Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The title says it all.  This book is written as the diary of Junior, a teenage Indian boy growing up on a reservation.  On his first day of high school, he discovers his mother’s name inside the math book assigned to him and decides to attend the nearest non-rez school.  This decision results in more trouble for already unusual Junior because many Indians in his community view him as being arrogant and turning his back on their culture.  The all-white school 50 miles away gives Junior another set of problems with the only other Indian at school being the mascot. 

            The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is meant for teens, but is still a great quick read for adults.   Sherman Alexie does an amazing job of combining the tragedies of Junior’s life with humor.   His style of writing and use of his own experiences makes you believe you are actually reading the surprisingly insightful diary of a fourteen year old boy.

 I enjoyed this book because it was a combination of the new and familiar struggles of figuring out how to define yourself within a mix of cultures.  I think it is a story that many could relate to while still finding themselves surprised by Junior’s fresh perspective.   

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