Post #8: Absolutely True Diary…

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

Post number eight is for Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, whichi s a book I've heard several people talk about since it was released, and was also another required reading assignment for my YA Lit class. And this book is DEFINITELY for YAs (or older); it is very bold, very brash and very in-your-face. However, it was also very good, very heartbreaking, and very funny, all at the same time.

Spoilers follow.









This book's narrator is Arnold Spirit, a Spokane Indian living on the reservation. He was born with fluid on the brain, which impacted him in several ways, all of which he details for you in the first pages of the books (setting the stage for the laughing-while-you're-crying I mentioned above). His best – and only – friend is Rowdy, whose name reminds me of the best friend's name in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (and this book vaguely reminded me of those as well, throughout its entirety). Rowdy's father is a drunk, and is abusive, so Rowdy is sort of mean himself, although he takes care of Arnold (who is called "Junior") and fights Arnold's fights. However, after one incident too many, Arnold decides he needs to leave the reservation, so he gets permission to enroll in the "white" school 22 miles away. Rowdy ends up hating him for this, and they have a major falling out, concluding in Arnold starting at Reardon with a black eye. :)) Throughout the rest of the book we watch as Arnold makes a place for himself at Reardon, including making friends with some of the students (the prettiest girl in school, the biggest geek, and the best athlete). He makes the basketball team, gets good grades, and does really well. And yet, he also suffers tremendous loss at the same time, but it is handled in a way that you can't help but laugh.

There are comics throughout (Arnold loves comics, and loves to draw) which enhance the text, and add to more of the LOL moments.  There are frank discussions of adult topics, including alcoholism, masturbation, and death, just to name a few, which is why I said it is definitely for the YA and older crowd. But it was really well done, and I really enjoyed the book, and recommend it.

Currently reading: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan  [RR], A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot (which I sometimes wonder if I'm ever going to finish…)

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