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

May 31, 2011
By Mank Kylie BRONZE, Wichita, Kansas
Mank Kylie BRONZE, Wichita, Kansas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

This novel by Sherman Alexie is based on his experiences as a young adult and has semi-autobiographical elements. Alexie's humor lightens the sometimes painful and sad story.

Junior is an aspiring cartoonist and a misfit, born with water on his brain. An outcast on his reservation, Junior has just one friend, Rowdy. When Junior decides to go to Reardan, a white school 20 miles away, everyone on the reservation declares him an apple (red on the outside but white on the inside) and Rowdy vows never to talk to him again.

At the new school, Junior is treated exactly as he was on the reservation. While he tries to work his way up the social ladder both at Reardan and back on the reservation, he surprises everyone when he tries out for the basketball team and makes varsity as a freshman. He is put to the ultimate test when his team plays the reservation's, with the star player being none other than his ex-best friend, Rowdy.

This coming-of-age story is paired with cartoons that allow the reader to see inside Junior's mind to understand his emotions and opinions through both difficult and fun times. This interesting book explains how hard it is growing up on a reservation and how much more challenging it becomes when Junior decides to go to Reardan. Seeing the reactions of those he considered friends and others on the reservation is heart-breaking, but Alexie's humor and funny cartoons make the story relevant and easy to read for a young adult audience.

Humor is by far the most effective literary technique an author can use to captivate an audience. Alexie's writing showcases humorous literature at its best, as shown when Junior describes his family's poverty: “And sure, sometimes, we miss a meal, and sleep is the only thing we have for dinner, but I know that, sooner or later, my parents will come bursting through the door with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

I would recommend this book to any young adult looking for a fun, quick read. The engrossing and comical mixture of Alexie's writing style paired with Ellen Forney's illustrations led The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to become a National Book Award winner.

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This article has 2 comments.

on Jan. 1 2012 at 10:37 pm
I actually didn't like this book...I thought it was too preachy to actually be enjoyable as a novel. It's clear that the author has a clear point of view and message that he would like to get across, but when it's too obvious, as it is in this novel, it becomes distracting to me. Just my personal opinion. But great review!

on Aug. 4 2011 at 5:50 pm
RhythmAndRhyme BRONZE, Rockford, Michigan
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There's no half-singing in the shower, you're either a rock star or an opera diva." ~~Josh Groban

True dat! (Haha.) This is such a great book! I read it straight through in less than four hours, it was so intriguing and humorous. It had me laughing out loud every five minutes. Junior Spirit's story should be an inspiration to us all.


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