The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian is a funny and moving novel that you can read in one day. Sherman Alexie did a fantastic job narrating the audiobook. I completely understand why over 147,000 readers rated this at an average of 4.11 stars on Goodreads.
Here’s the summary:
”Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.
Arnold Spirit, Jr. AKA “Junior” was born with hydrocephalus and an extra-large head, which makes him an easy target for teasing. School is difficult enough when you can blend in with the “normal” crowd, but social issues arise when you’re physically or mentally different. On top of all this, Junior’s parents were alcoholics. Sherman Alexie handles this sensitive subject with grace and humor. Junior could have played on people’s sympathies and played the disability card, but he chose to make light of the life he was given. He still had ambitions in life and made a bold move to attend the all-white high school. He used cartooning as a way to deal with life, but he also found joy in it.
I just love the overall attitude of the novel. It sends an inspiring message to people that just because life dealt you a bad hand doesn’t mean that you have to give up on life. You may have more obstacles or have to start out further back than other people do, but you can still get to where you want to be in life.
This story is also about the test of friendship and inner strength. Junior had to stay strong when everyone literally turned their backs on him. His response to this challenge showed his true character. This is when he found out who his friends really are.
Everything I know about Native Americans I learned from the Twilight series. Don’t laugh. I’m serious. This book won the American Indian Library Association Award, which I didn’t know existed. Of course, being the Google researcher that I am, I had to look it up. I immediately saw some interesting reads on their website. If you’d like to find other award winning American Indian novels, you can see their list here.
This is a story that will make you laugh and feel warm and fuzzy inside. This is a must-read.