Wednesday, June 09, 2010
About the book:
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 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 thought he was destined to live.
I read this book from cover to cover in one day. I found it quite interesting. The University that my two sons will be attending in a few months handed the book to all incoming freshmen students at orientation to read prior to arrival as there will be discussions about the book the first week of school. I thought that was a great idea as a way to build cohesiveness among new students by having them all read the same book to discuss. It's also very boy-friendly because the character's head you are in is a high school student for the majority of the book. He's a very relatable character and extremely honest.
Yeah, it's a tad gross at times and a bit uncouth, but that is part of it's charm. You feel like you really know this kid who is journaling his life. The author did a great job with the inner voice of the character and it was unique and consistent throughout the book. I loved the guy humor and the real emotion. Sheesh, I cried in the beginning, but I won't tell you why. Anyone who has ever loved a pet would get misty-eyed when they read that segment of the book.
Bottom line was this story was compulsively readable. I couldn't stop reading it. There was some slang and some mild cussing in the book, but the author was going for realism with the main character and it worked. It sounded like a real teen boy with real struggles. I found the insight into the problems within his Reservation, family, friends, and community to be honestly portrayed as well. The author gets bonus points for bringing real life situations and pain to the pages of this book. I'd recommend it to young people who are looking for a story that will spark some interesting discussions about love, life, and the many complications inerent within those subjects.