The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
A Novel by Sherman Alexie
This is the story of a fourteen-year-old Native American named Arnold Spirit Jr., who prefers to just go by the name, Junior. This character has grown up on a traditional reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. This is a poverty-stricken region where many of the adult figures have turned to alcoholism as a coping mechanism to their financial instability. Junior enjoys drawing, playing basketball, and hanging with his best bud, Rowdy. As the story unfolds, Junior is forced to battle between his whiteness from his mother's side, and the overpowering Native American ethnicity of his father's. This double-identity is in constant motion throughout this short novel, but in the end, Junior realizes that there is more to his underprivileged reservation.
WHY I LIKED THIS BOOK:
Although this is the story of one boy's hopes and dreams, I found myself drawn into the story from the very first page. I am fascinated by the Native American culture and its ability to relate to my own heritage. Junior is a brutally honest character who knows how hard it is in this world to survive. He is goofy, a good friend, and never gives up on anything he sets his mind to. I admire his sheer determination, and the fight that he instills in both himself and the reader. I enjoyed the images that were dispersed throughout the novel, and their ability to make me laugh, even as a girl in college!
"'You can do it,' Coach said again. He didn't shout it. He whispered it. Like a prayer. And he kept whispering again. Until the prayer turned into a song. And then, for some magical reason, I believed him.
Coach had become, like, the priest of basketball, and I was his follower. And I was going to follow him onto the court and shut down my best friend.
I hoped so.
'I can do it,' I said to Coach, to my teammates, to the world.
'You can do it,' Coach said.
'I can do it.'
'You can do it.'
'I can do it.'
Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they're the four hugest words in the world when put together.
You can do it.
I can do it.
Let's do it" (Alexie 131).