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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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It's not my type of book, I thought when I saw the cover. But rather than start a lecture about not judging a book by its cover, I'll let The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian speak for ­itself.

The story is about a bullied kid named Arnold “Junior” Spirit, who is, in fact, Spokane Indian.

“It sucks to be poor,” he says. “And it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor. You start believing that you're poor because you're ­stupid and ugly. And then you start believing that you're ­stupid and ugly because you're Indian. And because you're ­Indian you start believing you're destined to be poor. It's an ugly circle and there's nothing you can do about it.” Junior attempts to break the circle when he leaves his school to ­attend an all-white high school in a nearby farm town. Okay, maybe not all white; there is another Indian – the school mascot.

But for a story about a disabled teen who has an alcoholic father and faces bullies, racism, and the deaths of several close relatives, this book made me laugh a lot. The entire book is full of his taped-in cartoons, which he calls “tiny little lifeboats” in a world that's “a series of broken dams and floods.” These practically tell the story on their own, and through them, suddenly you're inside Junior's ginormous head. I promise, you'll want to stay there.

If your heart breaks as you read this book, chances are you're laughing, too. It really does read like an absolutely true diary: genuine, poignant, in-your-face, and oh-so-real. So, laugh, cry, and love this book as much as I did.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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osruipurple This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 31, 2010 at 6:19 pm
I thought this book was just okay. I wasn't really able to relate with Arnold and I didn't like how much it focused on his playing sports.
 
PurpleFeather replied...
Aug. 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm
How could you NOT relate with Arnold? He was a fantastically portrayed character? Everything about him was so real. Isn't that, ultimately, why readers connect with characters? I mean, can you actually say with conviction that Arnold wasn't a "real" character? And the whole sports thing was a way to show: 1. The rivalry Junior had with himself to decide whether he was loyal to the white people or his own people 2. The jealousy and betrayed feelings the Indians back on the rez were... (more »)
 
deathismyfavoritewordbutmygreatestfear replied...
Aug. 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm
PURPLEFEATHER get you but onto your email
 
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