The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie immediately became one of my favorite young adult novels, and if you haven’t read the book then you should absolutely make it a part of your summer reading list. The protagonist, Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, is a lovable character who is brutally honest about his feelings. I literally laughed out loud in many scenes and actually cried at a certain point. The novel is a perfect mixture of comedy and tragedy. Despite the constant setbacks in Junior’s life, he remains hopeful and optimistic about his future. Like many teenagers, Junior deals with identity crisis, relationship issues, and he does a lot of self- reflecting. There were major themes presented in the novel such as friendships, racism, death, and family and hope. Against all odds, Junior always rises to the challenges and courageously tackles each trial in his life.
(The picture above is how Junior describes himself)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian begins with Junior stating that he was born with health issues and that he was an outcast in his school. Junior lives in Spokane, which is an Indian reservation, or as they called it, the Rez. In the reservation many Indians never venture outside their community. One day Junior’s teacher tells him that he should leave the Rez because he is extremely smart and could go far with his life. Junior takes heed to his teacher’s advice and travels outside the Indian Reservation to attend a high school that offers him opportunities for a better future. Junior gains many enemies, including his best friend, Rowdy, because he leaves the Rez to attend an all-white school. Junior deals with a lot of hostility from both Indians and Whites for two different reasons. The Indians believes that Junior is a traitor for leaving the Rez and the White students are racist towards him. Eventually Junior ends up playing basketball in his new school and makes new friends. There were unexpected deaths in his family but despite the pain of losing love ones, Junior remains hopeful about his life. JA