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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Collector's Edition Hardcover – Dec 9 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Slp Col edition (Dec 9 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316068209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316068208
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #953,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7–10—Exploring Indian identity, both self and tribal, Alexie's first young adult novel is a semiautobiographical chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. The bright 14-year-old was born with water on the brain, is regularly the target of bullies, and loves to draw. He says, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats." He expects disaster when he transfers from the reservation school to the rich, white school in Reardan, but soon finds himself making friends with both geeky and popular students and starting on the basketball team. Meeting his old classmates on the court, Junior grapples with questions about what constitutes one's community, identity, and tribe. The daily struggles of reservation life and the tragic deaths of the protagonist's grandmother, dog, and older sister would be all but unbearable without the humor and resilience of spirit with which Junior faces the world. The many characters, on and off the rez, with whom he has dealings are portrayed with compassion and verve, particularly the adults in his extended family. Forney's simple pencil cartoons fit perfectly within the story and reflect the burgeoning artist within Junior. Reluctant readers can even skim the pictures and construct their own story based exclusively on Forney's illustrations. The teen's determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie's tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Arnold Spirit, a goofy-looking dork with a decent jumpshot, spends his time lamenting life on the "poor-ass" Spokane Indian reservation, drawing cartoons (which accompany, and often provide more insight than, the narrative), and, along with his aptly named pal Rowdy, laughing those laughs over anything and nothing that affix best friends so intricately together. When a teacher pleads with Arnold to want more, to escape the hopelessness of the rez, Arnold switches to a rich white school and immediately becomes as much an outcast in his own community as he is a curiosity in his new one. He weathers the typical teenage indignations and triumphs like a champ but soon faces far more trying ordeals as his home life begins to crumble and decay amidst the suffocating mire of alcoholism on the reservation. Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience, and he doesn't pull many punches as he levels his eye at stereotypes both warranted and inapt. A few of the plotlines fade to gray by the end, but this ultimately affirms the incredible power of best friends to hurt and heal in equal measure. Younger teens looking for the strength to lift themselves out of rough situations would do well to start here. Chipman, Ian --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader Rabbit on Jan. 5 2008
Format: Hardcover
Junior is an Indian boy who dislikes his life at the reserve. Life at the reserve contains almost a monotonous feeling of despair. Everyone there has already given up without even trying. Junior's older sister has succumbed to drink, leaving behind her dreams of becoming a novelist. His family is poor-his father an alcoholic. Junior is picked on for being born with water on his brain. Fights are a daily part of his life. But after punching his teacher who expresses guilt at his prior racism Junior realizes that he has to get out. Out of the reserve. Soon he finds himself the only Indian in a school in town. A school with only white students. At first he is greeted with racism. But slowly he finds himself accepted into the ranks of the white people. And realizes that the color of his skin doesn't matter-he's just as good as everyone else.

The characters in the novel are realistic and the cartoons that Junior draws only add to the story. The author's writing is easy to read and there is never a dull moment. Junior's tale is a story of difficulties, friendship and above all, hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Edwards on Dec 29 2009
Format: Paperback
On his first day of class, Junior threw a geometry textbook at his teacher, and broke the teacher''s nose. It was an accident, of course.' Junior has been beat up so many times, he doesn''t like to start fights. But Junior was angry.

Angry that his textbook was over 30 years old, angry that living on an Indian Reservation meant he got a second-rate education. Junior loves to learn, possibly because his brain has too much grease: he was born with hydrocephalous, or water on the brain.

But he can''t learn here, so he does something drastic. He transfers to a white school 22 miles away. Now he''s a traitor at home and a novelty at school, where the only other Indian is the mascot.

Junior's reflections on school, popularity, poverty, racism and alcoholism are all delivered through his diary and his cartoons, with a hefty dose of humour that makes this book both hilarious and thought-provoking.

Although the heavy issues addressed by Alexie could easily make this book depressing and unreadable, Junior's cartoons and sense of humour keep it from getting bogged down.

This book won the National Book Award for a reason - it's fantastic.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on Oct. 10 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'll admit -- I put off reading THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN for well over a year, in favor of more "exciting" books. Boy, what a mistake I made!

Told from the perspective of thirteen-year-old Arnold Spirit, an intelligent, observant, sarcastic Indian born with encephalitis and a love of cartooning, Sherman Alexie takes us along with him as he moves away from a circumscribed, oppressive life on the Spokane reservation towards a more promising future by attending an all-white school thirty miles away.

Never one to get bogged down in sentiment or self-pity, Mr. Alexie refuses to present Arnold's friends and family as one-dimensional stereotypes, nor is the world beyond "rez" borders portrayed as the Great White Hope. Arnold's family has problems, to be sure: an alcoholic father, an enabling, codependent mother; a near shut-in older sister. But their love for each other is evident through their words and actions. And despite the ostracism and ridicule heaped upon him by former friends and other tribe members, Arnold reacts with biting wit rather than total despair.

This has to be one of the best books I've ever read in my life, so I hope everyone gives it a try.

Reviewed by: Cat
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ray Ray on Dec 19 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was so fun to read, but is also very deep. I think anyone can relate no matter what your background is!
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By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 26 2010
Format: Paperback
Sherman Alexie is a genius. It's as simple as that.

This wonderfully funny, serious and moving book is a roman a clef of Alexie's life. His protagonist, Arnold Jr. is some 25 years younger than his real counterpart. The story is set in the 2006-2007 school year. Alexie's character, Arnold Jr. was born on November 5, 1992, the same day his best friend Rowdy was born. The two couldn't be more different, yet they form a rock solid bond.

Arnold's sister Mary, some several years his senior leaves the reservation to get married. She moves to Flattop Montana where she pursues her dream, which is to write a Native love story. Prior to her marriage, she had been living in the family basement, rarely venturing out.

Arnold, on the other hand ventures far and beyond the "rez," as the reservation is called. He and Rowdy share a love for comics and it is the clever drawings in this book that make it all the more endearing and humorous. Arnold, born with water on the brain (hydrocephalus) suffered from seizures the first 7 years of his life. He also wore Buddy Holly style glasses, which further emphasize the differences he feels in himself when compared to his peers.

Rowdy, however, treats Arnold like an equal. They exact revenge on adult triplets who have bullied and harassed them. They share laughs, tears and even guy bonding over similar interests. That is, until Arnold decides to leave the reservation school of Wellpinit for Reardan, the school in town. His decision is prompted by his anger at the old materials in Wellpinit and by a teacher who steps up to the plate for him after he gets an in-your-face idea of how disaffected Arnold really is.
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