Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian cover imageReaders who also receive my newsletter will know how much I like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, as I reviewed it in this month’s newsletter and recommended it as a gift in December. Here’s the review for blog readers not signed up for my quarterly newsletter. Here’s the review:

Arnold Spirit is a freshman at a high school on the Spokane Indian reservation in northwest Washington. All his life he’s been picked on because he looks strange: his head is large because he was born with hydrocephalus, he has seizures, too many teeth and he wears thick glasses. But Arnold is very smart, and he likes drawing. When a teacher counsels him to find hope in the form of attending a white high school off the reservation, Arnold makes a bold move toward a future he didn’t think was possible.

Through Arnold’s eyes we see the problems faced by many on modern Indian reservations: alcoholism, poverty, lack of opportunity and despair. Yet, we also find acceptance of the shortcomings among those we call family and a way to follow your dreams without denigrating those you leave behind.

Arnold’s story is for anyone who chooses to follow a different path than the one clearly laid out before him. Issues of race, friendship, love and community should provide great discussion for mother-daughter book club members.

After reading this book I look forward to discovering other titles by Sherman Alexie, including The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Reservation Blues, and Flight: A Novel.

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