The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Ellen Forney

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316013697
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 04/01/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 356
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 600L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

A National Book Award-winning author, poet, and filmmaker, Sherman has been named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists and has been lauded by The Boston Globe as "an important voice in American literature." He is one of the most well known and beloved literary writers of his generation, with works such as The Long Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Reservation Blues and has received numerous awards and citations, including the PEN/Malamud Award for Fiction and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 426 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 More than 1 year 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.
ohioyalibrarian on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Beautifully written with so many words of wisdom! About a Native American teen living on a reservation who decides to attend a white school. I love the grandmother who says that life is about meeting new people, and the genius friend whose love of books is contagious. Of course, the book highlights the horrible poverty that so many reservation Indians suffer.
cvlibrarian on LibraryThing 6 days ago
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a realistic story about a boy named Arnold Spirit living on an Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington. It takes place over the course of one year, and involves the occurrences of Arnold¿s daily life and interactions with his best friend Rowdy, his family and a group of students with which he forms a relationship. In the beginning of the story, Junior, as he is called by his tribe, feels he would get a better education at a school located outside of the ¿rez¿. He feels trapped by his own people and often mentions his hunger for a better life. Junior¿s family, like so many on the reservation, is plagued with alcoholism and poverty and this propels Junior to attend a school twenty-two miles away from his home on the reservation. His parents although reluctant, agree to let him. The issues that arise from alcoholism, money, and race present obstacles for Junior, yet he finds a way to keep attending Rearden High School, obtain a coveted position on the basketball team and redefine his relationship with his best friend Rowdy. This novel deals with many issues teenagers face today such as peer acceptance, family relationships, and death, yet does not get overly involved in the emotional aspects of them. A great addition to the simple, but thoughtful dialect is the narrator¿s illustrational display of his emotions throughout the book.
WittyreaderLI on LibraryThing 6 days ago
This book was a very touching book about a Native American boy who lives on a "rez" and tires of the treatment he gets from his peers. He decides to go to the all white school, and this decision changes his life. The characters are realistic and touching, and the main character develops as the book progresses. I don't like basketball in stories, so that is what made me give this book a four.
cjthom on LibraryThing 6 days ago
This book is funny, sweet, sad, and inspiring, but not sappy. Sherman Alexie writes a great YA novel. This should definitely appeal to YA boys, especially those who love basketball.
omphalos02 on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Very funny and poignant YA novel about a teen trying to improve his life and outlook, despite some hefty set backs. Would love to read more by Alexie.
BrianDewey on LibraryThing 6 days ago
This is a surprisingly powerful young adult novel. Alexie looks unflinchingly at some of the worst there is in life -- extreme poverty, alcoholism, rascism, death, and loss of hope. And in this barren emotional wasteland, he gives us warm & funny characters who love one another and manage to find joy and happiness in life. There's more wisdom and emotional power in this book than in much "serious" fiction.Plus, the book is wicked funny.Alexie's had one story turned into a movie before ("Reservation Blues"). I hope they can turn this book into a movie. I think it would be incredible.
heathersblue on LibraryThing 6 days ago
This is the best book I've read in awhile. Well, "best" is hard to define, but t was certainly the funniest and had some real moments of hard won truths. I've always loved Sherman Alexie and actually ordered 13 copies, sight unseen, for my teen book club. I can't wait to hand them out!