National Book Award, Young People's Literature, 2007Sherman Alexie delivers a captivating, semi-autobiographical account of one Spokane Indian's struggle against incredible obstacles.
Born poor and hydrocephalic, Arnold Spirit survives brain surgery. But his enormous skull, lopsided eyes, profound stuttering, and frequent seizures target him for abuse on his Indian reservation. Protected by a formidable friend, the book-loving artist survives childhood. And then - convinced his future lies off the rez - the bright 14-year-old enrolls in an all-white high school 22 miles away.
©2007 Sherman Alexie; (P)2008 Recorded Books
"Delivers a positive message." (School Library Journal)
I laughed then I cried and sometime I did both simultaneously. A story of triumph that shows how where we are from can be a blessing and a curse, but it is what we are. I was sorry when this story ended.
There are lots of books "billed" for teenagers but that are even better for adults. I'm a 60 year old "tough guy" who had to hold back tears or hide them multiple times in this book that speaks more tough truth than most "adult" ones. The author also tries to speak in a 14 year olds voice but its a voice that is more real to even an adults internal dialog then "serious" literature pretends to be. It is wonderfully well written and read. This book is not only about life in "The Res" but about poverty, how so many of us are held prisoners by our cultures, real courage, drug abuse (remember alcohol is a drug), the cruelness of life, and also it's wonderful potential. Can't recommend it enough.
Both I and my 12-year-old son LOVED this book. It is funny, touching, and uplifting.
It's a book about all the anchors that try to weigh down exceptional kids from chaotic and violent places: parents who have poor life skills and drink too much; peers who see their success and their dreams as a rejection of where they come from; a feeling that they don't belong in their own skins much less their homes; the fear that they won't fit in anywhere else. It's also a story about how exceptional kids can overcome all of the heartache usually associated with childhood plus the extras they face.
Imagine what a teen boy thinks about; all that stuff and more is in this book. If you don't want (or don't want your children) to experience the sometimes profane, but always enlightening world of a minority kid from the wrong part of the world, don't read this book.
If you want your mind opened, your hear warmed, and some good, old-fashioned belly laughs, read about this "part-time Indian."
By the way, the narrator has an unusual voice and cadence. It drove me nuts in the beginning, but I loved it by the end.
at first the story is sad but you want so badly for it to get better. it stays sad but joyful , insightful, triumphant, and beautiful. WOW
This bk is now in my top 10 along with Jitterbug Perfume, Good Omens and Einstein's Dreams. The language and story are authentic. Seems every universal theme is touched--funny, philosophical and poignant. I cheered for Arnold Spirit, laughed with him, wept at his insights and grief and wish him luck and love and long life.
Great listen! I cried twice - listen and you'll figure out where. The first time was in the first chapter. Not bawling-my-eyes-out crying, but a good tearing-up on my walk to work. Compelling story.
This is the first of Alexie's work that I read / listen to, I walk away with A new favorite book and author!
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