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 and 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 with 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.
Originally posted at TeensReadToo.com