The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

4.3 383
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… See more details below

Overview

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

Bruce Barcott
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is Alexie's first foray into the young adult genre, and it took him only one book to master the form. Recently nominated for a National Book Award, this is a gem of a book. I keep flipping back to re-read the best scenes and linger over Ellen Forney's cartoons…For 15 years now, Sherman Alexie has explored the struggle to survive between the grinding plates of the Indian and white worlds. He's done it through various characters and genres, but The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian may be his best work yet. Working in the voice of a 14-year-old forces Alexie to strip everything down to action and emotion, so that reading becomes more like listening to your smart, funny best friend recount his day while waiting after school for a ride home.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Screenwriter, novelist and poet, Alexie bounds into YA with what might be a Native American equivalent of Angela's Ashes,a coming-of-age story so well observed that its very rootedness in one specific culture is also what lends it universality, and so emotionally honest that the humor almost always proves painful. Presented as the diary of hydrocephalic 14-year-old cartoonist and Spokane Indian Arnold Spirit Jr., the novel revolves around Junior's desperate hope of escaping the reservation. As he says of his drawings, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats." He transfers to a public school 22 miles away in a rich farm town where the only other Indian is the team mascot. Although his parents support his decision, everyone else on the rez sees him as a traitor, an apple ("red on the outside and white on the inside"), while at school most teachers and students project stereotypes onto him: "I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other." Readers begin to understand Junior's determination as, over the course of the school year, alcoholism and self-destructive behaviors lead to the deaths of close relatives. Unlike protagonists in many YA novels who reclaim or retain ethnic ties in order to find their true selves, Junior must separate from his tribe in order to preserve his identity. Jazzy syntax and Forney's witty cartoons examining Indian versus White attire and behavior transmute despair into dark humor; Alexie's no-holds-barred jokes have the effect of throwing the seriousness of his themes into high relief. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Daniel Antell
This book would really appeal to high school and junior high boys for casual and interesting reading. People who are interested in reservation life would find that this book gives a wonderful insight to Native American culture. Alexie makes a good storyteller. The pictures in the book give great detail to the story and writing. Within the story, there are two worlds that a boy must distinguish between and live in.
VOYA - Jenny Ingram
Nerdy, fourteen-year-old Arnold Spirit lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state. During his first day at high school, Arnold discovers that his geometry textbook is so old that his mother used it in school. In anger, he throws the book at his teacher and is suspended. Recognizing Arnold's potential, his teacher suggests that Arnold transfer to a school off the reservation. There Arnold attempts to bridge Indian and white cultures-sometimes successfully and sometimes not-while at home, he faces the controversy of leaving the reservation and his own culture. The tension reaches a peak when Arnold returns to his former school for a basketball game as the star player on his new school's team. Alexie's portrayal of reservation life, with the help of a great lineup of supporting characters, is realistic and fantastical and funny and tragic-all at the same time. The story is engaging, but readers will also gain insight into American Indian culture and politics as well as a sense for human nature and the complexities of living in a diverse society. Cartoonist Forney's drawings, appearing throughout the book, enhance the story and could nearly stand alone. It is clear that she and Alexie worked closely together on this project. Recreational readers, especially boys, will enjoy this book, but teachers will also find it filled with lots of material to rouse a good classroom discussion. This first young adult novel by the acclaimed Indian writer whose adult fiction is used in many high school classrooms is based on Alexie's own memoir.
School Library Journal

Gr 7-10
Exploring Indian identity, both self and tribal, Alexie's first young adult novel is a semiautobiographical chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. The bright 14-year-old was born with water on the brain, is regularly the target of bullies, and loves to draw. He says, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats." He expects disaster when he transfers from the reservation school to the rich, white school in Reardan, but soon finds himself making friends with both geeky and popular students and starting on the basketball team. Meeting his old classmates on the court, Junior grapples with questions about what constitutes one's community, identity, and tribe. The daily struggles of reservation life and the tragic deaths of the protagonist's grandmother, dog, and older sister would be all but unbearable without the humor and resilience of spirit with which Junior faces the world. The many characters, on and off the rez, with whom he has dealings are portrayed with compassion and verve, particularly the adults in his extended family. Forney's simple pencil cartoons fit perfectly within the story and reflect the burgeoning artist within Junior. Reluctant readers can even skim the pictures and construct their own story based exclusively on Forney's illustrations. The teen's determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie's tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries.
—Chris ShoemakerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Alexie nimbly blends sharp wit with unapologetic emotion in his first foray into young-adult literature. Fourteen-year-old Junior is a cartoonist and bookworm with a violent but protective best friend Rowdy. Soon after they start freshman year, Junior boldly transfers from a school on the Spokane reservation to one in a tiny white town 22 miles away. Despite his parents' frequent lack of gas money (they're a "poor-ass family"), racism at school and many crushing deaths at home, he manages the year. Rowdy rejects him, feeling betrayed, and their competing basketball teams take on mammoth symbolic proportions. The reservation's poverty and desolate alcoholism offer early mortality and broken dreams, but Junior's knowledge that he must leave is rooted in love and respect for his family and the Spokane tribe. He also realizes how many other tribes he has, from "the tribe of boys who really miss . . . their best friends" to "the tribe of tortilla chips-and-salsa lovers." Junior's keen cartoons sprinkle the pages as his fluid narration deftly mingles raw feeling with funny, sardonic insight. (Fiction. YA)
Booklist
"Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience."
BookPage
"Deftly taps into the human desire to stand out while fitting in."
Los Angeles Times
"Few writers are more masterful than Sherman Alexie."
Miami Herald
"Exceptionally good....Arnold is a wonderful character."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[Alexie] has created an endearing teen protagonist in his own likeness and placed him in the here and now."
New York Times
"This is a gem of a book....may be [Sherman Alexie's] best work yet."
Newsday
"Fierce observations and sharp sense of humor...hilarious language."
USA Today
"Sure to resonate and lift spirits of all ages for years to come."
(starred review) - BCCB
"What emerges most strongly is Junior's uncompromising determination to press on while leaving nothing important behind."
(starred review) - Horn Book
"The line between dramatic monologue, verse novel, and standup comedy gets unequivocally-and hilariously and triumphantly-bent in this novel."
From the Publisher
"This is a gem of a book....may be [Sherman Alexie's] best work yet."—New York Times"

A Native American equivalent of Angela's Ashes."—(starred review), Publishers Weekly"

Sure to resonate and lift spirits of all ages for years to come."—USA Today"

Realistic and fantastical and funny and tragic-all at the same time."—(starred review), VOYA"

The line between dramatic monologue, verse novel, and standup comedy gets unequivocally-and hilariously and triumphantly-bent in this novel."—(starred review), Horn Book"

Nimbly blends sharp with unapologetic emotion....fluid narration deftly mingles raw feelings with funny, sardonic insight."—Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)"

Few writers are more masterful than Sherman Alexie."—Los Angeles Times"

Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience."—Booklist"

Fierce observations and sharp sense of humor...hilarious language."—Newsday"

Breathtakingly honest, funny, profane, sad....will stay with readers."—(starred review), KLIATT"

What emerges most strongly is Junior's uncompromising determination to press on while leaving nothing important behind."—(starred review), BCCB"

[Alexie] has created an endearing teen protagonist in his own likeness and placed him in the here and now."—Minneapolis Star Tribune"

Deftly taps into the human desire to stand out while fitting in."—BookPage"

Exceptionally good....Arnold is a wonderful character."—Miami Herald

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316219303
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
01/10/2012
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
10,539
Lexile:
600L (what's this?)
File size:
11 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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