Merry Wanderer of the Night + young adult

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

My freshman year of college I did a report on Sherman Alexie after reading a short story of his. I enjoyed learning about his life and writing but it didn't really go anywhere after I finished my report. Mostly because he kind of freaked me out. I mean, he was taught in my Intro to the English Major class so he must be pretty serious right? But when I saw The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I thought "Perfect! A young adult book! Easy peasy!"

This book really was a joy to read. It was light as far as writing, but the subject was heavy and obviously something close to Alexie's heart. It's about Junior, a teenage boy who leaves the reservation he lives on in Spokane to attend the white high school in town. Instead of just worrying about the normal things a teenage boy thinks about like girls and homework, he has to worry about the cultural divide he is opening between himself and his home. Some people in the reservation think he is brave but most people see him as a traitor. While he excels in his classes, he frequently misses school because of unreliable transportation.

The story really gets into a untouched territory as far as I'm concerned. Most people know about the extreme poverty in Indian reservations, but I really felt like I understood Junior separately from the place he was from. Because of that I was able to experience a lifestyle I've never known. I'm especially pleased this is a young adult book because I feel like his is a topic most young adults don't come in contact with until they are almost graduating from high school unless they live near an Indian reservation.

I couldn't talk about this book without mentioning the artwork. Junior is a budding artist and his drawings are scattered throughout the book. This real element helped me get to know Junior very quickly and relate to him. It's also a genius way to attract non-readers to this book, but that is beside the point.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian + young adult