The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Aug 14, 2009

When Junior announces that he wants to attend the white school off the reservation he is not only ostracized, but tormented by his own people. As he dips one foot into the strange world of white people and keeps the other firmly planted on the reservation he feels torn between the better life he glimpses at his new school and the life he has always known.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian is simultaneously hopeful and hopeless. Junior is one boy out of an entire reservation who is able to break the pattern that has so firmly gripped his family and friends. At the same time, the reader meets all those who Junior loves and loses. Those who don’t break the cycle, and the reader can see why Junior says “Indians have LOST EVERYTHING. We lost our native land, we lost our languages, we lost our songs and dances. We lost each other. We only know how to lose and be lost.” In the end, Junior receives his best friend Rowdy’s blessing which he needs to head out into the world, but both know it will be a bitter-sweet departure. Alexie brilliantly portrays the whites whom Junior meets as having problems that might be different from his, but are problems none-the-less. A must-read for both teens and adults.

Reviewed by Helen H.
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