Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review: The Toughest Indian in the World

When I first picked up this book I didn't realize it was a collection of short stories. I just saw that it was by Sherman Alexie and I knew I had to pick it up.  I was pleasantly surprised about this book after getting through the painful first chapters.

This book is a serious departure from his normal work. This book has a lot of sexual stories inside of it. They aren't hot and steamy romances but more painful sad attempts at intimacy. This sort of put me off of this book. It was an incredibly awkward start to a strange book. 

I loved that all of these stories dealt with racism, which is the author's main point. In this book,  the subject matter is more about who natives that live in borderlands. Which makes them not white, and not quite native either. Sort of a weird in-between phase. The topics of cultural differences and classes was a common theme in each of his stories.

Another thing I love about these books is that the dialogue is done so well. The characters all manage to have really interesting voices and are vastly different. The world that gets created is one that is real and extremely impactful. You feel like you are on the reservation sometimes.

I don't believe this is a book for anyone that has yet to discover the wonder that is Sherman Alexie. With that said it is a powerful book that will grip you if you can get past the first couple stories. Overall this was a fun read.

Goodreads Description: 

A beloved American writer whose books are championed by critics and readers alike, Sherman Alexie has been hailed by Time as "one of the better new novelists, Indian or otherwise." 

In these stories, we meet the kind of American Indians we rarely see in literature -- the kind who pay their bills, hold down jobs, fall in and out of love. 

A Spokane Indian journalist transplanted from the reservation to the city picks up a hitchhiker, a Lummi boxer looking to take on the toughest Indian in the world. A Spokane son waits for his diabetic father to come home from the hospital, tossing out the Hershey Kisses the father has hidden all over the house. An estranged interracial couple, separated in the midst of a traffic accident, rediscover their love for each other. A white drifter holds up an International House of Pancakes, demanding a dollar per customer and someone to love, and emerges with $42 and an overweight Indian he dubs Salmon Boy. 

Sherman Alexie's voice is one of remarkable passion, and these stories are love stories -- between parents and children, white people and Indians, movie stars and ordinary people. Witty, tender, and fierce, The Toughest Indian in the World is a virtuoso performance by one of the country's finest writers

Author Information: 

Sherman J. Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA. Alexie has published 18 books to date. 

Alexie is an award-winning and prolific author and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American. Sherman's best known works include The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Smoke Signals, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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