature book. This novel required a ton of patience and a small sense of humor in order to "enjoy" the book. The plot was sort of relevant to that of a young adults life, but some of the things within the book were a bit too dramatic. What i guess i really enjoyed most about the book was the relevance to the life of a teenage boy and how HE REALLY ACTS. What i did not enjoy, was the ongoing complaining Arnold would do and the back and forth he would tell about his daily struggles in life. Over all, I honestly would not reommend this book personally because I didn't enjoy it and the plot was just to bland. But I must say it provides a lot of resources for testing purposes in school. Enjoy!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Ok

    Only good for mature audiene or teens

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    Good but too short

    I enjoyed Alexie's humorous look at growing up on and off "the rez". It's a refreshing read because he is so candid about, well, everything. I caught myself laughing out loud several times. I did feel that a few of the chapters only scratched the surface of the situation and I would have liked to have read more. The ending was a bit abrupt, but overall I had fun with this story. The illustrations were definitely a plus!

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Good Book

    In the novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the author Sherman Alexie shows the life of a young and poor Indian living on the reservation. Arnold Spirit then decides to leave the rez in order to find a better future for himself. He then discovers that he's pretty good at basketball and that people like him at his new school. This book is based on the real-life experience of Sherman Alexie's hard times as a kid. I liked this book because most of it is positive, it kept me interested, and it's a real life experience of the authors.

    This book starts out kind of sad but it gets more and more positive as the book goes. On the rez everybody hates him. In a positive turn, he decides to change schools and go to Reardan. Despite the doubts everybody has, Junior makes it through the school year at Reardan with good grades and at the end of the year he gains a lot of friends. On pg.214 there is a picture of juniors report card. He got four A's and two B's in Geology and Wood shop. Junior proved that he's just as smart if not smarter than most of the white kids at Reardan.

    I also liked this book because it kept me interested. There were a lot of tragedies in this book, most of the people that passed away,meant a lot to Junior, like his grandmother, Eugene, and his sister. Junior took his grandmother's death especially hard like on page 161 when Junior said " People had either ignored me or called me names or pushed me, But they stopped all of that after my Grandmother died". All of this drama kept the book interesting.

    Another reason why I liked this book was because it was a real life experience of Sherman Alexie. " I was actually born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull" said Junior. This actually happened to Sherman Alexie. Most of the problems Junior has in the book, happened to Sherman Alexie in real life.

    I would recommend this book because it had a good message in it. It also kept me interested, I couldn't put the book down. I recommend this book to anybody age 16 or older because the book does have some bad language in it and some inappropriate parts for younger children.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    in ok book

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part -Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was a good book. There's a kid named Junior that has a lot of choices to make. Junior lives on a reservation with his family and other Indians, but all that changes. Junior's teacher tells him to leave the reservation and go out and have hope. His new school at Reardon has good kids, and he has new girlfriend. Junior looses his old friend Rowdy as a friend when he makes the move. Sherman Alexie did a good job on the book. I like this because of the detail of the characters, the emotional parts, but the ending could have been better.

    The book Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian had a lot of detail about the characters and how they are. On page 57 there's a picture of Junior. Junior is half dorky because he goes to the reservation and half normal looking. If junior was white he would look cool and would never have gone to the reservation, and he would be going to Reardon.

    What made the book great was the emotional, touching, and caring parts in the book. There were many emotions in this book such as sad, happy, and grief. During the book Junior's sis passes away, and it's a very shocking and emotional time for Junior. There's a picture of Junior's sis and her husband together dead in the book.

    The ending was ok, but it could have been a lot better than how they left everything open in the end. The ending was with Rowdy and Junior playing basketball. Sherman Alexie left a lot of questions for the readers out in the world.

    I would recommend this book to a friend, because it is an emotional, thrill-driving book. Junior's whole life is changing fast but at the same time will Junior keep it together or will it all fall apart at the same time. Junior is shocked how things turned out. Sherman Alexie did a great job on the book.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Read it!

    The Absolutely True Dairy of a Pare-Time Indian by Sherman Alexis is a novel of a boy named Junior that goes through very hard things in life. Junior is the main character in the book. He is an 15 year old Native American. He tries to make his life in Spokcane Washington. Junior relies on the support of his family. I like this book because if had many interesting situation, it had cartoons/pictures, and emotional details, and heartbreaking moments.

    I like this book because it had several interesting situations that related to real life, young adult life, and to relationships. Junior was interested in a girl named Penelope. It took him sometime to tell her that but they started to talk. And then they became girlfriend and boyfriend. On page 110 mentions about Junior and Penelope relationship.It said "I think she was bored of being the prettiest, smartest, and most popular girl in the world. She wanted to get a little crazy, you know? She wanted to get a little smudged. And I was the smudge." The passage

    I also like this book because there were many cartoons and pictures. On page 69 there was a picture of his Grandma. The pictured showed and explained how she looked. I thought that the pictures and cartoons made the story go smoother. There were a few sayings on the picture. One said that Grandma's best friend is salmon mush. Some others are that her house dress was $10 in 1972, she has a pair of basketball sneakers on so she get mad skills, and that Grandma wore a bandanna on her head.

    I also like this book because there were emotional and heart breaking moments. There was a point in the book that Junior lost someone that is very special to him and that was Grandma. Grandma was the person that Junior looked up too. There were some emotional moments in this book. For example, his Grandma died. His Grandma was a very special person in his life. He looked up to him.

    I would recommend this book because you can learn some lessons/important things. Some lessons/important things that you can take out of this book is that it is hard when you lose someone every special to you, dating relationships can be rough, and that if you have a rough you will have people that will help you. There will be people that can help you cheer you up when you are down. I would recommend it to any high school people.

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  • Posted October 5, 2010

    well written

    From beginning to end this book is filled with experiences or situations that many kids can relate to. I don't read very much but just by reading the first two chapters of this book i checked it out form the school library. It tells the story of a boy who just wants to be different then how he is, he wants to fit in and doesn't change his personality to do so. This book is a story about courage,identity, and life struggles that many people face in life.I really liked how it was written in format from a young teenage boy who uses sarcasm and cartoons as a way to enjoy his life and escape from reality.Every other page you are reading a cartoon or laughing at how funny the main character can be.In my opinion this book is also for adults as well, it can be related to by almost anyone who reads it of any age, besides younger children around the age of sixteen and under.This story i found at times made me stop reading and think of a time were i was in this little boys shoes thinking almost the exact same thing he was, which takes a really good author to make someone feel like that from reading words. I can say that the way this book is written and the style of writing the author uses i would be interested to see what other kind of novels this author has written and possible check some of them out.I rated this book a three out of four based on the plot, and character development. One thing i did not like about this book is the ending. once you passed up the reading about everyone dying it basically doesn't get any different. We never get to know if Junior grew up to be a success or any thought about what he did after high-school. seeing this character develop threw out the book should of ended with a final outlook on how his future came to be. That is only my opinion thought, read it and give it your own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2010

    Indecent Exposure

    This book was a slight disappointment, the kind you get when you read a bad book. The moral of the story was great, and you felt pity, sympathy,, and happiness for him throughout the book. However, I couldn't really relate to this book and therefore it didn't tug my heartstrings, I wasn't a fan of the overall plot either, a little too childish for me I guess,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    NOT a book for young readers

    While the book is written well and has it's merits, this is not a selection for a young reader. This book was selcted from a list my daughters school uses to choose books for their middle school class.

    For me books are meant to be delved into, discussed,invoke imagery and create a desire to want to keep reading, read more.

    Asking a 13 year old to intellectualize, discuss and justify masturbation is a little beyond what I wish my child to be examining and exploring.

    What has happened to the reading lists with the Bronte's, Hemingway and Fitzgereald ?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2008

    Keisha Stevenson thought this book was awesome

    I thought this book was great because who do you knwo who would write a book about Indians on the reservation and their drinking and the proverty going on. I just want their to be a sequel

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