I absolutely enjoyed reading Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. I can’t count how many times I laughed out loud and nodded my head in consent of familiar nostalgia. I vicariously experienced the adventure of an adolescent outcast, and all in one setting. Alexie aims to primarily speak to young adults but the book encompasses valuable accounts that resonates to people from all walks of life. Sort of like The Catcher in the Rye, which also holds a range of target readers. The book won several awards including the National Book Award in 2007.
True Diary is semi-autobiographical (author says 75%), mirroring some of Alexie’s life events while growing up in the Spokane Indian reservation. Junior is a big-headed, thirteen-year-old aspiring cartoonist who is constantly bullied on the reservation by other Indians. Junior finally musters up the courage from exhaustion and frustration to leave the rez and attend a school with a promising education for his future — Rearden High School, where the only other Indian besides himself is the school mascot. And as all bold decisions come with rather bold consequences, Junior learns to fiercely cope in the new and daunting environment with the White kids. Of course, the novel addresses the existing issues of racism & discrimination in addition to poverty, alcohol, physical abuse, profanity, sex, and peer bullying — all apparent reasons that some schools and libraries across America used it to justify banning it. Can you believe books are still being banned today? It’s the discipline of making the right choices that parents and teachers tend to overlook. I think fast food chains, then, should be banned prior to books. Same concept – you have to teach your kids to make the right choices instead of trying to cut the guiltless source. You can’t take away a book and think the issues are non existent as well.
Anyway, it’s not the plot that’s so riveting, but Alexie’s electrifying writing style that perfectly captures the essence of each feeling and reaction that no further interpretation is required. It’s a fast and easy read, but sporadic metaphors of life provokes secondary cogitation. There are also many cultural implications that ultimately emphasize the sentimental and survival importance of human bondage. It’s the colorful spunk and the precarious nature of adolescence that kept me entertained. Two thumbs up for Alexie!
dee’s recommendation: 4.5/5