Saturday, February 04, 2012

Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Release date: September 12th 2007
Pages: 230
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
With his first foray into teen literature, acclaimed author Sherman Alexie packs a punch in this absorbing novel about a Native American boy searching for a brighter future. At once humorous and stirring, Alexie's novel follows Junior, a resident of the Spokane reservation who transfers out of the reservation's school -- and into a nearby rich, all-white farm school -- in order to nurture his desire to become a cartoonist. Junior encounters resistance there, a backlash at home, and numerous family problems -- all the while relaying his thoughts and feelings via amusing descriptions and drawings.
Having already garnered a National Book Award for Young Adult Literature, this moving look at race and growing up is definitely one to pick up.

First sentence:
I was born with water on the brain.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was wary of reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - it sounded so serious, so issue-focused, so intellectually demanding. I thought I'd read it since it's one of the most famous YA books ever, but I didn't think I would really enjoy it. But I couldn't have been more wrong - Diary is such a fun read!

Junior's voice is incredible; so, so real. I don't often like the younger side of YA - it's harder for me to relate to fourteen-year-old MC - but that isn't a problem at all in Diary. His young age makes the way he talks about his life on the reservation so much more honest and realistic. Junior is a strong character - he's easy to relate to, even though his life is totally different from mine, and I have to say, I admired how brave he is to transfer to the all-white school. His way of talking and thinking is hilarious - I was laughing out loud throughout the book.

But despite the light and funny tone, Diary addresses some dark topics. There's no preaching, no too strong message; all of the issues addressed are just a part of Junior's everyday life. That makes you feel for Junior even more.

All the subplots and secondary characters add a lot to the story, too - it's interesting to read about each of their lives and different problems, especially from an insider's point-of-view.

I even liked the illustrations. I'm not usually a fan of pictures in books or comics, but in Diary, they work - they help you get to know Junior and his world even better.

There are so many more amazing things about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, but really, none of the little things are what make this book so special. It's just a great story of self-discovery, hilarious and tragic at the same time, and I definitely recommend it, if you haven't read it already.


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