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)
The audio version is special as Alexie is the narrator. Thank you Sherman Alexie for writing such a beautiful and funny book and thank you again for narrating it (icing on the cake).
I just loved the whole book -- there were some movingly sad parts, but most generally I was very happy, as anyone might be when listening to such a lovely book.
My kids (8 yrs and 13 yrs) liked it too. We listened to it on a long car ride.
My husband and I listened to this story with our children (12-year-old boy, 15-year-old girl) on a recent car ride, and we all enjoyed it tremendously. The story describes the full range of human experience, both tragic and comedic, in an authentic and engaging manner. The writing and narration drew us in immediately, we laughed frequently and felt close to tears a couple times. In all, this is an excellent book for a 5-hour car ride with mixed ages and genders. As a 36-year-old woman, I would have enjoyed listening to this story even if I hadn't been looking for something that would appeal to the whole family; the story is that universal.
Note of caution: The story is told from the perspective of a hormonal teenage boy and includes references to masturbation and other issues related to sexuality. For example, the protagonist described feeling embarrassed upon becoming physically aroused when an attractive teacher hugged him; he worried that she might notice his arousal. To me, the references seemed honest rather than crude, and I think this book is appropriate for pubescent children and teenagers. However, if you are squeamish about hearing the occasional "boner" reference while listening to a story with your children, this book may not be for you.
Yes. Captures the area and people
Yes. This the best one I have listened to
Sherman Alexie is a brilliant writer, funny, insightful, fresh and unrestrained. Not only does he write well, but his spoken delivery makes it all that much better. I laughed and cried and listened again to this novel. It was one of those books you wanted never to end.
This is the Native American version of Catcher in the Rye, a delightfully odd 14-year old hero, delivering a first-person narrative of an amazing life on and off the rez.
I have heard Sherman Alexie in person and he is just as sarcastically funny in this book performance.
I couldn't stop listening so, I listened a second time and it was even better!
As an Alexie fan since seeing him interviewed several years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed this "listen" and recommend it to anyone who's interested in the experience of today's American Indians on and off the "rez". We colonists look at the plight of these real Americans with a combination of pity, shame, guilt and disdain---or we tend to elevate these real people into a spiritual cloud of knowing something we wish we knew. My belief is that many of the indigenous people are more attuned to the important things in life, because their centuries of traditions, values of respect and acceptance for themselves individually and their "community" responsibilities. And many are not...just like us, colonists, immigrants. Sherman Alexie's enormous talent and his ability and willingness to "open a vein" on the page to share his experience with the rest of us is a national treasure hard to measure. Thank you, "Junior", and keep on creating....
I enjoyed the unique perspective of a bright teenager growing up on an Indian reservation in today's world. I liked how he seemed to be able to separate himself from the tribe and point out the inconsistencies, the poor choices that people just fell into, and also the sense of community. Sort of the good the bad and the ugly of reservation life.
The grandmother's funeral. I loved how he talked about the laughter, and how it is appropriate at a funeral.
This was my first
Too much realistic teenage boy stuff for my taste--kept me from rating it 5 stars.
Short memoir about growing up on an Indian reservation in rural Washington while dreaming of breaking out, even if that means the scorn of everyone left behind. Moving, funny, just great. I've already shared the book with multiple friends. (I didn't realize it was a YA book until after I was finished. It's great for adults, too.)
I'm glad I listened to this instead of just read it because Alexie's narration only deepened my enjoyment.
This was my introduction to Sherman Alexie--and a great introduction it was. This was exactly the kind of book I've been looking for in the past few months--a fictional story that felt real. The book gives an outsider's perspective, but doesn't glorify being an outsider. Being an outsider isn't treated as something 'cool' or 'rebellious.' The protagonist isn't overly angsty about his role as an outsider (considering that he's an outsider in both of his worlds), and is very frank about how weird he is.
Definitely a book for those who like good things.
Entertaining read for young-adults and adults alike. A great introduction for younger readers (and adults, too) into the real life and experience of a modern-day Native American teenager. No vampires, dragons, etc. needed to keep the reader engaged.
It's almost always great when a writer reads their own work, but Sherman Alexie excels at the spoken word. In lectures, I've heard him talk about the Indian way of speaking, especially around non-Native Americans, and here he lends full force to the North Western Native American dialect.
The book reads like a movie, and I'm amazed it didn't get made as such. This is a little off-putting as "great literature" goes, but I believe the style would help keep younger readers engaged.
Also, I'd love my young sons to read this book, but it's still to old for them. I'd recommend readers no younger than 13.
At the beaches at last
Yes! The language is frequently surprising. How often do you think as a teen boy would? His observations are hilarious and honest. The author narrates, so the delivery is indeed what the author intended and authentic. The story is of a Native American boy coming of age and recognizing his intrinsic worth and place in the world. We get to listen to the private thoughts of a boy who sees his future.
Wow - don't know how here - Hunter Thompson and Mark Twain and Malcom X.
The lilting song of his voice and the heartfelt insistence of his joy, pain, and cynicism.
Listen to it over and over again
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