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Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Arnold Spirit, better known as Junior, knows what it means to struggle. Born with hydrocephalus (water on the brain), he was prone to seizures in childhood. He was bullied and targeted for his looks and disabilities. His home life wasn’t much better, living in abject poverty with an alcoholic father and an overworked mother.

Junior realized that remaining on the Spokane Indian reservation would result in more of the same...hunger, poverty, a dead-end job, and little or no education. So he makes a difficult decision that forces him to leave his lifelong best friend and all he knows behind. He transfers to the local white school over 20 miles away.

With no car, limited assistance from his family, and no money, Junior has to figure out how to not only get himself back adn forth to school, but also to practice for the basketball team for which he was unexpectedly chosen.

Junior faces great challenges in his life. He teaches us to respond to challenges with bravery, humor, and grit.

This book is a strange and wonderful mixture of narrative and verse poetry, along with cartoon illustrations. It deals with issues of racism, discrimination, bullying, and poverty with humor and finesse. Alexie doesn’t tiptoe around the issues, he deals with them head on. He also addresses common teen experiences such as masturbation, drug use, and alcohol.



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