Inspired by my friend Dan's latest blog, and also, my ethnic lit class; I decided to do a book review on a great book that I just recently read (in one sitting) for class. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
First of all I would like to mention that Sherman Alexie is an amazing author. He has won many awards for his work, and also an independent film "Smoke Signals", 1998, was made (screenplay written by Alexie) based of his book "The Lone Ranger and Tonto fist-fight in Heaven" (which I also highly recommend seeing). He is also a well-acclaimed comedian. I have watched a few of his interviews, including one with Steven Colbert, and I am looking forward to reading more of his work. "The Absolutely True Diary" is based off of Sherman Alexie's own childhood, and it is written for young adults. Although I think anyone who has read this can agree that adults will appreciate this novel.
So onto "The Absolutely True Diary", It is a first-person narrative channeling Junior, a Spokane Indian, in his first year of high school on his reservation in Wellpoint WA. Junior is a very smart 14 yr old who is actually excited about school, however, after discovering his mothers name in his text-book; he realizes that he wants to get a better education than the one available to him on the rez. He decides to transfer to a school outside of the reservation, Reardon, where he is the only Indian in the school other than the mascot. Junior is also an aspiring artist, and his diary is filled with cartoons and drawings for when he cannot find words to describe how he is feeling.
Over the course of the school year, the reader follows Juniors adventures with his family and friends on the reservations reactions to him transferring to a "white" school 22 miles away, his first intimate contact with white people, his emotional and physical reactions to what is happening on the reservation, his home, and what he learns about people as he grows.
While reading this book, I was at a constant loss of whether to laugh, or cry or both. I read it in one afternoon, it is an easy-read, but one that makes the reader sit back with a big sigh after. I know that this book will definitely be one that I will not sell back to the school at the end of the semester. So to anyone who takes me up on my recommendation, enjoy!