The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian

Book - 2007
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Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown,, 2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316013697
0316013692
Branch Call Number: YA ALEX
Characteristics: 229 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Forney, Ellen

Opinion

From Library Staff

Comment
natalie_g Sep 27, 2013

One of the best books you'll ever read! Sherman Alexie's trademark humor is all over this compelling story of life on the Rez.


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

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j
jankidd
Nov 14, 2017

Our book club, a group of retired socially aware women, read this book as our November selection. I learned a lot about life on the rez, and feel the book truly shares the feeling of a high school freshman, who is smart and recognizes how he doesn't fit in anywhere. It's a good read.

g
green_ape_734
Oct 18, 2017

Sherman Alexie really hits all my favorite writing points. Self depreciation with a healthy dose of hubris. Little sexy, little depressing, and a lot of criticism of America. oh, also, well written

m
mclarjh
Jul 24, 2017

Terrific book, but for young adults (junior high).

LPL_MeredithW Jun 24, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Famous and beloved novel just as great as everyone said it was.

I literally laughed and literally cried. Read this right away.

a
Alirox02
May 07, 2017

Holy crap. This is amazing.

Somehow, this book manages to be light and heavy at the same time.

READ IT

b
Biblitz
Apr 06, 2017

A chronicle of the terrible lives and self-inflicted injuries of reserve Indians through the eyes a lovable but highly incredible native math genius, star high school basketball player. Author to his credit more admires and tries to understand rather than blame the white kids, who do nothing but help the protagonist in his effort to escape the reserve and its suicidal, irresponsible failure to make reasonable choices in a modern liberal democracy with more than generous equality protections. Best of all, the author implores reserve Indians, as I wish Canadian govts would, to flee the tragic comfort of navel-gazing in the racist, incestuous reserve community in favor of scholarship and worldly enterprise, the cornerstones of a productive, happy life. Probably made the author a social pariah among his Indian peers but hard to argue with success. In truth, Alexie poetry is appallingly bad, but the narrative despite a more than occasional pity fest is brisk and engaging.

b
becker
Feb 22, 2017

A wonderful book with a totally lovable protagonist named Junior. This book covers some heavy issues without ever being preachy or heavy. It is humorous, touching, and smart. It leaves you thoughtful and provides a great reading experience.

m
maroon_ferret_23
Nov 02, 2016

Funny, but deep at the same time. This book teaches lessons on friendship, identity, and dreams. Read it with my class for school, and was glad to realize that we were finally reading a good book for school!

m
MajorMajorX2
Sep 29, 2016

What a great book! Moving, inspiring, funny as hell, and sad all at the same time. What happens when you go off the rez to a school at a redneck town, your schools main rival? Read this book to find out!

k
KeenaL
Aug 29, 2016

This is a great read.

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Age

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b
blue_turtle_1952
Jul 05, 2017

blue_turtle_1952 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

j
jmli
Jul 28, 2016

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

b
black_bear_515
Mar 11, 2016

black_bear_515 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

blue_fish_456 Jul 16, 2014

blue_fish_456 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

c
cooliothebest
Jun 25, 2014

cooliothebest thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 20

blue_hummingbird_169 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

m
MADKC4Ever
Jan 11, 2014

MADKC4Ever thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

f
frinkerbell
Jul 28, 2013

frinkerbell thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 20

f
febreze101
Jul 28, 2013

febreze101 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

orange_squirrel_4 Jul 12, 2013

orange_squirrel_4 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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Quotes

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AL_MARYA Sep 27, 2017

If you let people into your life a little, they can be pretty damned amazing.

j
jmli
Jul 28, 2016

"If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing." - Arnold Spirit Jr.

r
rowiek
Jun 22, 2016

"Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community."

r
RedDollface
Jun 12, 2016

"We were supposed to kill the Indian to save the child."

r
rebmartin31
Jun 02, 2016

"I can do it," I said to Coach, to my teammates, to the world.
"You can do it," Coach said.
"I can do it."
...
'Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? [...] How amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they're the hugest words in the world when they're put together. You can do it. I can do it. Let's do it.'

p
pplarel
Jun 28, 2012

pg. 13 "Poverty doesn't give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverence. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor."

pg. 97 "The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know."

pg. 107 "There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away."

pg. 129 "If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing."

Ólive Jun 17, 2012

When anybody, no matter how old they are, loses a parent, I think it hurts the same as if you were only five years old, you know? I think all of us are always five years old in the presence and absence of our parents.

NSFRA Jun 16, 2012

"Life is never easy"

kimbalee Sep 11, 2009

When anybody, no matter how old they are, loses a parent, I think it hurts the same as if you were only five years old, you know? I think all of us are always five years old in the presence and absence of our parents.

Summary

Add a Summary

j
jmli
Aug 13, 2016

A boy from the Spokane Indian reservation enrolls in a white school, despite the hate and betrayal the rest of his tribe feels.

r
rowiek
Jun 22, 2016

Arnold is a boy who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He has several problems like ‘born with water on the brain’ (he has a big head), he has a poor eyesight, seizures and lips and stutters. This is the reason he is regularly beaten up and calling names like ‘retard’ (for the brain damage) and ‘globe’ (because of his large head). He is very poor and he only has two friends, his dog – Oscar - and Rowdy (a boy who also live on the reservation). When Oscar gets sick his father kills him and now his only friend is Rowdy.

Rowdy has problems on its own. His father abuses him and his mother. He is the only one who wants to protect Arnold (who often is called Junior) from his bullies and physical abuse. On the first high school day Arnold found out that his textbook was used by his mother – so it was approximately fifty-five years old. He knows that alcohol (and because of that almost everyone is poor) is more important to most residents than an education is. Junior decides to transfer from his reservation school to Reardan High, a white school that is more than twenty miles away. All of the ‘white’ kids are rich and have enough money to buy everything they want. Once he arrives, Junior finds that he is the only Indian (besides the school’s mascot) there. He get to know a popular white girl, Penelope, and a very smart boy, Gordy. His best friend on the reservation, Rowdy, stays behind and vows never to speak to Junior—the “traitor”—again. Junior also knows that everyone else on the reservation thinks he is an “apple”: red on the outside but white on the inside. Meanwhile, most of the students at Reardan treat Junior as an outcast as well. Although he is stimulated by the intellectual challenges of Reardan’s advanced curriculum, Junior must fight to improve his social standing both on and off the reservation. He accomplishes this accidentally when he goes out for Reardan’s basketball team. He surprises himself when, as a freshman, he makes the varsity team and eventually even becomes a starting player. Junior’s biggest challenge comes when he must play against his former basketball team from the reservation, whose star player is none other than Junior’s ex–best friend, Rowdy. On the first match Wellpinit wins after Rowdy cheats on Junior. But in the second game Junior is the hero of the day.

m
Ms_Silva
Oct 23, 2012

High school student on the Rez decides to buck tradition and attend the best high school in the region, 22 miles away and almost all White. Funny cartoons. Matter-of-fact.

Booklover1235 Jul 01, 2012

"the absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian" by Sherman Alexie is about a boy named junior who was raised on a reservation and was always made fun of. But when the chance comes to change to a school where he can actually achieve something and do something he has to choose,wether to be called a traitor by everybody he knows or tries to show the Rez that he is willing to push everything aside to prove that there is more to life than drinking.

Ninja_Kevin Jun 17, 2012

I have finished a book called "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie a realistic fiction novel. In this book it is about a Indian boy who is lving on a small rezervation or rez and he has a best friend name Rowdy. They both go to school on the rezervation name Wellpinit. Arnold Spirit a fouteen year old teenager and the protagonist is a book kisser what this mean is that he like to read and write. When he had gone to school , during geometry class Mr.P his teacher had passed out textbooks. When Arnold relizes that he got his mothers textbook that was at least thirty years old he threw it at Mr.P in the face. Then Mr.P came over to his house to talk to him about what he had done. When Mr.P said something like, if you don't leave this rezervation then you will die. Another thing he said was something like if you are the only one who hasn't gave up, every one has gave up even the teachers at his school had gave up even his parents had gave up even his best friend Rowdy had gave up. He also wanted the world to know that he is important. What will happen next?

Ólive Jun 17, 2012

Sherman Alexie’s dark comedy offers up insight about respect, identity and acceptance in unadorned, briskly paced language that will appeal to many teens. Junior Spirit is a Spokane Indian eager to begin high school on his reservation. His hopes of newfound knowledge and opportunities are dashed when he is assigned the same textbook that belonged to his uneducated, impoverished mother thirty years earlier, bringing on a sense of fatalism and despair. Urged by his teacher to respect his dreams and demand more from life than can be expected on the reservation, Junior bravely gathers his dignity and stands up for himself by transferring to a school in a distant town. So begins his search for identity and his place in the world, as “Junior Spirit”, traitor to his people, is ostracized on the rez for consorting with whites, while “Arnold Spirit Junior”, alone, navigates the racism and mystifying cultural rules of an all-white school. “Absolutely True Diary” could easily become a litany of anger, pain and hopelessness; the poverty, alcoholism, violence and incredible death rate chronicled in the novel seems insurmountable. Yet for every tragic event, there is a detail to give us hope or even a laugh, and even the most debauched characters receive understanding and a chance at redemption. Arnold’s cartoon sketches of the people around him, drawn by artist Ellen Forney, amuse and meld seamlessly with the tone of the text. Arnold’s spirit, however, is the most compelling aspect of the book, and his relentless determination to succeed in escaping the fate of his tribe lingers with the reader, making him one of the most inspiring characters in young adult fiction today. Arnold’s quest for a better life proves that acceptance is won by earning respect, and the first step in gaining the respect of others is respecting yourself

w
wrightlibtech
Mar 24, 2012

Sherman Alexie’s dark comedy offers up insight about respect, identity and acceptance in unadorned, briskly paced language that will appeal to many teens. Junior Spirit is a Spokane Indian eager to begin high school on his reservation. His hopes of newfound knowledge and opportunities are dashed when he is assigned the same textbook that belonged to his uneducated, impoverished mother thirty years earlier, bringing on a sense of fatalism and despair. Urged by his teacher to respect his dreams and demand more from life than can be expected on the reservation, Junior bravely gathers his dignity and stands up for himself by transferring to a school in a distant town. So begins his search for identity and his place in the world, as “Junior Spirit”, traitor to his people, is ostracized on the rez for consorting with whites, while “Arnold Spirit Junior”, alone, navigates the racism and mystifying cultural rules of an all-white school.

“Absolutely True Diary” could easily become a litany of anger, pain and hopelessness; the poverty, alcoholism, violence and incredible death rate chronicled in the novel seems insurmountable. Yet for every tragic event, there is a detail to give us hope or even a laugh, and even the most debauched characters receive understanding and a chance at redemption. Arnold’s cartoon sketches of the people around him, drawn by artist Ellen Forney, amuse and meld seamlessly with the tone of the text.

Arnold’s spirit, however, is the most compelling aspect of the book, and his relentless determination to succeed in escaping the fate of his tribe lingers with the reader, making him one of the most inspiring characters in young adult fiction today. Arnold’s quest for a better life proves that acceptance is won by earning respect, and the first step in gaining the respect of others is respecting yourself.

Arnold Spirit is 14 when he makes the life-altering decision to transfer to a school off the Spokane Indian Reservation. The only other Indian at his new school is the mascot.

Notices

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m
MADKC4Ever
Jan 11, 2014

Coarse Language: Lota of curse words/sexual curse words in this book.

m
MADKC4Ever
Jan 11, 2014

Sexual Content: The most prominent situation is a 16 year old boy talking about how he loves masturbation, but there's a lot more sexual references sprinkled throughout the book.

EuSei Sep 19, 2012

Sexual Content: Masturbation

Booklover1235 Jul 01, 2012

Sexual Content: Uses some inappropriate language.

Ólive Jun 17, 2012

Coarse Language: faggot

Ólive Jun 17, 2012

Violence: fight

c
ChocolateChips
Oct 09, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

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