In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
A book recommendation by a student can be tricky at times, but this particular novel was absolutely perfect. The novel in turns is full of humor, anger, laughter, heartbreak, jaw-dropping disbelief, and sadness.
What I am trying to say, very inarticulately, is that this is a book that has to be read. It is painful, and frightening, and ugly (the violence, death, apathy that stems from alcoholism), but in the midst of this is pure hope. While the novel is classified as a young adult novel, it is for all ages. I highly recommend it.