Skip to main content

Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Junior is a Native American high school student living on the Spokane Indian Reservation with his parents and his older sister. Born with some medical issues, Junior is often picked on in school and around the rez, but his best friend is always there to defend him. Then Junior makes the difficult decision to leave the rez and go to school at an all-white high school in order to get a better education.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie tells the story of how Junior deals with the ramifications of his decision to leave the "rez," and how he deals with lots of typical high school stuff as well. This is a novel but Alexie says it was based on many of his own experiences. It's a look into the life of a young kid growing up on a reservation where the future is limited, where education isn't a focus, where alcohol has a profound negative effect on just about everyone, and where death is much too common.

But it's not a depressing story. It's written from the perspective of Junior, who is a freshman in high school, and the tone is fairly lighthearted despite the tragedies strewn throughout it. It's not really written as a diary the way some middle grade novels are, but there are drawings incorporated at times since Junior likes to create cartoons.

The language is crude and full of profanities, and he and his best friend call each other some pretty bad names. There's talk of masturbation and other topics of interest to most high school boys, but considered objectionable by many parents. This is why The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been near the top of the list of most challenged books many times.

I think it's a great young adult book that would appeal to most high school boys. It gets at the issues and concerns that boys that age are dealing with, but it also goes beyond that, giving a glimpse into a culture that many kids haven't experienced. I will definitely recommend it to my son when he's older. And I'd recommend it to adults who enjoy YA as well.

My Rating: 4/5

This review was written on a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian that I purchased.


  1. I've had this one on my to-read list for so long now! Glad to know you'd recommend it!

  2. Glad you liked it, Julie - a great choice for Banned Books Week! I had no idea there were drawing in it - I listened to it on audio.

    I should re-read it some day. That's a good idea to include reasons why it's been banned in your review.


    Book By Book


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

This week, I'm participating in the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer.

I'm giving away a book of your choice 
up to $10 from Book Depository.
It's that simple. Just visit  Book Depository and choose any book that is selling for $10 or less.

This giveaway is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address (click here to check). The contest ends on Monday, March 5, 2012, at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be picked using and notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what book you want to win.

Check out all the other participants in the giveaway hop!

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mundie Moms are hosting the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop in honor of Independence Day in the United States, and I've decided to participate.

To stick with the theme of Independence Day, I'm doing what I did last year for this hop:

I'm giving away a book of your choice that is written by an author from the United States.
It can be any genre as long as the author is from the United States. You choose the book (up to $15), and I'll order it and have it mailed to you from Book Depository.

The contest ends on Thursday, July 5th at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a safe and fun holiday!

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now check out all of the other giveaways you can enter at the links below!