I had to read this book for my YA grad class, and honestly I'm glad I did because I probably wouldn't have read it on my own. We've been really focusing on diversity in the books we read for this class, and this was one of the most perfect books to add to that list.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 12th, 2007
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Bestselling author 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 by Ellen Forney that reflects the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. (Goodreads)
My Bookish Thoughts:
This book brought to light things that I soon learned I was very ignorant about. I really don't know much about the Native American culture unless it's pre-1900. That's my own fault, because I have been too immersed in white-culture to know even more about the state I currently live in (Oklahoma) which has a very large Native American population.
Junior was a character that i totally felt for. He felt stuck wherever he went. He felt like he was stuck on the reservation, he felt like he was stuck in his friend group, in the way the tribe treated him as this dumb boy with a stuttering problem and brain problems. But then he decided to make the decision to go to a white school off of the rez.
Honestly, I was so worried that he would go to this white-man school and be bullied, but I was SO happy that Alexie didn't write it that way. they actually welcomed Junior and genuinely cared about him. I'm not saying that that wouldn't happen at some schools, but I'm so tired of seeing most if not all white people being deemed as racist in books like this. Because not all white people (even white people in the south-I'm from a small farm town in Texas; I would know) are prejudice against skin color. So for this book to actually not enforce this kind of stereotype made me extremely happy. Again, I'm not saying that racism doesn't exist, because it definitely does--one only has to look on the news to see it. But I'm glad that it wasn't the focus of this book.
My Final Thoughts:
This is a very good book for boys (and girls, but I think the boys would identify well with this book), and I thought it was an excellent book to read in order to understand the Native American plight and what they have to go through even today to still be considered either part of the tribe or part of white-culture. It opens your eyes, definitely.
Though this was a good book for what it was, it sadly just wasn't my kind of book. It was good to read to recognize my ignorance and try to fix that, but it just isn't the book that I would read again. But I will say that I'm sure other people would really enjoy this book.
I gave this book 2 stars on my Goodreads.