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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Collector's Edition Hardcover – 9 Dec 2009

37 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Slp Col edition (9 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316068209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316068208
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,516,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A gem of a book . . . may be Sherman Alexie's best work yet" (New York Times)

"It's humane, authentic and, most of all, it speaks" (Guardian)

"A remarkable tale that is sure to resonate and lift spirits of all ages to come" (USA Today)

"Emotionally spring-loaded, linguistically gymnastic and devastatingly funny" (San Francisco Bay Guardian)

"A coming-of-age story so well observed that its very rootedness in one specific culture is also what lends its universality" (starred review Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The heartbreakingly funny semi-autobiographical story of an American Indian boy who manages to leave the reservation despite overwhelming odds. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
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. 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 us along with him 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.

Reviewed by: Cat
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Sherman Alexie is a genius. It's as simple as that.

This wonderfully funny, serious and moving book is a roman a clef of Alexie's life. His protagonist, Arnold Jr. is some 25 years younger than his real counterpart. The story is set in the 2006-2007 school year. Alexie's character, Arnold Jr. was born on November 5, 1992, the same day his best friend Rowdy was born. The two couldn't be more different, yet they form a rock solid bond.

Arnold's sister Mary, some several years his senior leaves the reservation to get married. She moves to Flattop Montana where she pursues her dream, which is to write a Native love story. Prior to her marriage, she had been living in the family basement, rarely venturing out.

Arnold, on the other hand ventures far and beyond the "rez," as the reservation is called. He and Rowdy share a love for comics and it is the clever drawings in this book that make it all the more endearing and humorous. Arnold, born with water on the brain (hydrocephalus) suffered from seizures the first 7 years of his life. He also wore Buddy Holly style glasses, which further emphasize the differences he feels in himself when compared to his peers.

Rowdy, however, treats Arnold like an equal. They exact revenge on adult triplets who have bullied and harassed them. They share laughs, tears and even guy bonding over similar interests. That is, until Arnold decides to leave the reservation school of Wellpinit for Reardan, the school in town. His decision is prompted by his anger at the old materials in Wellpinit and by a teacher who steps up to the plate for him after he gets an in-your-face idea of how disaffected Arnold really is.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By My Favourite Books VINE VOICE on 13 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Like a lot of readers of kids' fiction in the UK I have been aware of this book for some time. I didn't think about picking it up until The Booksmugglers went and reviewed it and basically made me want to move heaven and earth to read it. I bought it in and it took some time for me to get to it.

And when I did, I read it one single day. Several sittings, but one day. I even annoyed people on Twitter by tweeting about it. Constantly.

I loved Part-time Indian because of the author's voice. Or rather, because of Junior's voice. It was so frank and true and honest and above all laugh-out-loud funny, that I never ever for a moment doubted what I was reading. I became so involved with his story that I sat at work, by myself, as no one else was in, and cried and laughed like an unhinged person.

Junior's trials and tribulations reminded me a bit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid but where Wimpy Kid is set in suburbia with suburbia problems, in Junior's story he has to deal with alcoholism, poverty, bullies, prejudice and blatant racism.

It sounds awful, and it is. Sherman Alexie does not shy away from these subjects. And as much as he highlights them, and doesn't baulk from the reality living in a world that seems as harsh as it is, it is Junior's matter of fact, almost stream of concsiousness telling that keeps the story from becoming tedious and a misery memoir. He tells freely of his life growing up on the reservation and his subsequent escape to the nearby town's "white" school where he is looked upon initially as this weirdo freak Indian kid.

Slowly but surely, he's accepted as part of the school community, especially when it turns out that he's a good basketball player.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Miss Print on 14 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is the first book written by Sherman Alexie specifically for a young adult audience. I finished it in two days but have been holding onto my copy because I've been having a hard time articulating why I might love this book.

If you have read anything by Alexie, you know that he writes about life on the Spokane Indian reservation in Washingotn. In Reservation Blues Alexie described the misadventures of Thomas Builds-the-Fire and his friends as they try to start a band (and deal with the relative fame that follows). Like Reservation Blues, this novel is filled with equal parts humor and tragedy along with some memorable characters thrown in to taste. What surprised me about Diary is that it is also more biting that Reservation Blues. At times Alexie's descriptions of white-Indian relations and life on the rez are so scathing that they're painful to read. And yet . . . I couldn't put the book down.

Now that you are sufficiently intrigued, let's talk about the plot.

This story revolves around Arnold "Junior" Spirit, his family and his best friend, Rowdy. We join Arnold at the beginning of the novel at the age of 14. Born with a variety of physical ailments, Arnold is used to being picked on. He doesn't mind, though, because he knows he has his art and his intelligence and his family. Things get complicated for Arnold when he realizes that he has to leave the reservation in order to get a good education and succeed where most of his family and friends have failed. So Arnold starts going to the all-white school in a neighboring all-white town.

As the story progresses, Arnold grapples with his decision and trying to figure out his identity in his new surroundings.
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