Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Paperback, 230 pages

First Published 2007 by Andersen Press

My shelves: arc-or-review, awful-cover, better-than-expected, books-i-own, coming-up-next, contemporary, cultural, currently-reading, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, really-good
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
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 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 thought he was destined to live.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie's YA debut, released in hardcover to instant success, recieving seven starred reviews, hitting numerous bestseller lists, and winning the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
My thanks go to Andersen Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely loved this book from the first page to the last! It took me a while to pick this up, considering it was published back in 2007, and all I can say is that I wish I had picked this up sooner. There have been a lot of positive reviews for this book, but until you read it for yourself, it's hard to see why - I think that it's something that you've got to experience for yourself. On the front of my copy, Neil Gaiman is quoted saying that the book will likely "win awards and be banned" - how appropriate! 

This book is about a teenager, Arnold (AKA Junior), his adolescence and his experience trying to break free of the Indian reservation where he lives in order to attend an all-white school. Junior isn't your average teenager and unlike the rest of the school, he is not white. Junior is a Native American who finds himself discriminated against not only because of his race but his appearance - he describes himself as geeky and with a lisp. He doesn't tell us this in a deeply depressed way though - just as a matter of a fact. Junior has a direct way of talking to us and he doesn't leave anything out. We get to hear about issues such as racism, alcoholism, poverty and death amongst other things but, somehow, Alexie always managed to weave in a sense of positivity and humour (a lot of humour!). There were a whole load of tragic events happening around Junior, but he always seemed to be able to make me laugh with his (often dirty, usually black humoured) jokes, his observations and the illustrations. 

The narration reminded me a lot of Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower in the sense that I could connect with him and found him very endearing. This is also a very quotable book! Junior is vulnerable, he is unsure, but he is courageous and determined. He talks about adult things with his own teenage understanding, yet also manages to come up with some profound sentiments. I love how he put his thoughts across in such a simple but sometimes meaningful way. I haven't experienced anything like the lifestyle that Junior has, but I could still relate to him - I think that everybody will be able to find a little piece of their teenage selves within these pages. 

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book. I don't actually know what else to say about this book as it is something that you've got to connect with yourself. I am a big fan of contemporary YA and if you are too, then you should definitely check this one out! I haven't read anything else by Sherman Alexie, but I'll be sure to check out his other work! Young adult readers - Go, read this now if you haven't already! 


  1. I loved this on. It's been a while since I read it, though. Maybe I'll read it again. :)

  2. This is my first time I visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the good work.

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  3. A great review, this certainly sounds like a book with a difference, thanks for recommending it.

  4. Great review!
    Iv'e been meaning to read this and I'm glad you liked it so much! it sounds funny and I love the cover you put up! so I'm going to look into getting that one!

  5. Another great review! Now my TBR list a book longer!!


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