Book Review | The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie

Art by Ellen Forney

Based on Alexie’s own experience, his first novel for young adults takes us through the life of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Dealing with medical challenges since birth, Junior gets picked on and beaten up regularly while also navigating issues of poverty and alcoholism around him. Determined to take control of his own destiny, Junior decides to leave his school on the reservation to attend Reardan, an all-white school in a neighboring town. Using humor and hope, this first-person narrative outlines the challenges of a perseverant adolescent native boy navigating intergenerational trauma and isolation from his community. As if being a teenager isn’t difficult enough, this narrative blends in aspects of joy without sugarcoating the real challenges. Forney’s cartoon drawings and doodles connect the reader to Junior’s struggles and cartoonist desires by providing a visual depiction of his imaginative meanderings. Appealing to adolescent boys, this novel inspires personal development and purposefulness. Readers will also enjoy the humor in this story.

BIBLIO: 2007, Little, Brown and Company, Ages 9 to 12, $15.99 U.S.

REVIEWER: Jessica Humphries

FORMAT: Young Adult

ISBN: 978-0-316-01369-7


**Originally Written for the University of Washington LIS 564: Multicultural Resources**