The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian –by Sherman Alexie
Grade Level: 7 and up
Suitable for eReaders: Yes, but**
I admit it, I've ben in love with Sherman Alexie's writing for years. Especially his poetry. I don't know why it took me so long to read this book, but I now have and truly admit, I love it.
Oh, there is a ** above, I'd best explain now, before I forget. I read this on my Kindle Fire, and there are several delightful illustrations, unfortunately, I could not expand them beyond postage stamp size, which is too bad, because they are wonderful. They are drawn by the protagonist, and add a great deal to the story. They should be seen full size.
Mr. Alexie is a member of the Spokane Indian Tribe, and this is his story, with a few changes. The hero of the story, Arnold "Junior" Spirit, is a young man struggling to find himself, and decides to leave the reservation and attend a 'white' school in town. He is the only brown skinned student. And the poorest of the lot, but he has an upbeat attitude and earns acceptance from his white friends, and enmity from his Indian ones.
This novel tells about those experiences, being half white while on the 'rez' and half Indian while at Reardon with a great sense of humor. Mr. Alexie is not afraid to tackle situations that the young people of today face, and he does it well. I can offer absolutely no hesitation in recommending this book. In fact, there are several study questions in the back, making this an ideal book for classroom reads.
Arnold is a very likable protagonist, as are most of his friends. He is fourteen, hormones are beginning to rage through his veins, he's discovered girls, one in particular. He competes on the basketball court, and when Reardon plays Wellpinit, his old Indian school, he is booed and beaten by his ex teammates who think he's a traitor. The first game. The next game is a bit different.
I laughed out loud in this book. Although I didn't cry, I was genuinely sad in a few places. I would love to have Arnold stop by for a visit, he's quirky, and fun, and not afraid of life. I strongly suspect Mr. Alexie is the same. I'd love to have him stop by for a visit, too.
For a good read from twelve years on, buy and read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I think it would make a great movie. Would love to see Studio Ghibli do something with it!