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

Sherman Alexie
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 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

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Awesome! Jan. 5 2008
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious Issues and Lots of Humour Dec 29 2009
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Oct. 10 2008
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Dec 19 2011
By Ray Ray
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Brilliance! July 26 2010
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Original as it gets!!
I absolutely loved this book!! I laughed and cried! It's like nothing I have ever read before!! As someone from First Nations decent I appreciated the honesty!! Read more
Published 3 days ago by Kaitly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great YA novel, with lots of wisdom cloaked in humour.
Published 3 months ago by Michael B
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
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
Published 4 months ago by Gazelles
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!
Ordered this when I saw that it had been banned in the United States. Funny throughout. Captures Indian humour (can tell it's written by an actual Indian).
Published 4 months ago by Homeschooling Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The story is emotional and hilarious a parts also. It touches on many common indian life problems while maintaining a story about an indian boy in a white school.
Published 10 months ago by John
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
Junior grew up on the rez with his parents, sister and best friend Rowdy. He was contented with his life until a teacher convinced him to switch to a town school. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Book Cupid
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for students of many different ages!
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... Read more
Published on April 24 2012 by Manitoba High School English Teacher
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Q: Book Addict
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 288
Source: Personal Copy

Sherman Alexie has written a book that has really hit home with me. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2011 by Mrs. Q: Book Addict
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
This is and absolutely delightful book. As one other review states though - it will make you laugh until your heart breaks. Will be looking for more books by this author.
Published on May 30 2011 by Bookworm
3.0 out of 5 stars School quality?
I ordered a class set of this novel. It came with removable paper covers over boring blue hardcovers. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2011 by D. Skinn
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