Customer Reviews for

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

45 out of 48 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

40 out of 139 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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  • Posted October 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Quick Read for Kids who Hate Reading

    I've been plugging this to my tenth grade students like crazy, and there is a waiting list at the school library because of it. Alexi's book is realistic, and the often-absurd illustrations will draw any reluctant reader in. Junior's cataloging of his own faults is so in line with how many students seem to see themselves for a time, at least, and his desperate attempts to figure out where he fits in are easy to identify with.
    Depending on the reader, the opening chapter will either draw a reader in instantly or repel them. I think in most cases, it will make Junior more appealing. He lays all of his faults out right away, much as the way teens see themselves. And, like teens, it takes quite a long time for Junior to discover his own strengths. However, the strongest aspect of the work is Alexi's delicate balance between tragedy and comedy. The funniest moments are offered levity by reality, and even the most desperately sad pages have a comic that offers a unique perspective.
    If you're someone who believes that teens need to be "protected" from the world; you'll hate it. If you realize that experiences gained from reading are as valuable as those coming to students, it's easy to recommend this one widely.

    27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    From Red to Brown...

    As an ignorant high schooler I was instructed to read a book. Little did I know I would read a book full of hard truth. While still a hilarious book, it showed how life on an outdated Native American Reservation can be. It showed Alcohol as a main proponent of the deaths in the book. I would recommend this to anybody who needs a splash of reality in their face.

    22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    I recommend you read this- check it out!

    This book had one interesting story plot to it! From having problems in the head from when he was born, to having a best friend that beats everyone up, and to even him having "special time" with himself! Very interesting , if I may say so myself! This book is not just interesting, but very good and life like. It's very life like because the things Arnold encounters during his life long situation,are things and events you and I encounter all the time, and almost everyday!
    The book "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian", is definately a good book for young readers. But the thing is those young readers, have to be mature young readers! We don't want to see you say "ew", or "ha ha", when something that Arnold says, or his mother or father is'nt really the most normal thing you would here in a book. That's just really immature.If you do, do that then you should try and think next time that , "should I really say what I am about to say?". That would really help you in the future!
    Now that this book has taught some life long lessons, some good lessons, and some lessons on how to treat and love your family, it has turned out to be a really great book. I loved this book because the story plot is about living the tennage life. When reading it as a teenager, about teenagers you can really reflect upon what you are reading. Just like Arnold was talking about , girls he likes and has liked in the past, fights, and family issues. That I think we can all reflect upon! Well , if you like suspense, emotional times, friends that become enemies, fights, love stories, deaths, and much, much more , you sould definately check out this book! I mean it does have everything you can ask for. Some things in this book are very, absolutely, truly, interesting!!!

    12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a must-read!

    Junior is the center of all the bullying that goes on at the Spokane Reservation. They call him water head because he was born with too much brain fluid. There is seemingly no hope for him. His family is pore. But there is one thing he does have; he's smart. So Junior decides to go to the white school from Reardon. There he faces a whole new set of troubles. But he has the one thing that no other Indian has; a bright future. This story is filled with drama and great character development. You feel like you're right beside Junior facing bullies and playing his best friend Rowdy in basketball to the death. I would recommend it to anyone twelve and over. It's a four-star book in my opinion and a great read!

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Angieville: THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN

    I'm so glad I finally got around to this one. The laughs were much needed. Of course, there were bouts of tears to go along with those laughs, so it probably evened out in the end. But that is the mark of the best kind of story. It made me feel genuine emotion, and not all one kind, so I feel fulfilled and stretched out, rather than left wondering if I'll ever be able to crawl my way up out of the hole. <BR/><BR/>Junior's life is unenviable. And that is putting it mildly. He lives on the Indian reservation in Wellpinit, Washington with his parents (part to full time alcoholics), his sister (a depressed basement dweller), and his grandmother (the one functional member of the family). He also has a best friend called Rowdy, a young man whose father beats him and who, in turn, beats up everyone in his path. Except Junior. When we first meet him, Junior is excited to begin his first day of high school. A self-proclaimed nerd of the highest order, Junior eagerly opens his geometry book only to find his mother's name inscribed inside the cover. That's right. This is the same geometry book his mother used when she was a freshman in high school. Junior is filled with such hopeless rage that he chucks the book at his teacher, earning himself a suspension. But after a conversation with his teacher, he sets out on a quest for hope, resolving to transfer to the local white school in Reardan. <BR/><BR/>I loved this book for so many reasons. I loved it for the humor, dialogue, and artwork. But also for the ache it gave me in the back of my throat when I imagined a life like Junior's. This is my second encounter with Sherman Alexie's work. Awhile back I watched and loved SMOKE SIGNALS and that came back to haunt me (in a good way) so many times that I was eager for more. This book is semi-autobiographical and that thought alone kept my emotions very close to the surface throughout the reading. The obvious and favorable comparisons to John Green and Chris Crutcher are certainly valid and definite indicators of whether or not you will like the book. But it's worth mentioning that THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN also reminded me of the tough, direct prose found in MY HEARTBEAT and the throbbing longing of I AM THE MESSENGER. If any of this sounds like your cuppa, I'd add this one to your stack posthaste.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

    Being a teenager is tough. Especially when you have few friends, can't afford anything other than the necessities, and have various medical problems for which you're teased. Being a teenager myself, I've been fortunate enough to have never experienced any of those things. However, those hardships are Junior's everyday reality in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. After reading the memoir, I am thankful for all my blessings and take refuse to take them for granted.
    I absolutely enjoyed Alexie's memoir because I couldn't stop laughing all the way through it! The memoir managed to get across the serious themes of the book while adding Junior's witty humor many of the scenes. Throughout the book, there were cartoons that illustrated Junior's thoughts and ideas. Many of them were also very humorous.
    Another contributing factor to my satisfaction with the memoir is the sense of hope that it gave me. Despite the odds stacked against him, Junior manages to overcome them. To me, Junior is a true hero and his character makes me unafraid to face the struggles that life sets before me. I really admire Junior for his strong sense of perseverance. Junior "had to add (his) hope to somebody else's hope" because he was the only one who had hope in the Spokane Reservation (43). Junior realizes that on the reservation, "Indians don't get to realize their dreams (52)." This upsets him and leads him to constantly bring his friends and family to believe in hope and in a bright future. In the memoir, Junior is a victim of constant ridicule from his fellow Indians and his white classmates. However, this doesn't stop him from dreaming of a better life or trying to obtain it.
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian showed me what hardship means and how one unlikely boy with unfortunate circumstances can have the most courage and hope. Although I am not Indian, the book allowed me to connect with a different culture and understand their pain and joy.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Living in two worlds.

    This is a touching narration of living on an Indian reservation. Just image trying to live in two totally different worlds, even though they are similar; image you are an Indian loving your family and friends, but also wanting to know life outside the reservation; now you may have just a little idea of how the main character feels. You will "feel" his emotions and be touched by his story. You will cheer at his victories and feel sad when defeat occurs. This was an eye-opener. Enjoy the culture of this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Great book with relatable characters

    Definitely loved

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2009

    Easy Reading

    This book was a very good book. It is also easy reading for anyone that is not an avid reader.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2015

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian makes you laugh

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian makes you laugh while quietly breaking your heart. Alexie has created a protagonist—a young stuttering fourteen year old boy—who is entirely realistic and lovely in this realism.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2015

    Very captivating! H Very captivaiting!

    This book was very good. It accurately describes life in indian reservations. The story was very interesting and realistic, but it made me sad that people have to live in extreme povery like this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2015

    Enjoyed This!

    This book was a fun read, and the cartoons added much to the book. I will share my copy with others and recommend it for your library.

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  • Posted July 25, 2014

    Great Job Nook Books!

    So glad they had this book available for the nook! All the pictures inside worked great and the format was awesome! Super easy read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    I read this book when I was in high school and I read it again a

    I read this book when I was in high school and I read it again and it still made me laugh out loud. This book is a definitely read, you wont regret it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was a fantastic

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was a fantastic book. Sherman Alexie made it very relistic and had some very interenting illustrations that will draw any reader in. The book is a very easy read with can draw a bigger crowd of readers. The book is told by Junior, a poor indian teenager, who is very smart, funny, and observent. Sherman shows us how hard it is for a &quot;rez&quot; boy to chance schools and make a name for himself in this big world. Junior finds hope after he beings to become frineds with people at his new school and makes the high school basketball team. Hope is something no one on the reservation. before I ruin the book for all of you ill stop and just say it is a must read! you will enjoy it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2014

    Sherman Alexie┬┐s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time

    Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a well-known, National Book Award winner, and a banned book.  The author’s writing allows the reader to connect with the characters, making them feel the same pain, all the while giving the reader a good laugh.  The format of the novel itself helps to keep the reader entertained and allows the reader to better understand how Junior, the main character, thinks by including his cartoon drawings that he creates every day to express his feelings.  Junior is a poor boy living on the Spokane Indian Reservation, except he is a little different than the other Indians living on the rez.  Born with hydrocephalus and other health issues, Junior has to overcome many obstacles and prove that he is strong enough to live.  Growing up Junior quickly finds that everyone who lives on the rez does not leave, he realizes that he wants to follow his dreams and make more of his life.  After making the hard decision to leave the rez school and go to a nearby school with all white people, Junior struggles to fit in at his new school, and deal with being an outcast on the rez.  Alexie’s novel allows the connection with the reader, because the character Junior is based off of Alexie’s personal life.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has won many awards but also includes some controversial subjects.  Junior’s adventures and struggles include racism, alcohol, and sexual comments.  Junior proves that no matter what is going on in a person’s life, with some effort a person can turn their life around.  I would not normally have read this type of novel, but am glad that I did.  The novel was inspiring and opened my eyes to some of the struggles that people in different communities faced and still face today.  I am a person who has my small group of friends and when I am around other people feel like I do not fit in, and I think that I have a better understanding of how Junior feels.  I will say I teared up when Junior’s grandmother died because I was the same situation a month ago (except mine was not killed by a drunk driver).  I would recommend the novel to anyone who is looking of a quick read and a little bit of humor.  

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    My middle school son loved this book. The 'raciness' that put so

    My middle school son loved this book. The 'raciness' that put some people off is - I think - the normal stuff that tween/teens think about, whether we want them to or not. I read the book, myself, and found it to be quite moving. Arnold has some significant relationships that  we would all wish for our kids - teachers, coaches, adults and peers supporting each other and working through biases, loss, and arguments. I highly recommend the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Not just for YA

    I read this as part of a book club and loved it... If buying it for a classroom, it may be wise to have a permission slip filled out for younger teens as the subject matter is not always PG.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Good

    Interesting, bit racist, but well thought out and realistic.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2013

    This book also speaks about the difficulty of living in two cult

    This book also speaks about the difficulty of living in two cultures. When one &quot;leaves the rezervation&quot; for life in a different culture, one faces discrimination and possible anger from members of both groups. I feel that the author has idealized his heroe's eventual acceptance by his white schoolmates. In real life, most people are not sports heroes and true acceptance is not so easy to achieve. He depicts accurately the fact that both cultural groups see the individual as a two-culture person, One is never again one hundred percent one or the other.
    This is an interesting book on many levels for teens or adults. The author does not clean up an adolescent boy's language or interests, therefore the book should not be given to children. It would shock their parents. Kids would not understand it. Excellent for high school age.

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