The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie

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

Sherman Alexie

An all-new edition of the tragicomic smash hit which stormed the New York Times bestseller charts, now featuring an introduction from Markus Zusak.

In his first book for young adults, Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. This heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written tale, featuring poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, is based on the author’s own experiences. It chronicles contemporary adolescence as seen through the eyes of one Native American boy.

It is illustrated in a contemporary cartoon style by Ellen Forney.

Review

Sometimes the most unpromising circumstances can yield amazing results. Take Junior, an American Indian living on a reservation, add a jaded, clapped-out teacher, who in a moment of clarity and repentance gives Junior some unexpected advice, and the result is an inspiring fictionalised autobiography of author Sherman Alexie.

Junior believes his fate is to live out his life on the reservation as his family have done, which on the whole means poverty, alcoholism and the possibility of a young death (ring a bell?) but his life takes a surprising turn which leads to alienation by many of his reservation peers and initial ostracising by the students of the all-white high school he decides to attend.

Now I can hear you thinking this won’t interest Australian teenagers, but this inspiring story of tragedy, love, sorrow and triumph will have universal appeal, because Alexie’s journey illustrates the power of the spirit to rise out of the ashes of despair and still feel love and understanding, rather than bitterness and shame. This is an evocative story, told with humour and an unflinching honesty, that will resonate in Australia as we face similar dilemmas with our indigenous population.

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