Tuesday, October 16, 2007

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

Wow. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's both sad and hilarious, and I read it straight through almost without stopping. Arnold Spirit, also known as Junior, is a Spokane Indian living on the reservation ("the rez"). He has a big head, huge feet, loves to draw, and is a target for bullies. He's also very bright and he figures out that he needs to leave the reservation to fulfill his life's dreams. This is the story of his first year attending Reardon high school, where he's the only Indian. He loves his family and his culture, but he is not blind to the problems that alcohol causes in his community. In fact, it is the cause of numerous tragedies in his own family circle. Arnold makes new friends at Reardon, becomes a basketbal star, and struggles with his old best friend who feels betrayed by his departure. It doesn't sound funny, but it really is. Some people might think the innermost thoughts of this 9th grade boy are a little mature, but they are certainly nothing you wouldn't hear on TV. Recommended especially for 8th grade guys, but also for anyone (young or old) who appreciates good writing. (Just so you know, this is fiction but it is taken straight from the author's life.)

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