Since I participate in massive amounts of reading it was about time I took the time to tell you all about literature near and dear to my heart. I am going to starting off on this ongoing series of “Book Crushes” with a young adult book written by (my author crush) Sherman Alexie author of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, War Dances, Reservation Blues and more.
The best-selling Native American author Sherman Alexie brought us his first young adult novel in 2007, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. This semiautobiographical coming-of-age tale is about Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. Junior is a 14-year-old aspiring cartoonist whose life is filled with poverty, constant bullying and frequent family death. Junior decides to do the impossible, leave his poor reservation school, and transfer to the rich white school in Reardan. To his surprise he finds himself making friends with the geeks, jocks and even dates the most popular girl in the school. His fierce courage to try to break away from the melancholic life he seems destined to live on the reservation is inspiring and captivating.
Junior comically laments about his miserable life which will have you laughing from the first to the last page. Alexie’s skillfully crafted prose is coupled with cartoonist Megan Kelso poignant yet humorous drawings that reflect the character’s art. In the novel Junior says, “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.”
Few novels have the power to simultaneously make you laugh out loud while breaking your heart. Junior attempts to overcome poverty, his handicap and racism while delivering a positive message in a subtle style that is ideal for readers of all ages. Sherman Alexie leaves you with one of the most honest, original and unforgettable adolescent characters you will come across in a novel.
I absolutely adore this book and you will too. It is deemed a young adult book however I’m positive all ages will fall in love with this story.