The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie | Book Review

The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie | Book ReviewThe Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Also by this author: The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2012-01-10
Genres: Adolescence, Native American, People & Places, Social Issues, United States, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Available for the first time in eBook format-a deluxe, four-color edition of Sherman Alexie's National Book Award winning, bestselling young adult debut novel!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 reflect 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.With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike. Special note: four-color illustrations will convert to grayscale on black-and-white devices.

Y’all, I read banned books. The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a beautifully written book about a teenage boy named Arnold ‘Junior’ Spirit, who leaves his Indian reservation school to receive an education at the white school. We see Junior face problems many of his real life contemporaries face, such as poverty, alcoholism, and racism. Yet, what underlies the book is a strain of hope. Junior has so much pain in his life, more than I can imagine, yet he remains resilient. I have to wonder, why someone would ban such a wonderful character.

Sure, sexuality is consistently talked about in The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Junior is written as a real boy, not some sanitized version of a kid. He gets boners. He thinks about boobs. Then Junior and his friend Rowdy banter derrogatory names used for gay people back and forth. However, I saw this as illustrating how society feels when two men are close friends. It’s like, you can’t even cry as a male without being emasculated. It’s fascinating.

Right, so why is Junior so wonderful? He’s artistic. Throughout The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, there are these illustrations, which were done by ‘Junior’, and they absolutely enhance the story, adding a whole new dimension making this almost a graphic novel, but not quite. Junior, is fairly self-actualized. I mean, this character is just so well done. We see his strength. His weakness. You can totally get a sense of him, and true insight. Plus, I can’t help but look up to him. He has so much working against him, but he refuses to give up. He refuses to go down this path of alcoholism, like so many of his tribe. To me, how can you not want kids to feel that kind of hope. I mean, I can’t help but cheer for Junior.

There are scenes in The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie that shattered me. Then there are scenes that made me cry, but in a happy sort of way. Also, it is genuinely funny, but in that way that you sometimes just have to laugh even though what is happening is so sad.This book is very well done. I would put it in my top three for the year.

Here’s a few quotes that spoke to me:

“It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor. You start believing that you’re poor because you’re stupid and ugly. And then you start believing that because that you’re stupid and ugly because you’re Indian. And because you’re Indian you start believing you’re destined to be poor. It’s an ugly circle and there’s nothing you can do about it. Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor.” -pg. 13

Preach it, Alexie, preach.

“There’s always time to change your life.” I almost gagged when I said that. There’s never enough time to change your life. You don’t get to change your life, period. Shit, maybe I was trying to write a romance novel.” pg. 40

Teenage cynics.

“But you should approach each book — you should approach life– with the real possibility that you might get a metaphorical boner at any point.” – pg 97

What Would Scroggins Say was started by Becky at Escapism Through Books.

Other Reviews:

Tahleen’s Mixed Up Files

The Book Smugglers

The Zen Leaf

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Yay! Awesome vlog April… I haven’t read that book, but it sounds very good, so onto the TBR it goes! πŸ˜€

    Thanks for doing a WWSS post!!

  2. Fantastic. This is one of the books I’ll read three times at leastβ€”I’m getting the audio CD from the library, can’t wait to hear Alexie narrate it!

  3. Haha that’s great! ERECTIONS! BONERS! LOL My boyfriend just walked into the room when I was watching this and was like WHAT the heck are you watching!? LOL

  4. This is a phenomenal book. One I very much loved!!
    Great review!!

  5. Awesome vlog, April. I hadn’t heard of ‘what would Scroggins say?’ but it’s a great idea and your take on it really made me laugh. Your real review is insightful and eloquent and it’s given me another nudge to read this one. πŸ™‚

  6. “Reading encourages erections.”


  7. haha great vlog! Who knew reading promoted boners?? Good thing we have the Morality police! *rolls eyes* More seriously, it’s so true that not all teens are optimistic all the time. we can’t be.

    I LOVE this book. And you shared some of my favorite quotes from the book πŸ™‚ <3 Gordy

    Tears were definitely welling in my eyes when I read the quote about being poor. Especially because I had ZERO knolwedge about life on reservations. Not exactly something you hear about everyday.

    I want to read all of Alexie's books! I want to re-read this book but like you said, we have so many other books to read! This might be an exception though.

    • Yes, that is what the morality police is for.

      The quote about being poor is so heartbreaking. I’ve learned a little bit about rezlife from Alexie’s books, and it’s heartbreaking.

      And yes, all of his books are on my TBR too.

  8. I laughed so hard watching the video and reading your post! I love this book and I’m glad you did too! The people who try to ban this book need to read it first. Idiots.

  9. Okay, I’ve never read of this book or heard of it before BBW. But your vlog? It was so awesome and amazing and full of epicness that I need to read it asap.

    I have no idea what accent you have, but I love your accent and your voice. πŸ˜€ I’m sure that doesn’t sound too creepy, yes? Yes. And you’re so animated in the vlog, whereas other bloggers are have this monotone and. Yeah. This was an awesome vlog review.

  10. I haven’t heard much about this book but having grown up by an Indian Reservation and with friends that were able to get off the res to come to our school, I think I could understand and relate to it. I think that maybe I need to get a few copies of this to send to my contact on the reservation for her to share with some of the teens there. Thanks for sharing passages from the story and giving us a better idea of what it’s about.

    Visiting from Saturday Situation! Thanks for linking!

  11. LOL I loved this! I’ve got this waiting for me on my TBR, am kind of excited to read it. πŸ™‚


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