Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I’m a little late jumping on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian bandwagon. Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel has won awards left and right, so it took me longer than I liked to get my hands on a (free) copy.

I love reading a book that actually deserves its acclaim, and Absolutely True Diary is certainly worthy.

Junior is a teenager from the Spokane Indian Reservation. He faces physical, emotional, and social challenges both on the “rez” and off. (His difficulties and attitude are reminiscent of Brady Udall’s Edgar Mint.) But Junior is a talented cartoonist and good student with a sharp wit.

Junior is honest about the difficulties both he and his tribe face, particularly in terms of death and alcoholism. His life is often brutal and the challenges he encounters feel almost insurmountable.

Yet, the book has a positive tone. Although he does not revel in his trials, Junior also does not despair in them. He has a cheerful, though realistic, outlook and uses humor to endure the struggles he faces.

Alexie is a talented writer. Absolutely True Diary is a delight to read and both entertaining and educational. Add this book to your “to read” list.

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