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)
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.
over the summer I was assigned this book as a project for my high school enrollment and to be honest kids these days really don't read any books what is mousses you think they would but this one really made me think about life and I really enjoyed the fact that it really did connect to the outside world other than the fact that it connected to me I just felt like it would be recommended to all ages not just younger people or older people but like everyone anyone and everyone who ever has thought about family or even the thought of anything could read this book and be like wow that was a great book so I absolutely enjoyed this and I have no further comments about this.
I love when an author reads their own book - and Sherman Alexie's distinctive voice really makes for a more rich experience of his novel. This book deals with some tough topics - identity, disability, alcoholism, violence, and the harsh realities of life on a reservation - but there are also many moments of humor, hope, and triumph. I heartily recommend it!
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
Alexie immediately grabs you with this story of Spokane tribal member and high school student Arnold Spirit, aka, Junior. Written in the first person, it is believable from the beginning and you think that Alexie is telling his own story.
Taking place mostly over Junior's freshman year, this book is a coming of age story as Junior learns more about himself and the world around him. There are thought provoking subtexts of the nature of friendships, redemption, and choice.
Some may be put off to the multiple references to masturbation, but this is a story about a 14 year old boy. With that warning, I think this book could, and maybe even should, be read by all 13+ year olds.
So I know this is a book for young adults but I (being a few years beyond young adulthood) really enjoyed it. Sherman Alexie's narration had me laughing out loud. He interweaves lessons into the storyline in a way that is both loud and soft at the same time. I was really sorry when it was over, and am kind of hoping to find out how his sophomore year went.
What a wonderful surprise this book was. The fact that it is based on the author's life made it an incredible read. I do not know if it would have been as powerful to read as hearing his voice but this kind of book can change your life. It should be required reading in our high schools. I laughed, cried and was inspired by this amazing man's story.
Sure, I'd love to hear your story....
Amazing book with real cultural significance. I am angry that I neglected this book all this time thinking that as a story for young people it wasn't going to be appropriate for me. How silly of me to underestimate the brilliant Sherman Alexie. Please treat yourself and crawl into the skin of a lonely geeky indian kid; when you crawl back out you will be a wiser person.
I'm going from chapter to chapter in life. Some are definitely better than others!
No, the reader did a great job.
Life on the
The story was good, the performance was also good. My complaint is that the story was said to be for middle school ages and up. In my opinion it could be for high school and up, thus the reason for the 4 stars.
I loved listening to this book - the narrator, humor, messages were both entertaining and thought provoking. I laughed, I cried, I imagined life from the point of view of Junior. I am sure that I would enjoy the book a second or third time and would discover more important messages that went unnoticed early on.
I cannot pick out one memorable moment - from the start when Junior decides to leave the rez, to his first day, Thanksgiving, the night of the dance, his grandmother, the basketball games, the heartbreak - many scenes stirred up many emotions.
He is so believable as Junior. The accent, the cadence, the timing. He helps to bring the book alive. Junior is very likeable - and Alexie's portrayal enhances Junior's likeablity.
My interest and enjoyment never wained, and I often would sit in the driveway with my son to keep listening.
The book is a great jumping off point for many issues facing teens. Some may find certain language and references to sex offensive. I felt the references were appropriate and helped to convey Junior as a genuine teen. The book is appropriate for both boys and girls - and it is nice to have a book that would be appealing to most boys. Again, it could be a great catalyst for conversations about bigotry, social class, hope, relationships, social norms, emotions, alcohol, change, choices, and more.
Did I say I loved it?
This is a very engaging story. Although I don't usually like to listen to authors narrate their own, hearing Alexie added an authenticity to the story. A sad, funny, insightful look at a young rez kid who wants to attend a local white high school so he can make something of his life. Very much worth a listen.
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