Cover image for The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian
Title:
The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian
Title:
The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian
Publisher Info:
New York : Little, Brown and Co. ; 2009, c2007.
Physical Description:
229 pages ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Includes a preview of Radioactive love song a forthcoming novel.

Includes author discussion guide and interview with illustrator Ellen Forney.
Abstract:
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.
Added Author:

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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Sherman J. Alexie Jr. was born on October 7, 1966. His mother was Spokane Indian and his father was Coeur d'Alene Indian. Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. He decided to attend high school off the reservation where he knew he would get a better education. He was the only Indian at the school, and excelled academically as well as in sports. After high school, he attended Gonzaga University for two years before transferring to Washington State University, where he graduated with a degree in American studies. He received the Washington State Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship in 1991 and the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 1992.

His collections of poetry included The Business of Fancydancing, First Indian on the Moon, The Summer of Black Widows, One Stick Song, and Face. His first collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, received a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Book of Fiction and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. His other short story collections included The Toughest Indian in the World, Ten Little Indians, and War Dances. His first novel, Reservation Blues, received the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award and the Murray Morgan Prize. His other novels included Indian Killer, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Flight. He won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction in 2018 for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir.

Alexie and Jim Boyd, a Colville Indian, collaborated on the album Reservation Blues, which contains the songs from the book of the same name. In 1997, Alexie collaborated with Chris Eyre, a Cheyenne/Arapaho Indian, on a film project inspired by Alexie's work, This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona, from the short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Smoke Signals debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1998, winning two awards: the Audience Award and the Filmmakers Trophy. In 1999 the film received a Christopher Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Arnold "Junior" Spirit, encouraged to want more than the Spokane reservation offers, enrolls in an all-white high school off the rez. To his Indian friends, Junior is a traitor; to white kids, he's a curiosity. Alexie draws us into this semi-autobiographical story of reservation poverty, alcoholism, and the dignity of upholding ancient traditions with poignantly witty prose and well-paced, compelling, and culturally authentic narration deserving of the 2009 Odyssey Award. Standard: Students will be able to recognize and discuss cultural stereotypes depicted in a story. Learning Activity: In a group, students can create a chart that compares and contrasts the similarities and differences between life on and off an Indian reservation. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Screenwriter, novelist and poet, Alexie bounds into YA with what might be a Native American equivalent of Angela's Ashes, a coming-of-age story so well observed that its very rootedness in one specific culture is also what lends it universality, and so emotionally honest that the humor almost always proves painful. Presented as the diary of hydrocephalic 14-year-old cartoonist and Spokane Indian Arnold Spirit Jr., the novel revolves around Junior's desperate hope of escaping the reservation. As he says of his drawings, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats." He transfers to a public school 22 miles away in a rich farm town where the only other Indian is the team mascot. Although his parents support his decision, everyone else on the rez sees him as a traitor, an apple ("red on the outside and white on the inside"), while at school most teachers and students project stereotypes onto him: "I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other." Readers begin to understand Junior's determination as, over the course of the school year, alcoholism and self-destructive behaviors lead to the deaths of close relatives. Unlike protagonists in many YA novels who reclaim or retain ethnic ties in order to find their true selves, Junior must separate from his tribe in order to preserve his identity. Jazzy syntax and Forney's witty cartoons examining Indian versus White attire and behavior transmute despair into dark humor; Alexie's no-holds-barred jokes have the effect of throwing the seriousness of his themes into high relief. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

Arnold Spirit, a goofy-looking dork with a decent jumpshot, spends his time lamenting life on the poor-ass Spokane Indian reservation, drawing cartoons (which accompany, and often provide more insight than, the narrative), and, along with his aptly named pal Rowdy, laughing those laughs over anything and nothing that affix best friends so intricately together. When a teacher pleads with Arnold to want more, to escape the hopelessness of the rez, Arnold switches to a rich white school and immediately becomes as much an outcast in his own community as he is a curiosity in his new one. He weathers the typical teenage indignations and triumphs like a champ but soon faces far more trying ordeals as his home life begins to crumble and decay amidst the suffocating mire of alcoholism on the reservation. Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience, and he doesn't pull many punches as he levels his eye at stereotypes both warranted and inapt.  A few of the plotlines fade to gray by the end, but this ultimately affirms the incredible power of best friends to hurt and heal in equal measure. Younger teens looking for the strength to lift themselves out of rough situations would do well to start here.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2007 Booklist