Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publishing Date: September 12th, 2007 
Pages: 230 pages
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Source: William James Bookseller (purchased) 

As a white girl from America, this book was an eye opener. I realized already that the average american knows next to nothing about Native American culture, but this book blew my mind. This book is raw and unfiltered. Sherman draws on his own experiences and uses the novel to really start a conversation on an issue that we need to face.

The book starts out with Arnold Spirit who was born on the Spokane Indian reservation and raised amongst Indians and educated in Indian schools and his life was terrible. Everything life dealt to him was cruel. He was born with water or fluid on the brain. The book follows ones school year.

Unfortunately all to often on reservations we hear about physical abuse. In this story a boy named Rowdy. This boy is a classmate of his. He is seriously abused at home, but for some reason stands up for Junior. He lets Junior see his vulnerable side. The quote below is Junior explaining how his dad punishes him. 

"He doesn't believe in physical punishment; he believes in staring so cold at me that I turn into a ice-covered ice cube with an icy filling."

This book also brings to light the horrendous conditions that occur on reservations. It also makes you think about why they were created in the first place. These quotes below have kept me up at night. 

"Reservations were meant to be prisons, you know? Indians were supposed to move onto reservations and die. We were supposed to disappear.
But somehow or another, Indians have forgotten that reservations were meant to be death camps.
I wept because I was the only one who was brave and crazy enough to leave the rez. I was the only one with enough arrogance. (29.26-29.28)"
I was blind sighted by the depth of this book. This was pretty much due to how cutesy, and childish the cover is. It sort of makes the reader think that it will be a fun read, when it really is pretty serious. I enjoy the doodles, because it seems like a child artist trying to escape the tough realities at him. 

Overall this is a super moving, education story that any person could benefit from. 
Goodreads Description:

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. 

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