The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

4.3 387
by Sherman Alexie

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Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The

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Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.

Editorial Reviews

With his first foray into teen literature, acclaimed author Sherman Alexie packs a punch in this absorbing novel about a Native American boy searching for a brighter future. At once humorous and stirring, Alexie's novel follows Junior, a resident of the Spokane reservation who transfers out of the reservation's school -- and into a nearby rich, all-white farm school -- in order to nurture his desire to become a cartoonist. Junior encounters resistance there, a backlash at home, and numerous family problems -- all the while relaying his thoughts and feelings via amusing descriptions and drawings. Having already garnered a National Book Award for Young Adult Literature, this moving look at race and growing up is definitely one to oick up.

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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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11 MB
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Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 387 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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.
mwallslawson More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
dyingforEdward More than 1 year ago
He was AMAZING!!!! He came to my town today and I got his autograph, he was so funny!!! The book is based on 72% of his real life NO JOKE!!! You have to read the book it is absolutly AMAZING!! you will love it!!!
xmarykatex83 More than 1 year ago
THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN is one of my new favorite books. I absolutely loved reading it. It was so good I didn't want to put it down! Alexie's writing is very humorous and he actually sounds like a teenager. The main character, Arnold Spirit, is very relatable to readers. I really liked this book because he was going through problems like going to a new school which I was getting ready to face too. The book also showed me a different way of life like when Arnold would have to walk 30 miles home from school on some days. I couldn't imagine doing that! Another reason why I really liked this book was because Arnold drew funny comics that depicted some hilarious things and some tragic things in his life, but drawing was how he coped with it. This book was fun and it kept me laughing from beginning to end. THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie is a fantastic young adult novel about a teenage boy named Arnold Spirit who was born with some medical problems and gets picked on for this and who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation. When he decides to leave the reservation and go to the white high school he is even more fiercely shunned and picked on. At the white high school he goes through all the normal teenage problems like having to meet people and make friends, drifting away from old friends, and trying to fit in at school. While he is trying to adjust to this new life he goes through hard times like having an alcoholic father and multiple deaths in the family. Arnold doesn't let this get him down though and he moves on knowing that someday if he keeps persevering and dreaming then life will be better. The message of the story was to never give up no matter how many bad things happen to you. Arnold is a wonderful role model for teenagers. This book is a "must-read" for teens. It is one of the best books I've ever read! It definitely deserves five stars. I recommend that if you're looking for a fun, humorous, easy book to read, than you should definitely read THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN.
bookluvinprof More than 1 year ago
I've been researching YA novels for teaching a college-level class on the subject. This is by far the best recent one I've read. Arnold Spirit is an unforgettable character: brave, funny, smart, and capable of overcoming great odds. But he is also very real--and someone who I think a lot of kids can identify with. Nothing in this book is easy. Arnold faces adverse circumstances on the 'rez': poverty, alcoholism, and violence, to name a few. But all the characters are interesting, and there are no 'black hat' villains. Arnold sees good in everyone: his alcoholic parents, his depressed sister, his weird-looking teacher, his unpredictable friend Rowdy, and the white kids at the white school he insists on attending--the beautiful blonde cheerleader with bulimia, the class nerd with a passion for learning, and the arrogant basketball star who turns out to be generous and thougtful. I absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone--teen or adult. The illustrations represent Arnold's talent for cartooning, and his cartoons are extremely thought-provoking and would be great for class discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is about a 14-year old Indian boy, Arnold Spirit (Junior) living on the Skopane Indian Reservation. He's born with too much cerebral spinal fluid and other disabilities, such as being near sighted in one eye and farsighted in the other, seizures, stutter, and a lisp. He's always bullied and his family and the whole reservation that he lives on is in poverty, and Reservation Indians don't get any opportunities or chances to grow up and be successful. One day he decides to take control of his life and future and enrolls in an all-white school where he eventually grows from an outcast to a loved peer: having a lot of friends, being on the basketball team, having a girlfriend, etc. The major messages/themes of this book is that everyone in the world, no matter how poor, old, young, what nationality you are, etc., can take control of their life. If you decide you want to succeed, you'll actually have to work for it; it won't just come to you. You can overcome any obstacles in your path by believing and just moving forward towards your goal/'s. I liked the book very much because it talks about very common problems and it shows young readers that overcoming the odds can be done. It's actually a very inspiring book which encourages you to get out there and start getting things done instead of sitting and waiting for them to come to you, which probably won't happen. I only have one dislike, and that's the fact that this was a very fast read. You get so into the book you just want to keep going and keep reading to find out what happens next. It ends too fast though and you want to find out what happens to Arnold even after the book is done. You should definitely read this book because if helps you realize that life is very short and you should take action to start making your dreams and goals come true. If you don't get to them now, you probably won't get to them later. This book will make you want to start doing something today instead of tomorrow. My overall rating for this book would be a five. This book really made me look at myself and think about what I would like to achieve (short term and long term goals) and it made me really think about how I should start to work towards them and overcome obstacles that might get in my way. You should definitely read this book! Not only is it inspiring, but overall the story is just hilarious and very entertaining!
BriannaLaurenCagan More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonemous1 More than 1 year ago
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!
Cameron_Streich More than 1 year ago
This book was about how an Indian on the rez changes his life around starting by transferring to a new school. But life becomes much harder when the white people ignore him and the Indians despise him for being a traitor. But when he earns the respect of the other basketball players and he leads them to the play offs beating his old teammates, he finds that he may have a chance after all. A major theme in this book was to never give up. Even though Arnold had to go through so many hardships he never loses sight of his dreams to make it to the outside world. I really liked the pictures that provide a funnier side in all the seriousness. Also the jokes were timed well, so they gave off an awkward joke that you feel weird laughing at. One thing I didn't like was there were a few too many pictures, and some of them seemed unnecessary. Although this book is somewhat inappropriate for kids that are younger, I would still recommend it to anyone who is at least 13 years old. It is a great book to read regardless of boy or girl. I would also recommend this to anyone who likes funny books but also a more serious reader would enjoy it too. Overall I would say that this is the perfect for the average reader.
Angieville More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Rusty-C-Adore More than 1 year ago
Sherman Alexie is a fantastic writer. And this book is only one of many excellent books. It has an easy to read format and the characters are very real (it's a story based off of his life after all). This book deserves every award that it has won.
JimRGill2012 11 months ago
When is a YA novel not truly a YA novel? Perhaps when it transcends the conventions of the genre to become a pointed critique of race and socioeconomic class. Or when it is written with such honesty and humor that it feels (absolutely) true rather than fictional. Or when the book is done and you think, “I want to stay in this book some more!” Sherman Alexie’s novel achieves of all these ends and more. Narrated by Arnold/Junior Spirit, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” defies classification. It is most assuredly semi-autobiographical, its opening lines recall that most classic Bildungsroman “David Copperfield” (whereas David was born with a mystical caul, Junior was born “with water on the brain”), and the story is told through both words and illustrations, although it is not actually a graphic narrative. The hybrid nature of the story reflects Arnold/Junior’s hybrid identity. Although it would be quite pointless to try to trace a typical “plot” within this book, Arnold/Junior’s stories create a narrative synergy that resonates with meaning and truth. It might be most accurate to sum up the “plot” of this narrative by describing it as Arnold/Junior’s quest for his identity—and he often comments upon this very issue throughout his journey from the rez in Wellpinit to his high school in the white town of Reardan, the “hometowns” to which Alexie dedicates the book. But the book is so much more than that, as it poignantly depicts the struggles of Junior’s entire community and the multiple demons—poverty, alcoholism, hopelessness—that confront them every day. Despite the grim nature of many of the events in the novel, Alexie imbues the tale with a genuine sense of joy and hope. This book is a monumental achievement, suitable for all readers, YA or otherwise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book in theseventh radeyes it is filled with crude language and racial slurs this book has a much deeper meaning
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey people i read thiss book a couple months ago and i loved it and even though junior has a hard life its actully really good i hope who ever reads this book laughs ALOT and crys and smiles too but sometimes we can all relate to junior one way or another
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
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.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
This novel, both hilarious and charming, is a great peice of teen literature. In other words, it was awesome. It will make you shed both tears of joy and sorrow as you follow Junior on his journey of self-discovery in a place of heartbreak. I loved this book.
mmg25 25 days ago
Panther Choice Novel Review - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is my favorite book that I have ever read so far. I enjoyed the parts where Junior was upset about starting high school at a new school, because I went through something similar to Junior. I also liked how Sherman Alexie tied his own personal experiences with being a Native American and what it is like to live on a reservation. This book is a truly amazing book from start to finish. Junior, who is the main character of the book, starts out by telling the reader about he has a brain condition where he was born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside of his skull. This leads to him getting beat up all of his life, and having to make multiple trips to the hospital throughout his life. Junior is quick to realize that he cannot make it on the reservation like he thought he could. His teacher tells him that he has enough hope to get him out off of the reservation in order for him to succeed in the world. This is his new beginning to him to finding his path at his new all white school. Junior eventually finds out that he is different, although he knew that from the start he really knew it then. He learns to accept his differences. Other people start to accept him as well. Sherman Alexie actually did live out majority of the events in the book. He said so in an interview with the author. Living on the reservation, going to Wellpinit and Reardan, and losing and gaining his best friend back are some examples of what really happened to Alexie. Alexie is very powerful and straight-forward in his writing. He uses a lot of figurative language to describe situations that Junior goes through, throughout the book. I enjoyed how he incorporated his real life experiences into the book to make it more relatable. This is a really heartfelt, amazingly, well-crafted book. I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers who encounter a lot of change throughout their lives. I would rate this book a 5 stars. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is an incredible work of art. You should absolutely go order a copy for this book.
Anonymous 6 months ago
This book is amazing
Anonymous 6 months ago
The book Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian is a very good book in which a Native American child on a reservation has to overcome obstacles when he starts going to a school for white kids. This book has also won the award National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Reservation Blues, Indian Killer,are other books also written by Sherman Alexie. I do have to point out though that the book is quite depressing and may not be enjoyable for some readers. The main character in the book (Arnold), has disabilities because he was born with too much spinal fluids in his skull. “I was born with water on the brain. Okay, so that's not exactly true. I was actually born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull. But cerebral spinal fluid is just the doctors' fancy way of saying brain grease. And brain grease works inside the lobes like car grease works inside an engine. It keeps things running smooth and fast. But weird me, I was born with too much grease inside my skull, and it got all thick and muddy and disgusting, and it only mucked up the works. My thinking and breathing and living engine slowed down and flooded. My brain was drowning in grease. But that makes the whole thing sound weirdo and funny, like my brain was a giant French fry, so it seems more serious and poetic and accurate to say, "I was born with water on the brain."(Alexie 1-3). This quote shows how arnold has to overcome many obstacles including fitting in at his new school. Throughout the story, he continues to make bad choices but his friend Rowdy is always sticking up for him; Arnold is also bullied a lot on the Indian reservation and at school, but Rowdy is always on his side. I think that the recommended reading age for this book would be 14 to 17, because there are some things that people may find inappropriate. This book reminds me of another book called I Funny by James Paterson, because the main character in that book also has a disability, he can not walk, and his parents died in a car accident, so he lives with his aunt and uncle. His dream is to be a stand up comedian, and he has to overcome many challenges throughout the book. I think that Sherman Alexie did a very good job in this book, he was very descriptive with everything, and it was very good overall.
Anonymous 8 months ago
This has a different kind of plot. But the plot is amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Absolutly True Diary Of A Part Time Indian is a great book for higher level readers in fith grade and readers in high school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that this is a great book for older people like me! It does have some funny bad words in it and a rude part for christians which didnt mind me i kind of under stand why he was so upset with the Lord God. But anyways i do love how the author put a lot of character to the characters in the story. I am also a christian and an awesome artist so i do love this book. I would think only 12+ year olds should read this book.