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More About The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman AlexieOverviewBased on the authors own experiences, this first young adult novel by bestselling author Alexie features poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney that reflect the characters art as it chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy attempting to break away from the life he was destined to live.
- ISBN-13: 9780316013680
- ISBN-10: 0316013684
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: September 2007
- Page Count: 229
- Reading Level: Ages 12-17
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds
Books > Young Adult Fiction > Comics & Graphic Novels - General
Books > Young Adult Fiction > People & Places - United States - Native American
Books > Young Adult Fiction > Social Themes - Emotions & FeelingsBookPage Reviews
Negotiating the boundaries between two worlds
Arnold Spirit Jr. has water on the brain. Born hydrocephalic, the Spokane Indian underwent surgery at six months. Because of his brain damage, he has 10 more teeth than most people, is nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other and suffers from migraines and seizures. He also stutters, lisps and has huge hands and feet. In fact, "Junior" has many physical irregularities, but there's nothing he struggles with more than sorting out the connection to his heritage.
Sherman Alexie's first novel for young adults is funny, self-deprecating and serious all at once. Closely based on Alexie's own experiences on the reservation, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian follows the 14-year-old narrator as he evades peer persecution and his family's poverty by transferring to an all-white schoolwhere the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Junior is scorned by those he leaves behind on the reservation, and his best friend Rowdy wants nothing to do with him. The only time they meet during their first year of high school is on the basketball court.
Junior escapes his troubles by drawing quirky cartoons (depicted in illustrations by graphic artist Ellen Forney), but he has more going for him than he knows. He becomes a star on his new school's varsity basketball team, many of his fellow classmates come to respect him, the hottest girl in school befriends him and even nerdy Gordy can admit that Junior is smarter than 99 percent of the high school. Junior's lack of confidence in his choices, however, causes him to berate himself during his 22-mile walk home from school. He feels displaced: Does he belong in the snobby, wealthy white culture or among the inebriated, impoverished Indians of the reservation?
With his perceptive narrator, Alexie deftly taps into the human desire to stand out while fitting in.