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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Collector's Edition [Hardcover]

Sherman Alexie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 9 2009
The book that launched Sherman Alexie onto the YA market is now available in a deluxe collector's edition! Beautifully designed with a gifty new look that includes a foil-stamped, die-cut slipcase and 4-color interior art, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.

In his nationally acclaimed, semi-autobiographical YA debut, author Sherman Alexie tells the heartbreaking, hilarious, and beautifully written story of a young Native American teen as he attempts to break free from the life he was destined to live.

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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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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Dec 19 2011
By Ray Ray
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for students of many different ages! April 24 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was recommended this text from a number of colleagues in my middle/high school. I purchased my own personal copy, and a number of reluctant readers in my classes (grades 10 and 11) were drawn to this particular text. I purchased another 2 copies, and they are now well worn. In a few short months, I have had at least 5 "non-readers" pick up this text and finish it within days. In my school, we have a number of students from neighbouring reserves, and they have said time and again that they identify with the protagonist in the text. I recommend this text for anyone ages 12+, with a stress on high school students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Q: Book Addict Aug. 7 2011
By Mrs. Q: Book Addict TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 288
Source: Personal Copy

Sherman Alexie has written a book that has really hit home with me. This fast-paced read is one that people of all ages will be able to relate to and appreciate what Alexie has put to paper. Junior, a 14-year-old Native American is struggling with everyday life. He's an awkward boy and being a teenager doesn't help, being poor is an added issue, having a disability is one more. Despite his issues, he's quite intelligent. Despite his despair, he's quite the humorist. School on the reservation is not up to par, at the beginning of the school year Junior is handed a math book with his mother's name printed inside. Yes, this is the same book is mother was given many years earlier. Junior soon realizes that it may be time to go to public school off the reservation. Junior aspires to become a cartoonist, he wants to break the cycle of 'rez life,' and he has the encouragement of one teacher. When Junior takes a leap of faith and transfers to an all-white top-of-the-line school, twenty miles away, he struggles with the reaction of his new peers, and the ones he left behind. Transportation to school and back every day is not easily accessible, and hiding it from everyone is even harder. Since transferring schools, he now lives between two worlds, both of which he has trouble fitting in. At school he is the Indian boy, at home he is the traitor- too good for his people, and now his best friend has turned his back on him. Junior learns that the world is not his oyster but be can't lives with despair and hopelessness, he needs to figure out how to deal and cope with a reality that is in front of him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious Issues and Lots of Humour 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 15 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great YA novel, with lots of wisdom cloaked in humour.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read June 23 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A can't put down book. Humorous and witty, this book takes you down to the depths of your laughter. Will change the way on how you think about Native Americans
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