Review of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Review of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven by Sherman AlexieThe Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Also by this author: The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian
Published by Open Road Media on 2013-10-15
Genres: Coming of Age, Cultural Heritage, Fiction, Native American & Aboriginal, Short Stories (single author)
Pages: 242
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

The twentieth anniversary edition of Sherman Alexie’s iconic short story collection—featuring a new prologue from the authorThe twenty-four linked tales in Alexie’s debut collection—an instant classic—paint an unforgettable portrait of life on and around the Spokane Indian Reservation, a place where “Survival = Anger x Imagination,” where HUD houses and generations of privation intertwine with history, passion, and myth. We follow Thomas Builds-the-Fire, the longwinded storyteller no one really listens to; his half-hearted nemesis, Victor, the basketball star turned recovering alcoholic; and a wide cast of other vividly drawn characters on a haunting journey filled with humor and sorrow, resilience and resignation, dreams and reality. Alexie’s unadulterated honesty and boundless compassion come together in a poetic vision of a world in which the gaps between past and present are not really gaps after all.The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven received a Special Citation for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction, and was the basis for the acclaimed 1998 feature film Smoke Signals.This ebook features an illustrated biography including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

I want to press a copy of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven by Sherman Alexie into the arms of my good friends. The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven is comprised of vignettes pertaining to reservation life, which though often bleak has an undercurrent of hope. There are 22 stories which weave together to form a portrait of what life may be like for the Spokanes. Life is peppered with poverty, alcoholism, basketball, music and dancing. Certainly, there are universal themes within The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven.

The characters are vivid and three-dimensional. They have their strengths and their flaws. Alcoholism is rather a prevalent flaw for many of the characters. I don’t particularly find the alcoholism offensive, as it is unfortunately the number one health problem for Native Americans, so props to Alexie for not painting Native Americans as mystical creatures, but as real people with real problems.

I think the prose within The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven is gorgeous. It’s simple, yet illustrates hard truths. I just want to quote the whole book for you. However, I will settle by showing you my favorite quotes.

“I guess every song has a special meaning for someone somewhere. Elvis Presley is still showing up in 7-11 stores across the country, even though he’s been dead for years, so I figure music just might be the most important thing there is.” – pg. 29

Again, music is so universal. I love how true this rings to me, and how much it reminds me of some people I know who are truly passionate about music.

“In the outside world, a person can be a hero one second and a nobody the next….A reservation hero is a hero forever. In fact, their status grows over the years as the stories are told and retold.” pg. 48

The prevalence of hope, sunshine in a place of bleakness…

“Once, he owned a black-and-white television. He thought everything was much clearer then. Color complicated even the smallest events.” – pg. 87

I just loved the way this was written. Maybe, not a huge special meaning, but to me, lovely writing.

“Thomas looked at these five men who shared his skin color, at the white man who shared this bus which was going to deliver them into a new kind of reservation, barrio, ghetto, logging-town tin shack.” – pg. 103

Poverty is universal, no matter your background, the man is there to keep you down. I know, I know, bleeding hearts and all, but honestly, poverty does suck a lot.

Overall, I fell in love with The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven and want to thank Vasilly for suggesting something by Sherman Alexie be my next read. I will definitely read more of Alexie in the future, as he can depress me, but also make me laugh.

I read this as part of the POC Challenge.

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. I ADORED The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, and am glad you liked this one!

  2. This book was my first taste of Alexi too! Glad you enjoyed it! There is a movie based off of this novel called Smoke Signals. It's not as strong as the novel, but is still very good. You should check it out.

  3. This sounds so amazing! I have no idea why I haven't read Alexie yet.

  4. Seriously, how amazingtastic is Alexie? Born writer, that one.

  5. @Emma – I have ATDoPTI on my owned-TBR.

    @Mandy – I'll definitely rent Smoke Signals

    @Nymeth – OMG You seriously need to read Alexie he's soooo good! /fangirling

    @Misty – I know right! He is totally a born writer.

  6. Great review! This is on my wishlist. Alexie is on my radar this year–I will be reading at least one of his books this year.

  7. justicejenniferreads says

    I definitely agree with your review. I read this in high school and loved it. Have you read any Louise Erdrich? I find her writing to have a similar nature to it.


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