Review: Alexie's 'Diary of a Part-Time Indian'

"Few writers are more masterful than Sherman Alexie, the prolific Native American author who, a decade ago, burst on to the literary landscape with a fierce prose informed by his experiences growing up poor on an Indian reservation near Spokane, Wash.

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," Alexie's first novel for young-adult readers, draws on those experiences through a time-focused lens -- a single year in the life of 14-year-old Arnold Spirit.

Arnold is the second child of parents who "came from poor people who came from poor people who came from poor people, all the way back to the very first poor people. Adam and Eve covered their privates with fig leaves; the first Indians covered their privates with their tiny hands."

Arnold's dad is an alcoholic who, given the chance, would have been a musician. His mom is a recovering alcoholic who, given the chance, would have gone to college. But there is no chance for reservation Indians to realize their dreams, Alexie writes from Arnold's first-person point of view.

Arnold wants to be an artist. He's constantly drawing comics about his life on crumpled scraps of paper, which the reader sees every few pages. These black-and-white drawings are by Seattle-based cartoonist Ellen Forney, who, through a mix of rough sketches and more artfully done images, captures the frustrated Arnold's isolation, anger and humor as well as the situations that are driving him to put pen to paper."

Get the Story:
'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' by Sherman Alexie (The Los Angeles Times 9/16)

Another Review:
A man of many tribes Sherman Alexie targets young adults in ‘True Diary’ (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 9/16)

Relevant Links:
Sherman Alexie -

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