Monday, June 9, 2008

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I've just been a reading roll lately. I read this one in one day, too. This book was fantastic!

Arnold (Junior) Spirit is a Spokane Indian, the bottom of the proverbial totem pole on his reservation in Montana. Arnold was born with hydrocephalus, had brain surgery as a baby that he wasn't expected to survive, and suffered from seizures. As a result, he was constantly bullied as a kid. After what could have been a disastrous event (he threw a book in class, frustrated that they were forced to use the same book his mother used 30 years previous, and hit his teacher and broke his nose), he was convinced by said teacher to transfer to the "white" school in a nearby town, off the reservation. Arnold then had to deal not only with being the new (Indian) kid in a racist town, but also with being the kid who had shamed his reservation by leaving.

Interspersed with comic strips (Arnold is an aspiring artist), the book has a lot of humor. But some humor is obviously just a tool to cover up pain. Growing up on a poor reservation is not easy. Arnold is forced to deal with several deaths in a very short time; most of the people he knows are alcoholics; his best friend hates him. But the book is full of hope and optimism. I can easily see why this book won the National Book Award for Young Adult Literature.

There are parts of this book that may be inappropriate for younger readers (I'm not quite ready for my 11-year-old to read it), due to, shall I say, autoerotic content.

Other reviews:
Amanda (the librarian)

This book fulfills the "A" author for the A-Z Challenge.


Amanda said...

Here's my review of this one:

Somer said...

Thanks, Amanda! I added your link.

Susan said...

I loved this one, too. It's just so real - not to mention hilarious. I reviewed it on my blog, too, although it was a few months ago. Anyway, thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

I just read The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and I have this one on my list for one of the reading challenges in which I'm participating. After your review, I'm looking forward to it.

Somer said...

I'd like to read The Lone Ranger and Tonto... in the future.