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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian | [Sherman Alexie]

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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.
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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Young People's Literature, 2007

Sherman 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

What the Critics Say

"Delivers a positive message." (School Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1251 )
5 star
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Overall
4.5 (737 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Story
4.5 (733 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (63)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Neily Starksboro, VT, United States 01-14-13
    Neily Starksboro, VT, United States 01-14-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sherman Alexie is One-of-a-Kind"

    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!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 01-13-13
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 01-13-13 Member Since 2007

    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!

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    "Outstanding--must read"

    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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan San Dimas, CA, United States 12-12-11
    Susan San Dimas, CA, United States 12-12-11 Member Since 2010

    I'm going from chapter to chapter in life. Some are definitely better than others!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for young readers/listeners"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to be better than the print version?

    No, the reader did a great job.


    What does Sherman Alexie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Life on the


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Aubrey Gilbert, AZ USA 12-31-09
    Debra Aubrey Gilbert, AZ USA 12-31-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Great book, great narration"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Mccain Arkansas 10-10-09
    B. Mccain Arkansas 10-10-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela United States 05-13-10
    Pamela United States 05-13-10 Member Since 2004

    Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Need extra stars for this one."

    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.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michelle Boxford, MA, United States 09-09-11
    michelle Boxford, MA, United States 09-09-11 Member Since 2010

    m's mom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding young adult book"
    Would you listen to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?

    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.


    What does Sherman Alexie bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    My interest and enjoyment never wained, and I often would sit in the driveway with my son to keep listening.


    Any additional comments?

    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?

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 09-04-11
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 09-04-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Very engaging"

    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.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 08-12-14
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 08-12-14 Member Since 2008

    A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Coming of Age Story from One-of-a-Kind Voice"

    Several people have told me that this novel is among their favorite books of all time. I can't quite say that, but this coming of age story about a poor Native American boy is funny and touching in a very unique way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorraine 07-15-14
    Lorraine 07-15-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Loved it!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to be better than the print version?

    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).


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    My kids (8 yrs and 13 yrs) liked it too. We listened to it on a long car ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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